This morning, my family and I had to say goodbye to my companion for over a decade–Sheba, our 13-year-old Schipperke. Sheba was diagnosed about six months ago with bladder cancer, a very aggressive type, which is incurable and virtually untreatable.
Sheba was a fifteen pound terror–but she was ours. When I mentioned to my mom that we had 15 great years with us, she remarked that, honestly, the first few years were rough.
I would be lying if I told you that she made a great first impression on our family. The day she met my dad, she chased him up our stairs, snipping at his ankles. Never thought they’d be pals by the end.
I can remember dad spending hours every night playing and roughhousing just to tucker her out. She had this red parrot ball–her favorite. By the time she finally lost it, the squeaker was long gone and there was a gaping hole in the ball. I’m sure that by the time my parents finally move away, we’ll find it and smile, just remembering how much joy it brought to Sheba.
Over the years, she had some pretty close calls. There was the time she ate a dime and we had to rush her to the vet, cause she was constipated. Then there was the time she “escaped” and my cousin, Frankie, and I had to chase her to the front of my yard, across 136 and into the neighbor’s yard. She also had a near-death experience with gramma’s electric chair when she got chewed the wires and got stuck.
I still remember the first few days when we introduced Cheelo, our younger dog–a toy poodle, to Sheba. She was visibly frustrated that this little ball of fluff kept interrupting her play-time with my dad. And he had the nerve to waltz right up to her and try to play! By day 3, the two were inseparable. I’m not sure how Cheelo will get on without her. It could go either way–he’ll definitely love all the extra attention, but I imagine he’ll miss his buddy.
Sheba, despite always terrorizing our cats–and giving one of them stitches, was a loving dog, unless you went near her while she was sleeping, eating, or generally in a grumpy mood. But when you needed her, like any good dog, she was there for you–especially if you were eating dinner.
We’ve had a lot of great memories together, and while it tears me up to say goodbye, I know she’s in a better place, where she can eat as much chicken and beer as she wants, where she’s reunited with her favorite ball, and where she can endlessly terrorize cats.
Rest peacefully, my sweet girl. We’ll always love you.