Chapter 5 of “A Life Worth Living – The Story of Sassy”
CHAPTER 5 – Love Can’t Be Stopped
Sassy’s first health scare with us occurred when she was about a year and a half old – as is common with smaller breeds, Sassy was diagnosed with luxating patella tendons in her rear legs and our vet said her knees would only get worse over time if we didn’t take care of it now. Since her left knee was apparently worse than her right, Anne and Rose chose to have the surgery on that joint first — this event gave us all another glimpse at Sassy’s incredible heart.
The operation was an outpatient procedure and it went well. We brought Sassy home and all watched over her as she rested in Anne’s bed.
“She’s still so small.” Anne was misty-eyed as she stroked Sassy’s fur – still matted from her ordeal.
“Well, looks like she’s going to have another ‘chicken leg’ for a while.” I smiled, watching Sassy’s side gently rise and fall with her peaceful breaths. I then reached over to touch her and, as my hand brushed Anne’s while we stroked Sassy together, I experienced a strange sense of deja vu – Anne crying, our hands on Sassy, Sassy at peace — it all passed so fast that I couldn’t tell if it really happened at all.
I blinked to try to get the vision back, but Anne broke my concentration, “The doctor said she should be back on her feet in a few days.”
“Gee, that seems really soon.” I replied. “Won’t that jeopardize how her knee heals?”
“Apparently not. I guess if she stays off it for 48-72 hours that will be enough time.”
“Well, if she was in the wild, she wouldn’t have much choice, right?”
“Sassy in the wild?” Anne giggled. “Now there’s a thought! Heck, you know she won’t even pee in the grass now…”
[Anne’s statement was funny, but not entirely correct — she was referencing the fact that Sassy had discovered a way to go outside to relieve herself which allowed her to pee in the grass but not actually have to stand in it. Due to the way the sidewalks came together outside Anne and Rose’s front door, there was a small patch of grass that came to a vee in just such a way that Sassy had learned how to stand on the sidewalks while also squatting over that grass. It was quite a sight to see — and apparently quite a place to pee since it was now Sassy’s preferred spot].
“So where will Sassy sleep tonight?” I asked. “Are you gonna keep her on the bed with you instead of in her crate like normal?”
“Lord no.” Anne replied. “Sassy loves her crate – it’s like her little cave. She feels protected in there and I want to keep everything else as normal as possible for her. Plus, if she was in bed, I’d be afraid she would fall off or something.”
“But how will you keep her off her knee at night? I thought she had a habit of going back and forth between your mom’s room and your’s at night. Are you gonna actually lock her inside or something?”
“What? Heaven’s no. We never lock her in – she never causes any trouble at night. Yes she does like to move between our rooms, that’s why mom and I each have a crate for her to sleep in, but, trust me, I don’t think Sassy will feel like doing much of anything after she wakes up. The vet said she we can try to feed her but it’s likely she won’t want to eat anything. I’m more concerned about how she’s going to deal with the pain – I just hope she doesn’t cry too much – poor thing.”
I left a short time later – while Sassy was still sleeping. The plan was to let her rest as much as she liked, then move her into the crate in Rose’s room for the night. As it turned out, three things occurred that night which were rather surprising — first off, Sassy did not miss a meal – eating every bit of her usual dinner shortly after she came too. Secondly, Sassy did not cry or even whine from the pain that surely must have been in her knee — Anne and Rose assumed this was because the pain medication that was prescribed for Sassy did the trick, however over time we would all learn that Sassy just didn’t complain about pain – this event would later turn out to be another example of how Sassy dealt with an adverse situation and made the best of it. I can say the latter statement with confidence because the third unexpected occurrence that happened that night was that Sassy did not in fact stay off her leg — instead she left her crate in Rose’s room and hobbled her way into Anne’s bedroom in the middle of the night just like always.
“She’s such a trooper.” Anne held Sassy in her arms as she related the story to me the next day. “I woke up about one a.m. because I heard a strange scratching sound – I looked down and there was Sassy, struggling to keep her balance while raising a paw to claw at my bed frame. As usual, she’d come to check on me at night to make sure I was alright. Isn’t she precious?”
“But what about her injured leg?” I asked, afraid that she might have damaged it before it could heal.
“We called the vet. He said every dog is different. If Sassy wants to try to walk, we’re supposed to let her do it – in moderation.”
In the end, Sassy didn’t miss a beat. She was on her feet without any problems. Oh sure, she didn’t like the fact that she had stitches in her back leg and to keep her from eating at them, Anne had to take her back to the vet to get a small cone collar that Sassy had to wear around her neck for a few days — something Sassy DID complain about, but the sight of Sassy with that cone on was so comical that it was heard to take her annoyed barking seriously. Luckily for her, she only had to wear it a few days.
Unfortunately little did we know that Sassy’s leg problems were only beginning…
Sassy’s Life Lesson #5: Never Go to Bed Without Telling the People You Love “I Love You”
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty positive that if I had a knee surgery, it’s doubtful I’d be up on my feet walking around later that same night. Yet when I think back to this time period with Sassy, I am continually amazed that she was able to walk just a few hours after her surgery. Nothing could keep her from going between Rose and Anne’s bedrooms and I firmly believe that it’s because Sassy was committed to her routine – checking on her loved ones and making sure they knew how much she cared about her family. It’s a lesson we could all benefit from remembering more.
Life throws us a lot of curve balls and unfortunately sometimes we allow ourselves to get frustrated with the ones we love the most. I recall a piece of wisdom that Rose told me shortly after Anne and I got married (which obviously is a bit of a spoiler alert for this book!), “No matter how much you might fight during the day, don’t ever go to bad mad at each other. If you can do that, Michael, you and Anne will be married a long time.” I’ve always tried to remember that over the years.
At the same time, something I tell me son Jax is that “No matter how many times you’ve told someone you love them, don’t ever stop repeating it because people never get tired of hearing those words.” Or sometimes I’ll ask him a question, “What’s the most important thing you can do each day?” And he undoubtedly answers, “Tell someone you love, ‘I Love You.‘” Words can’t express how proud of Jax I am at moments like that.
Whether it’s the wisdom of Sassy, Rose, or Jax you prefer the most, the key point remains the same – tell your loved ones that you love them every day.
Point To Ponder
Who are you going to say “I Love You” to TODAY?
Once you know your answer, don’t wait, tell them now.
You’re sure to bring a smile to their face.