August 17th 2011 4:25 pm
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A Tribute to Sandy
Sandy was everything I ever wanted in a dog and I consider myself very lucky to have been the owner of such a wonderful canine friend.
As a youngster, he was confident, sure of himself and full of adventure with a zest for life. At his very first obedience class, he leapt up on top of a bench and stood there tall and proud as if to say “Okay, everyone – here I am. Let the party begin!” On our walks through the woods along the river, he couldn’t wait to get where he was going, to see what was around the next bend. Everything he encountered outdoors had to be tasted and smelled.
As an older dog, Sandy was sweet, calm and mellow and exceptionally gentle, especially with children. People described him as a kind dog.
We had so many happy times together, taking numerous obedience classes because I loved working with my dog. We competed in obedience trials and learned fun tricks, but my favourite years were the agility years – four years of running my dog through tunnels, weave poles, over jumps and so on. It was the most fun I’d ever had. Sandy’s favourite obstacle was the teeter.
Like a true working dog, he would retrieve a frisbee or ball over and over, although he loved fetching his little dumbbell the best.
He became certified as a St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog in May 2000 and served his community in this way for the next ten years, first at McCormick Home for 3-1/2 years, visiting with seniors, then Merrymount Children’s Centre for the next seven years. In the spring of 2009, he became certified as a Reading Assistance Dog and that summer began working in the Dog Tales program – a program where shy or reluctant readers age 7 – 13 could sign up to read to a dog, thereby practising their reading skills and becoming more confident at reading aloud. Sandy’s placement was in the Children’s library at the Central branch. He won the hearts of children and staff alike.
When Sandy reached age 11, he and I began a new venture – Canine Musical Freestyle! When he was 12 years old, we had an opportunity to perform our routine in our matching costumes and to our chosen music at the Canadian Canine Cabaret in June 2010, where we earned a leg towards a beginner’s title in the Sassy Senior’s Division.
Then, later that year, the lipoma growing on his side, which the vet and I had been keeping an eye on, suddenly begin to grow very rapidly and to change in texture. I took him back to the vet to have it aspirated once again, and this time, the diagnosis was no longer benign. He lived with the cancer for several more months. When it finally began to affect his quality of life, I knew it was time to assist him to the Rainbow Bridge. Sandy passed away at age 13.
Sandy, my precious boy – I never could imagine my days without you. It is so hard not seeing you lying in your favourite places, not feeling your soft head beneath my fingers, or seeing you look up at me with soft and gentle eyes, beneath those lovely white eyelashes that people often commented on.
You will never know how you have enriched my life. When I said good-bye to you, my greatest comfort was in knowing that yours was a life well-lived. I know you and my sweet girl, Summer, had happy and full lives, full of learning and new experiences. What I gave you, you gave me back ten-fold!
Rest well, my dear boy.
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