When I moved to Hawaii from Texas in 1992 I had to leave my mixed breed dog, Sadie, behind. She was part dachshund and part something else that gave her a long body but with long legs that enabled her to run like the wind. At that time, Hawaii had a four month holding period for all dogs and cats entering the islands. The cost for boarding the animal was very high and starting out at a new job at the University of Hawaii I knew I did not make enough to pay the boarding fees. I was comforted in the knowledge that I was leaving my little pal in the loving arms of my sister and her family in Dallas. I missed my best friend and was saving up enough money to bring her over to Oahu.

But at Thanksgiving time, about a year after I left Texas, I was talking to my sister on the phone. We talked about a number of things and it was getting time for me to end the conversation so I could get to my church Thanksgiving dinner celebration. Just before closing the conversation I asked “Oh, how is Sadie doing?” There was a pause and my sister said “I have been meaning to tell you about Sadie.” My heart sank, I knew it could not be good news.

I thought she Sadie might be sick and there were vet bills to cover. No, that would have been too easy. My sister then told me now the children were playing with Sadie in the garage with the overhead door open. They think Sadie spied a cat or something in the yard across the lane and bolted out after it. There was a high fence enclosing their yard and as Sadie dashed down the driveway and across the lane a car came down the lane and struck struck her. No one could see the car due to the high fence.

My niece was horrified and rushed over and picked up Sadie’s little tan body. My sister said Sadie looked up at my niece and then closed her eyes and died.

I was sick at the news but kept my composure. As so many men of my generation, I was taught not to cry. I kept my stiff upper lip until the conversation ended and I hung up the phone. I sat alone in the house thinking about all the happy times Sadie and I had together. How I would come home from work and she would greet me with her tail wagging. She always seem so thankful that I took her in when she was a skinny, sickly pup full of ticks and fleas at the Humane Society. With a few drugs and some good food she put on enough weight that her ribs no longer protruded from under her skin. I recalled how she loved to run in big circles around my back yard, And if I held up a stick, even waist high, she always managed to leap over it. She enjoyed life and I remembered how much joy she brought me.

Then, there in the quiet solitude of my house in Hawaii, the extent of the loss hit me like a brick. I broke down and wept for the loss of my little friend, Sadie.

I recall that crying seemed to help. It was a kind of tribute to a loyal and loving creature who asked so little and gave so much. For a single guy, not given to displays of emotion, it was probably the best tribute I could give. I would lose human friends and relatives and not weep. Not because I did not care for them deeply, I did, but because I could seem to deal with their loss somehow. Maybe my faith or some rationalization could help me cope. But the loss of that poor little, sweet creature, that could not talk but seemed to speak to my heart as no one else could, brought me to tears. I shall never forget her.

From that experience I cherish all the more the time I have with my current little pal, Greta. She too was adopted from the Humane Society. She sleeps faithfully beside me now as I write these words. I think I will give her a little cuddle now in remembrance of Sadie. It will do us both a world of good.

Gregg from HI