Tag Archives: Sandy

Ode to My Sandy, the Junkyard Dog

sandy old-sandy-1024x702

03.28.15. Saturday.

On a bright, warm, sunny Saturday morning, just minutes after she arrived home, she just sort of sat down and collapsed and gasped a few times and she was gone, her hair shimmering like silver diamonds in the morning light on a soft bed of fresh spring-green growth.

Dave was with her. “It’s ok, you’re home now,” he said. Then he told her it was ok for her to go. And so she did.

She came.

We got Sandy almost exactly 14 years before she died.

Steph was a college student working part time at the BFI landfill office near Denver International Airport. Some one had abandoned this woolly, frightened mutt there and she was running wild, looking for food and afraid of everyone and her own shadow. Stephanie spotted her and started working on becoming friends. She mentioned maybe bringing the pup-dog home and did not get an enthusiastic response from me. Not at all.

But for some reason, Dave went to see Steph one day and he returned with this crazy-looking, fuzz-exploding full-grown dog.

She was afraid of her shadow, this canine, afraid of us, afraid of the freak spring-snow we’d just gotten; she was afraid to move off the oval rug, her feet planted firmly as though she were hoping Scotty would indeed beam her up and away from our staring eyes. Her little spirit had been broken, somehow, by the completely stupid idiots who had dumped her at the landfill. Their loss was our total, joyful, utter gain!

We always joked that we found a junk-yard dog and she never quit looking like she was fresh from the junkyard. She loathed baths and thought any sort of grooming was pure torture. She was a trembling, hairy mess, but we quickly saw the rich sweetness of her, the deep pools of love and loyalty behind those brown eyes.

What shall we name her, we wondered? We toyed with Chewbacca (“Chewie,” for short), for she was similarly furry and gentle. But we couldn’t resist the name of the dog from the Annie movie the kids had grown up watching and since her hair was a millions shades of beige and brown, gold and copper, silver and cool grey, plus black and brown – “Sandy” seemed appropriate.

Ever heard the song from the musical, Annie, “Sandy?”

True he ain’t pedigreed, Sandy, there ain’t no better breed.
And he really comes in handy,
‘Specially when you’re all alone in the night
and you’re small and terribly frightened it’s
Sandy, Sandy who’ll always be there!

Well, our Sandy was a girl. But those very words could have been written of our dog, “it’s Sandy, Sandy who’ll always be there…”

sandy in annie

She actually got to play Sandy in a community theater production of Annie. This was a publicity shot in 2010.

She won our hearts

So we had this wild mutt. She became one of us immediately. She fit. She was born for us, for our family, I am completely certain. Sandy-the-dog was perfect for us.

We didn’t know her age, but she was full-grown. An early vet visit declared she was “4,” but another one several years later also declared her “4.” So, we know she was probably 1-2 years old when we got her fourteen years ago.

But she was an old soul, right out of the gate. She was able to navigate our huge family (5 kids, high school and college age) and  our loud house full of friends and visitors. She was wise and deep in her devotion, love-filled and loyal, generous in adoration of her people and affectionate, loving those belly rubs and declaring anyone who would take the time to pet her to be her best friend for life! She just made sure you knew she was right there if you needed her.

mom and sandy 2009

My mom and Sandy, summer 2009. They’re like sisters from different mothers, personality-wise. It was as if they’d always been close.

She was Steph’s dog, then Steph got married and she became Rocky’s dog. Then he got married and she was Stormie’s dog. Then Stormie bought a house and she became my dog and I didn’t even really want that, but good grief, how had I lived without that? She was my buddy, my friend, my shadow. She worked with me in the garden, or she napped lazily there while I worked, but we loved spring and sunny days together.

She sat as close to me as possible at all times and was my most trusted confidante during hard times and when I cried, she would move in close, place her paw and her face on my knees and look me straight in the face, as if to say, “There, there – everything will be ok. I’m right here.” She caught my tears when they fell.

I once wrote of her, on a blog way back when {click here} and said

She lives for love and lives to love.  The slightest kindness or gentle word from me and Sandy thumps a Morse-Code message of affection back to me with her ample tail.

Sandy was totally undisciplined, as “good” dogs go, never really trained for “show.” She lived her life with us sort of free–form and relaxed.  She feigned deafness when it suited her, but could hear the crackling of a bag of chips from miles away. Her breed, German Wire-Haired Pointer, hunts birds, so she’d bark her head off at a bird flying overhead, then just lie quietly, her head on her paws and watch little birds bathe in her water dish on sunny days on the patio. She’d even welcome them to her food, gentle spirit that she was. Or fraidy-cat, whichever. :)

But she was a good dog. Because a good dog teaches us so much about love and loyalty and forgiveness. Sandy did that for me. She was affectionate and humble, sweet and protective, saving me from many a solicitor at the front door. Her bark could scare, but we always laughed that had a burglar just reached out to her, she’d have given them anything and everything they wanted.

I loved her stretch, her behind in the air, back-back-back, then forward lunge, with her face to the sky, all the while making a loud old-man stretching sigh. Or how she’d grab a dryer sheet and waller all over it, so she’d smell nice for us, I assume.

sandy and me 12 27 14

A few months before “the day”

My old Sandy-girl, she was faithful and loving and loyal to all of us, the whole tribe of us, including each new grandchild as they came. Once she learned on the first grandchild, how to love and protect, she always understood, new baby by baby. They trusted her, too. She was our dog and we were her people.

sandy oct 2014

Sandy with my grandson Kai. He was 1 3/4. About 6 months before Sandy died.She patently waits, hoping he’ll send chicken her way.

Sandy never met a human being she didn’t want to love zealously with her whole heart and to forgive if they didn’t like dogs or just couldn’t return her affection.

Oh, she was a lover.

me and sandy 2004

The end.

We were planning to put her down soon, as ailments of old-age were taking a toll, but on that Saturday morning, when my husband took her into the backyard on the brightest and loveliest of spring days, she just dropped and gasped a few times and he gently gave her the ok to go.

I wasn’t ready…

And even though I ran out, dropped to the ground and called to her, Sandy-girl, hey girl, are you ok?, Hey Sandy, come here, girl...trying to woo her back, gently jostling and petting my old dog to awaken her, she kept on going.

The birds were singing in the blue, blue sky, and the old trees were filled with youthful, green buds for a new season, a new life; and the day was alive, humming its spring melody, so perfectly beautiful – just like every day Sandy gave us for 14 years.

Hey, Sandy-girl, dear old devoted dog. You are not forgotten. Your people still love you…

My Sandy-girl Died

I have so many words inside my breaking heart, I am going to need a few days to sort them out, to tell her sweet story.

sandy and me 12 27 14

Sandy and me on 12/27/14

So, this is just to say that right now my heart is tender, and I never even wanted to have a dog because I didn’t want an end, but she was more than worth the mourning and pain I am experiencing now.

My daughter, Stephanie, rescued her from the landfill near DIA 14 years ago. She was full-grown even then, so we have no idea how old she ended up, but we had her for 14 loving, affectionate, gracious years. We called her our junk-yard dog, but her worth to us cannot be measured.

I have so many words, but for this post, until I can cry them out on another day, suffice it to say, she belonged to us all, the whole Rhoades tribe, kids and grandbebes. We all grieve.

She left quietly, trying hard not bother any of us, which was exactly the way she lived. It was Saturday morning, the birds were singing in the trees and she was leaving us with no particular fanfare.

She died in the backyard, her hair sparkling in the bright morning sun, waving gently in the sweet breeze…on a beautiful spring day, like all the days she gave us.

I’ve written about *Sandy* before:

5-12-2012Sandy, true to her German Wiredhaired Pointer characteristics, lives to please us.  She is like a trusted friend, always ready with a warm greeting when I come home, edging as close to my feet as possible when I sit.   In fact, where I go, she goes...” READ MORE HERE

2-18-2010The scraggly family mutt who was abandoned at the landfill years ago to run wild and fear her own shadow, the trembling pile of fur we drug home, intent on saving whether she wanted us or not, and named “Sandy” after the dog from the Broadway play and the 1982 movie, “Annie,” has come full circle.

Yes.  Sandy-the-Dog played Sandy-the-Dog in Prairie Playhouse’s production of “Annie,”  at tonight’s OPENING NIGHT!!!”  READ MORE HERE

11-17-2014As I write this, my dilapidated old dog is at my feet. Sandy is somewhere near the finish line. It makes me feel better knowing she’ll be joining her cousin-doggie soon, where the two of them can romp like puppies again together, well and whole.

Don’t try to debate me theologically on this point. Sandy is one of the most Christ-like creations of God I have ever known. She is a godly old girl…” READ MORE HERE

8-21-2014Oh Sandy, you sweet, old dog, you. I love how you watch me from the corner of your eye when I have told you to look away while I eat. I love how you patrol the yard and make a ruckus at the hint of the first sprinkle, as if you can hold thunder and lightening at bay. I love how you chase the birds loudly one day, then share your water bowl the next while you just look at them inches away from your nose. They are not afraid of you at all. And you’re a bird-dog.  I love your big, brown, pouty eyes and how you know when I need a friend…READ MORE HERE

7-26-2013She loves you already.  It doesn’t matter that she doesn’t even know you yet.  She has never met a human being she didn’t want to adore fully right off the bat, with the possible exceptions being screaming-2-year-olds.  They make her nervous.  But fully-grown people? She loves even the dog-haters.  She is just a great big lover.  She will attach herself to you as if she is the Secret Service on Presidential Guard duty.  No one will be able to get to you on her watch…READ MORE HERE

There are so many posts. But I’ll stop…I am so missing her.

Good grief

I spent the day after she died researching, desperately looking for a to-do list, a set of guidelines for getting through the grief process quickly. I even researched what “acceptable” grief for the loss of a beloved dog is. I found out that it will take however long it takes. I learned that old grief gets mixed in with new grief. I learned that I cannot be cured or fixed and there is no universal timetable and that life will go on, but that losing Sandy is a change, a loss of huge proportions to my heart and soul. So there will be tears and I will grieve. For however long…

…Missing my Sandy-girl tonight.

Precipitation

Sandy-the-dog took the morning’s little non-sticking snow flurries as a direct attack against her. Silly dog. It was all about the rain a few minutes later attacking my travel-hair. Let’s keep perspective! ;)

Off to Chicago in a few. Looks like a super full flight.

PUPPY LOVE: my mom and the mutt

Sandy-the-family-dog will soon make her stage debut as Sandy-the-Mutt (her actual namesake) in the local stage production of Annie (while Dave plays Daddy Warbucks).

We rescued Sandy years ago from the landfill where she’d been abandoned and was running wild eating trash and afraid of her own shadow, yet, she has never quit looking like a junkyard dog.  Even our love could not transform her into a beautiful show dog.  And though I fully believed a good grooming would be necessary for her to be a star: NO!  We are to leave her in this sad, overgrown condition for her role onstage.  She is untrained and undisciplined.

  • You can’t take her on a walk without getting your shoulder pulled out of socket.
  • She insists on laying right on your feet and constantly touching you, staring at you and basically loving the stuffing out of you.
  • She gets throroughly head-over-heels excited when you come in the door.
  • When you are eating anything, even though she is never allowed people food, Sandy sits very closely and tries to disguise the fact that she is lusting after your food.  But she isn’t allowed to beg.  So she sits there, acting all nonchalent and doesn’t actually look at you (because she knows that will get her in trouble), but she moves her eyes one way and then the next and then tilts her head so she can clearly watch you eating from the corner of her eye.  “Look away,” we tell her and she does, but then…yes, there it is: the corner of the eye thing again.  She is fooling no one.  I am amused by her persistance for lo these many years.  Hope must rise eternal in her heart that we will just one day give her all of our food.
  • She rolls around on the floor like a maniac when being petted.
  • If you give her a dryer sheet, she rubs her body all over it, because smelling fresh is her one true desire, though smelling fresh is pretty much impossible for Sandy.  She hates baths and thinks she is being punished and after years of hearing b-a-t-h spelled out, she is not fooled by our code.
  • She lives for love and lives to love.  The slightest kindness or gentle word from me and Sandy thumps a Morse-Code message of affection back to me with her ample tail.

 

Devotion.

Sandy and Dave have gotten closer during this shared theatrical experience, but she is my dog until Stormie shows up.  We were very close, mutt and me, during the Taiwan trip, but the minute Stormie was back on US soil, I was cast aside.  However,  if Rocky is anywhere in a 2 mile radius-her heart belongs to him and him alone.  Period.  He knows her and understands her more than anyone else.  And she pays him back with a fierce covenant commitment and over-the-top adoration.  They are “a boy and his dog.”  But Stephanie originally brought Sandy into the family, so she owns a part of Sandy, too.

She is a sweet dog.  She hates cats and is terrified of birds, but otherwise does not like conflict.  She loves people, seems to believe the best of everyone, and melts at a kind word and a pat on the head.  That is really all takes to be loved by Sandy forever.  She doesn’t really enjoy playing horsie with the grandkids, but is gentle and longsuffering with them anyway.

Sandy is a Phlegmatic-Sanguine.  She loves people and she loves peacefulness and having everybody just get along.  Just like my mom.  No wonder I adore her: the dog, I mean, but my mom, too.  Yes.  They are both lovely and loveable.  And they are very close friends, as well.  They may even favor one another a little.

 

My mom  and Sandy-the-Dog are probably my two most reliable and exuberant cheerleaders in life, my most trusted allies.  Aren’t they adorable?