By Katrina Woodcox
We were heartbroken when we lost our 13-year old dog, Ruby. She had been with us since she was a puppy and was a reliable, stoic girl who joined us on family adventures and was a patient, gentle companion for our oldest daughter who has autism. When our youngest was born, she became a faithful shadow, always keeping a watchful eye on her from infancy, through the toddler years and into elementary school.
Suffice it to say – she had some pretty big paws to fill. So much so that after her passing, my husband said he did not want to get another dog. Three years went by, and while we filled our busy home with life, laughter, and four funny feline friends, nevertheless, I longed for the loyal companionship that only a dog seems to provide. Every now and then, I would talk to my husband about it, but he was still pretty adamant about his decision. From “they’re too much work” to “we’ll have to clean up poop in the yard again” he had several excuses to cover up the real reason: his heart wasn’t quite ready.
One afternoon, I was asked if I could foster two 3-month old brindle-coat puppies. They had been taken in as strays with their mom by the city animal shelter. They were born on the streets of Chico and were truly homeless animals. When their mother was reunited with her owner, the puppies ended up at Butte Humane Society. I offered to take them in “for a few days” until they were altered and then put up for adoption.
They were adorable: the male was beefy, rambunctious, and loud. The female was lean, quiet, and shy. She just wanted me to hold her on my chest and rest her head on my shoulder. It took about 10 minutes and I knew Sadie had picked her family. It took my husband a few days, but he knew it too. And it took no convincing my then-10-year-old – we were all hooked.
Today she is still a shy girl, but she is goofy and funny. She’s definitely not “a Ruby” – but she IS Sadie and we love her just as much. She likes to play “Is There a Puppy In Here?” – a phrase that causes her to spin in mad circles in the living room with a squeaky toy. She loves trips to the ocean, hikes in Bidwell Park, chasing squirrels, and car rides. She is gentle, a bit nervous, and very sweet. She sits by the door every morning so I don’t “forget her” when I leave for the office and makes friends with
everyone she meets. And on occasion, she suffers from an anxiety episode – that requires soothing music and a quiet space to regroup.
Aside from finding her forever home with us, the even better news is that her brother was adopted by a colleague so now Ru and Sadie get to see each other throughout the year, their favorite pastime: chasing each other and balls in a big open field.
After losing a beloved pet, we sometimes place expectations on those that come after them. I’m grateful that Sadie is so different from Ruby. Like humans – we are all unique – as we should be. I’m glad Sadie does what most animals can do for us if we just let them: teach us about ourselves, kindness, and unconditional love. Thank you, BHS for bringing us together!