I picked up Sadie’s ashes tonight. It’s hard to believe that such a vibrant dog could be reduced to this small amount, but there it is. I was talking to Mark a few days after Sadie died and he said something about what a big personality Sadie had, and that just seemed right.
The household is quieter, for one. Despite my worries that I’ve lost my guard dog, Hannah has been filling in quite nicely. She sounds the alert when the mail carrier comes and when anyone else comes near the house, too. There doesn’t seem as much of a racket, though, since there is only one dog barking now, and Hannah seems to reach her threshold much sooner than Sadie ever did.
One of my friends that works extensively with greyhound rescue and has adopted and lost a few dogs over the years advised that I’d see Hannah’s personality change, as well as my relationship with her. I’m certainly seeing that already.
Tonight, for example, I took Hannah out with me as I visited B for dinner at his condo. Hannah has some behavioral issues, one of which is that she can get very anxious in the car and the other — more critically important one in this situation — that she has a fear aggression issue with strange dogs. I was worried that we’d run into another dog in the lobby or the elevator, but that didn’t happen. And her behavior on the drive home was much more subdued than the steady panting and whining as we drove to B’s residence.
I’ve been taking Hannah out for more walks, as well. Since Sadie has died, Hannah has been walked every single day, either by me or another caretaker like the dog walker. Even today, as the first powdery snow of the season fell, I put on her leash and took her out for a walk at midday.
In the depths of my sorrow over losing Sadie, I told B my guilty secret: that I loved Sadie more and that Hannah was not as important to me. He advised me to give her a chance, and it seems that I am.
I’ve known for years that she is smart and capable, although she’s prone to anxiety. I’ve even noted that she seemed smarter than Sadie, as I watched her trick Sadie into giving up a coveted toy over and over, using the same technique each time. Now that I can’t let the dogs entertain each other, I’m challenged to interact more with Hannah and perhaps help her be a little more functional around strange dogs.
As a behaviorist we consulted said, she may never be a dog park dog. But she can still be a good dog, nonetheless.