“Good-bye By Lady” – A Tribute!
Momma! Momma! Can I have German Shepherd? I want a German Shepherd just like “Rin Tin Tin!” As we watched ““Rin Tin Tin,” my young daughter went through all the reasons why it would be a good idea for us to get a German Shepherd. From being a good watch dog to being a great pet, she covered every other good reason in between in her effort to persuade me to get her a German Shepherd.
As I listened to my daughter’s reasoning and her pleas, I felt a tug at my heart. How I remembered what it felt like to want s special dog as badly as she wanted a German Shepherd!! But, I was reluctant as I was a single parent. I was afraid a dog would be too much with the other responsibilities I had. So, coyly, an idea took form in my mind. OK, I said, if you make “Honor Roll” for the year, I’ll get you a German Shepherd. It will look as much like “Rin Tin Tin” as possible. To myself, I smiled inwardly, at my plan. I knew my daughter was smart. I just wasn’t sure if she would be able to set such a goal at such a young age and accomplish that goal.
Right!!??? She got straight “A’s” for the next year! I was defeated by my own plan. I also had forgotten just how much a special pet could mean to a young child!
I spent the next six months or so looking for a German Shepherd that looked as much like “Rin Tin Tin” as I could find. An even bigger problem was money. I had no idea they cost so much money! She wanted a puppy. The best I could do was a German Shepherd this man had for sale for $300.00. He included a very large pin [I didn’t have a fence] and a very nicely made dog house. I went to see the dog. She was eight months old. That was older than I wanted; but, she was a beautiful, friendly, if not very high strung, dog. I bought her.
Though my daughter preferred a younger puppy, she quickly fell in love with “Lady.” A few months later, a friend of my son and daughter brought another do, half Chow, half Lab, to our home to watch until he convinced his Mom to let him keep the dog, also a girl. I knew I was being duped; but, I agreed. To make a long story short, Sheba became my son’s dog. Her choice, not ours. It was also quite clear that Lady was my daughter’s dog! The two dogs were immediately “pals.” Of course, Lady immediately let Sheba know she was “boss.” From that time on, the two were inseparable! Until today, that is! Lady passed away today. She was about “13 0r 14” years old. My daughter wasn’t home. Her and my son went to their Dad’s for Thanksgiving dinner.
I just couldn’t tell my daughter on the phone that Lady was gone when I checked to see what time she and her brother would be back in town from their trip to their Dad’s. She asked me a couple times what was wrong; but, I told her everything was fine! I think I did the right thing!
Lady has been a great companion and a good and faithful watchdog. Sadly, because I lost our house shortly after I retired on disability, she never had a yard to run around in. But, we, especially the kids, spent a lot of time with both Lady and Sheba. We kept their shots up and we walked them frequently. The kids frequently took them on “bike” rides and with them to play. They took both to the school playground after hours because it was completely fenced. There, both could run at will as long as no one else was there. Both of them loved the school yard. They got to run to their heart’s content!
Of, course, once the kids went to work and started college, it was hard for them to give Lady and Sheba all the time they wanted. But, they both spent as much time as possible with them both. But, their primary care became my job. At 60, it was harder for me to do as much as I wanted with them too. But, seemed to know that and we cherished our time together. Lady was fine yesterday when I walked them. But, during their walk, I noticed Lady was a little tired when we got back. She usually wants to walk some more when we are done. But, yesterday, she was eager to go inside her pin.
Lady developed arthritis so I carefully watched how she was doing and based her exercise around her health. I also had to take into account the weather when I exercised her and Sheba by walking them. Some days she was sore and stiff. She needed enough exercise to keep her condition from worsening without over doing it! She and Sheba loved this special time a walk provided. They loved it afterwards when we just sat around or I brushed them as we sat around.
I got me a small dog, Rascal, last year that was small enough to be inside my small apartment. Lady and Sheba both hated to be inside. It was a good thing. Once I moved into my dumpy apartment, there wasn’t room anyway. But, on the plus side our apartment building was a four unit building and was as close to a house as possible. I always made sure I used tarps year round arranged around their pin in a way that provided the best protection from the weather according to the season. Every time I put fresh cedar down, both Lady and Sheba couldn’t wait to”christen” it in their “own special way!” But, I knew that their time with us was coming to an end soon. I just didn’t expect Lady would go today. But, bearing all this in mind, I decided to go ahead and get Rascal.
Lady was an affectionate and friendly dog for a German Shepherd. But, if someone made a threatening gesture toward any of us, especially my daughter, she made it clear she would do her duty and protect us. Her very fierce looking snarl was a warning never to be ignored. She was very high strung and full of energy right up to the very end. When I walked her and Sheba, I used to tease her by saying, “OK ‘Bug,’ you and ‘Shebooboo ‘are not young pups any more and I am no ‘spring chicken’!” She always looked at me as if she understood. She always appeared to be laughing “with me” over my comments.
She and Sheba were like two old sisters. Whenever we walked, both seemed to make a conscientious effort of watching out for the other, slowing down their gate when necessary, slowing down and throwing a quick look over their shoulder to make sure each other was OK. As we took our walks I was always amazed at how close they both were, how attentive to each other. No matter how much time I spent with them, when the kids were around they both went nuts, especially Lady when she saw my daughter and Sheba when she saw my son! They were a part of our family. Sheba still is. We all loved Lady. We love Sheba as a part of our family. They loved each other.
We have lost a faithful, beloved member of our family. Her loss will be felt for a long time. I am so sad to see her go; but, I am also deeply grateful she died “peacefully!”
Rest in peace Lady. You are in Heaven now. You have earned your place in that special place in Heaven reserved for the faithful and beloved pets and protectors so much a part of our lives. Never was so much love so freely given with so little asked for in return. A gentle pat on the head, a kind word, a walk, a gentle stroke of the brush, such little things, they all seemed to give you so much pleasure. Though I was never able to give you that big back yard to run around in as you deserved, you will now be able to run freely in the company of all those other beloved pets who await you on your new journey, who gave so much while asking for so little in return! Your life was an example for all who loved you of “unconditional” love and “trust!”
“Good-bye, My Lady!” You will be missed!