you never have to deal with the pain and heartache I suffered when someone poisoned my dog.
I remember clearly the day our family adopted Sadie from the animal shelter in Oregon where she was about to be euthanized because nobody wanted her. She looked to be about 2 or 3 years old, and must have had parents who were purebreds but of different breeds. She was a beautiful mix of whatever and we loved her immediately.
She was friendly and looked like a happy dog in spite of being abused, which was obvious from the scars and marks on her little body. We found her crammed into a cage with several other dogs in the overcrowded shelter. Winter was in full swing with temperatures dropping into the low teens. Animal control officers had been pulling extra duty searching for abandoned dogs who needed shelter and food to keep from dying in the frigid cold. No one knew who Sadie belonged to since she had no collar or tags, and she had overstayed her welcome like so many of the other dogs scheduled to be put to sleep.
We spoke with the volunteer who was working that day and asked about Sadie. She said, “Someone poisoned my own dog and so I was thinking seriously of adopting Sadie for myself.” I knew I would never hear the end of it if she adopted the dog because the kids had already decided Sadie was the only pet they wanted.
We knew at first sight that Sadie was meant to be part of our family. Once she was at home with us it took very little time before she became OUR dog, our friend and our constant companion. We dutifully got her dog tags and chose a collar for her that she seemed to appreciate a lot.
Sadie came into our lives at a time when we needed her most. When we needed love she surrendered it without a second of hesitation. She loved us all, and we could tell that she knew in her heart we would never harm her or abandon her.
Every day and night Sadie was there for us. If one of us felt sad or distracted for some reason, she’d be right there, wagging her tail and licking us like we were her favorite dog treat. No matter how bad a day I had at work, she’d be at the door welcoming me home with her wagging tail which always seemed to be in constant motion.
One day my young daughter decided she would give Sadie a bath using her own Mr. Bubbles shampoo, and removed Sadie’s collar so it wouldn’t get soaked. I was at work and my wife was busy entertaining relatives who had stopped to visit while on their way to enjoy a warmer winter in southern California where they had a second home.
After Sadie was finished with her bath, my daughter dried her off and sat her down on a dry towel to rest. Feeling tired from the task, my daughter laid down beside Sadie and promptly fell asleep. Sadie apparently thought it would be a good idea to go exploring. Someone must have left the door to the back porch ajar and from the pattern of tracks, Sadie had decided to check out the back yard and romp around in the blanket of freshly fallen snow.
Sadie was nowhere to be found and when we were unable to locate her anywhere in or outside the house that night, we called the animal shelter to see if someone had turned her in. Unfortunately, she was not at the shelter, and after several hours of driving through neighborhood after neighborhood that night, we had to abandon our search and wait until daylight.
The next day was a Saturday which gave us a full day to search for our beloved pet who had become an integral part of our family and was no longer thought of as “just a dog”. Later back at home, after many fruitless hours of searching, we received a call from the animal shelter saying that our Sadie was in their care. I asked how she was and the volunteer simply said, “I think you should come to claim her as soon as you can.” That startled me, and when I asked how Sadie was, the person simply said, “please, come now.”
We drove to the animal shelter as quickly as we safely could on the icy roads. Jumping out of the car, we rushed into the shelter and said we were there to claim our beloved dog, Sadie. The look on the attendant’s face was all it took for us to know that Sadie was probably not going to survive whatever had befallen her doing her sojourn in the wintry cold.
An older woman who appeared to be in charge of the shelter, stepped over to us and said, “I’m so sorry. Your dog was obviously poisoned by someone. When your dog was brought in this morning she was vomiting and foaming at the mouth. Doctor Stevens, our vet, examined her and said there was nothing that could be done to save your dog. Her symptoms were classic poisoning and she was too far gone to save. The doctor euthanized her to put her out of her misery. There was no possibility of recovery. I’m truly sorry for your loss.”
Our youngest son suddenly screamed, “Someone poisoned my dog” and immediately started sobbing loudly. To say that we were stunned would be an understatement. All of a sudden the animal we had previously saved from a certain death and had taken home to love, and who loved us in return, was gone – all because of the actions of a thoughtless and cruel human being.
We buried Sadie in our semi-frozen backyard that same day with a short ceremony that had us all crying. Sadie knew she was loved by each of us and the only thing we could be thankful for on this sad day was that Sadie KNEW she was loved and at least had enjoyed some time in her short life that was joyous and happy. She can never be replaced, and she will never be forgotten for the unconditional love and happiness she brought to our family.