Thursday, December 23, 2010

For Sierra

Many of you will recall a previous entry in which i detailed the hilarious hijinks of Sierra and I going to the vet.

I'm very sad to report that our beloved Sierra passed away early this morning.

I was never much of a dog person. Raised mostly around cats, I felt like dogs were unpredictable and potentially mean. Sierra was the dog who would rid me of that opinion, forever.

I remember the first night I met Sierra. I was sitting at my fiance's computer desk while he was looking through his DVD's, and I saw his door crack open a few inches. Suddenly, a long snout was poking into the room.

"Hi, Sierra!" Matt said. "Come meet Sarah!" She stood in the hallway, unmoving. I guess she was as unsure of me as I was of her.

"What...what is that?" I asked.

"It's a Collie." Matt said.

"It's ...big!" I said.

Matt laughed. "She's actually fairly petite for a Collie."

I stared at Sierra. Sierra towered over me. (Okay, maybe it's a bit of an exaggeration. But to me, she was a tall, tall dog!)

And with that, we left. The next time I saw her, she came right over and rested her head in my lap. And my heart melted a little bit.

Over time, it became evident that Sierra was the sweetest, most loving dog ever. She pretty much loved you right away, no matter what.

I learned that when she took walks, she didn't walk in a straight line. I'm not talking about the typical dog sniffing from tree to tree. She walked in a serpentine pattern, which I still presume was to avoid giving terrorists a clear shot. She was street smart that way.

She loved the outdoors. She especially loved her mudhole, and Matt's mom's columbines. But the girl didn't underestimate the value of a cozy sleeping bag at the end of the night.

She charmed the crowd at my engagement party. She was easily the most complimented aspect of the day! She also suffered silently through many humiliations brought on by her own family. (As do we all!)

And though she was very sweet and well behaved, she also had a mischievous streak to her. She'd happily prance outside for a walk, but when it was time to come in, she'd look at the porch step, then back at you. Then back at the porch step. Then back at you.

In the backyard, if you called her, she'd wait until you walked over to her, and reluctantly, and sloooowly get up. At the dog park, she'd run to the far end, making you hike all the way over to get her.

Last week, in Forest Falls, she sweet-talked my mom into an entire piece of cheese.

And let's not leave out her tendency to steal cars for a joyride. This was taken upon finding out she had stolen Margaret's car. Who knew she could even drive stick?

Last night, Matt's mom Nancy called and said that it wasn't looking good for Sierra. She had a nasty bout of pneumonia, and her fever was spiking. Nancy had arranged for us to be able to go visit Sierra at the emergency animal hospital after Matt got off of work.

We were told we couldn't touch her, because she needed to stay in her oxygen cage, and also not to visit for too long, because she got too excited and it winded her.

As we approached the cage, she snoozed peacefully. Matt grabbed my hand as Sierra lifted her head.

"Hi, Collie-Girl." I said. "I'm sorry you don't feel well."

She opened her eyes, one drooping with sleep. She looked just like Matt.

"Hey, girl." Matt said.

We both stood with lumps in our throats. Sierra lowered her head. The vet tech was answering questions we had about temp and how she was doing in general. Sierra lifted her head again, and smiled.

"It's okay, girl." I said. "You can go back to sleep now."

"Get some rest, Collie Girl." Matt said.

We both said goodbye and left, much to the chagrin of the dachshund who was getting fastened into a cone of shame. I think he was hoping for witnesses.

It was such a great privilege to know and love Sierra. RIP, Girl. We love you!

"We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare, and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made." - F. Facklam

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