Helping each other can be healing on both sides. Sometimes those of us who deal with disabilities are best qualified to help others deal with the same. Sometimes those who help people the most – aren’t people!
Those of you who know me have often heard me speak about how much I have felt attached to my miniature poodle, Sara – my little “dumpster doggie.” Over the summer Sara passed. Up until now, I have not been able to talk about her. It has been too painful. We become so attached to our furry friends. Sara was not only a great companion; she was physical and emotional therapy for me as well.
My little Sara was a miniature poodle, who walked with a limp – just like me. We called her my “dumpster doggie” because, when she was five years old, she was hit by a car and severely injured. She had then been tossed in a dumpster because the owner could not afford to help her recover.
Someone found her and took her to an emergency animal clinic. I saw her listed for adoption on the Internet. They said she wasn’t perfect because she walked with a limp. I limped to my car and drove to meet her at the clinic along with my family.
I looked her over and saw how cute she was. Then, slowly she wagged her tail to tell me that I belonged to her and would I please take her home so she could start taking care of me. I agreed with her, signed the necessary papers, committing myself to her care, and left to prepare a home for her.
A few days later I came back with a leash – which turned out to be my lifeline. We limped together toward our car. There was nothing disabled about her happily wagging tail. We both began a new chapter in our lives together and, for the next eleven years, that tiny little thing watched over me.
And, oh how she took care of me! Sara was not only lovable, but also great physical therapy. She got me out of bed every day and insisted on taking me for a walk. On those days when I was exhausted, and just didn’t want to move – those days I could not push myself any further, she happily demanded that I do so anyway.
Because we both limp, neither of us could outrun the other – and I did so much better because of that little thing who took such good care of her human. I had my little dumpster dogie to help me focus and move ahead, one step at a time.
And now she is gone. Blindness, weakening of her old injuries because of advancing age, it was time to say goodbye. This was the toughest goodbye of my life but it was time and I could not bear to see her suffer any longer. I will always have fond memories and miss our daily walks. I will miss her dearly. As I said in the beginning, sometimes those who help people the most aren’t people. Sara isn’t a person – she is an angel.
Rest in peace, my furry friend!