Saturday, October 19, 2013

So long, Sydney

On a very cold evening in January, 2003, Holly was driving to my parents house to meet me so we could spend time with my family.  On the way, she was driving on a windy, two-lane road through the woods.  All of a sudden, this thing popped into the road and then ran back in the woods.  Then it happened again.  At first Holly wondered if this was a fox or something.  But, no.  It was a dog.  A black and white little puppy.  She was hopping into the road and then running back into the woods where her two brothers were.

It was cold.  They were sick.  They had been dumped in the woods.  They wouldn't have made it through the night.  Holly took action.  She took them to the vet nearby. That night, we decided we were keeping one of them: the white and black little leader: Sydney.  She was strong and smart and brave.  She was running to the road to get help for her sick, weak brothers.  And she did.

We found homes for the two boys and kept Sydney.  At first our other dog, Cali, did not care for this little ball of energy.  Sydney wanted to play ALL THE TIME.  And she wanted to play with Cali, ALL THE TIME.

Sydney was frustrating.  She wouldn't listen.  She would get into trouble.  She was an incredible handful.  I was very frustrated and didn't like her very much at first.  But, she was a puppy.  And, a smart one at that.

Over time (and it didn't take too long), both Cali and I warmed up to Sydney.  Holly had dealt with the crazy puppy issues much better than Cali and I did.  Then, Sydney and Cali were best buds.  They played a lot.  Before Sydney, it seemed that Cali had started to settle into middle-age.  But, with the new puppy around, Cali seemed to be young again.  She was playful and happy and really seemed to love Sydney.

When Cali died of cancer, Sydney took it really hard.  Her best friend was gone and she seemed lost.  So, we brought home Eddie as a buddy for her to play with.  And, at first she seemed happy about it.  But then she realized that Eddie was here to stay.  It took a while, but she finally warmed up to Eddie the way Cali warmed up to her.  I wouldn't say they were ever the best buds that Cali and Sydney were, but they played and got along.

Then, Sydney got cancer.  With Cali, it was a surprise.  We had no notice.  We didn't see any changes to Cali.  But with Sydney, this was an almost year-long ordeal.  She had issues with her eye and face.  Over the year she became a physically different dog.  She was still the loving, wonderful dog, but she was clearly not the same.  And Eddie started acting out.  He marked in our bedroom and seemed to just get into trouble more.  He'd try to dominate Sydney at times when she couldn't defend herself.  I don't think he was being mean, but it was weird how his behavior, especially towards her, changed.

Over the last few weeks especially, Sydney's condition worsened.  She was clearly not the happy dog she always was.  She enjoyed her attention (you could not pet her enough -- even if you were focused only on her and using both hands!), but she wasn't happy.  We made the difficult decision to let her go.  She was in pain.  It was only going to get worse.  And the look in her eyes felt to me like she was asking me to help her.  To make it stop.

Yesterday, we had our vet come over to our house.  My mother-in-law was there.  One of the vet techs that joined the vet was our old neighbor.  She brought her daughter, who happened to be our flower girl.  It was like a little going away party for Sydney... and Sydney was eating up all of the attention with tail wags that had been absent for weeks.  She looked happier than she had in a while, but still looked ready to go.  It was nice and peaceful how she went to sleep for the last time.  It was really sad seeing her put her head down for the last time knowing that she'd never pick it up again.  But I know now that she's not hurting anymore.  And the memories we'll have of her will last us the rest of our lives.

We love you Sydney and we miss you very much!