Tale of Tails: Sweet Sally Brown

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Sweet Sally Brown as a puppy

Sweet Sally Brown as a puppy

I don’t write about our Sally too often. Not sure why, but I tend to think about her a lot this time of year as we lost Sally four years ago on Memorial Day weekend. It was pretty devastating for both of us. Actually, that’s probably why I don’t write about her much, I still miss her every day.

We moved to California in 1995 from Manhattan. We were glad to be out of that rat race, to own a home with a yard and the first thing I wanted to do was get a dog. Both of us were lab lovers, so it seemed an easy decision. We found a breeder in Riverside and my sister and I went out to meet the mom, dad and pups. The pups were only 5 weeks when we first met them, so we couldn’t bring one home, but it was good to see their environment, meet the parents and pick one out. I wanted a male, but Steve wanted a female. He was a little resistant to the idea of a dog as he knew he would lose his heart immediately, so I gave in and we agreed on a female. Deciding on her name was a whole other story, for another day, suffice to say we named her Sally, with her full AKC name as Sweet Sally Brown.

We brought Sally home a few weeks later. For the first 12 hours or so Steve was apprehensive – I think he was worried he would break her. Then she followed him out to his gym he had in the garage and jumped on his chest as he was doing his sit-ups and just started licking his face. That was it, he lost his heart to her from that moment on and Sally was his ‘heart dog’.

We have countless memories of fun, scary, hilarious and anxious times with Sally over the 14 years she was in our lives. She did everything  & went everywhere with us. She loved other dogs, other people – she was a lab through and through. She loved food, water, fetch and us. She tolerated her brother Tino, loved her boyfriend Rudy and played endless games of biteface with her girlfriend Lucy.

Sweet Sally Brown - age 12

Sweet Sally Brown – age 12

Sally had many orthopedic issues, some came from a tendency in labs for dysplasia, some came from her shall we say, exuberance for life and tendency to overdo. She had two ACL surgeries and surgery for elbow dysplasia. As a result of all this, she also developed arthritis and was pretty gimpy, limping around most of the time as she got into her senior years. She was on supplements, glucosomine and adequan for years as well as pains meds. We also had her in physical therapy and acupuncture…all of which seemed to help her and ease her discomfort. We got steps so she could get in and out of the bed and sofa more easily and we built a ramp down to the yard since stairs were a real issue. Yes, we spoiled her, but she paid us back immeasurably every day.

On the Saturday of Memorial Day 2009, I took the dogs for their walk in the am and then went to the gym to my spin class. When I came home, Sally wasn’t at the door to greet me. Odd, but I thought maybe she’d gone out back for a pee or a walk-about. I knew she would hear the car and come in to say hello. I called her, no response. I started down the hall to the back door and there she was, standing in the hallway, frozen, with a look of fear & pain in her eyes…

I don’t want to go into the gruesome details of that weekend. Suffice to say, at the end of the weekend, with many tears and breaking hearts, we said goodbye to our girl, our Sweet Sally Brown. I wish I had some words of wisdom or a useful warning about what happened, but we don’t really know. The best we can surmise based on vet reports and xrays is a catastrophic injury to her back and/or neck – maybe going through the dog door, maybe a romp after a rabbit, who knows. But whatever it was, she was in excruciating pain and at age 14, with no clear recourse to resolve it, there was nothing we could do other than ease her passing.

Sally was our best friend. She was an equal opportunity friend and did her best to share herself equally between us. I will write more about Sally as time goes on and bring out some of the old pictures to relive some of her adventures. It’s funny how dogs work their way into your heart and just never leave it.  She was like that.

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13 Comments

  1. Sweet story, sweet sally…..

  2. She had a special place in your hearts. She sounds lovely.
    Clowie recently posted…Fetch – or notMy Profile

  3. Vivid memories of those last days never leave us do they? Just remember all the wonderful happy ones more often
    GizmoGeodog recently posted…Deidre’s K9 Naturals Supports Park Day 2.0My Profile

    • Good advice – thanks.

  4. Your recounting touched my heart; she was so sweet and beautiful!

  5. Treat was like that for me! She had a spinal tumor at age ten and we had just five weeks with her after she was diagnosed. I felt so cheated for a long time because she would have been a fantastic senior dog. It sounds like Sally had one heck of a wonderful life with you!

    • We had lots of fun. I hope she enjoyed it as much us. I think she did.

  6. What a wonderful story but mom and I are all teary eyed. Losing a pup mom says is just the hardest thing. Each dog has a special place in mom’s heart and no two of us are ever the same but we are also never forgotten. We have pics around the house of mom’s first dog that left her almost 10 yrs ago, she never wants to forget her. Your Sally was definitely special!
    emma recently posted…Calling All K9 Kampers | GBGV | K9 KampMy Profile

  7. It is so hard to let go of your pup, your best friend. My heart goes out to you. I think it is more difficult to make sense of when you don’t know exactly why it happened then, and why. I lost my little poodle, Allie a year and a half ago. I found her scarcely clinging to life in her little dog bed one night. She had been healthy, and no one could diagnosis her. Many think that she died of a “broken heart”, because her companion poodle of 14 years had died six weeks before. Sad sad sad.
    Terry Cramer recently posted…Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue Adoption Event 6/1/2013My Profile

  8. Since we recently lost our 14 year old girl and may never get over it, I can totally relate. What a sweet pup. I can’t wait to hear more about her.

  9. This made my heart race and I got a little choked up. Sally Brown is so beautiful and she reminds me so much of Charlie, especially in her puppy photo. There’s nothing quite as special as falling in love with a dog, especially a labrador. Hope she’s having lots of treats and walks in heaven 🙂
    Human Rescues Dog recently posted…Please, Darling – Let the Dogs on the CouchMy Profile

    • I’m sure she is having a grand old time – hope she has a nice warm lap to snuggle on too.

  10. That is such a sad but beautiful story of your dear Sally. Thank you for sharing that with us.
    Elizabeth recently posted…Wordless Wednesday #130My Profile

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