SANDY'S STORY

Sandy joined our family as a very young puppy in
February 1987.  Shelly was coming home from a
friend's house one afternoon and noticed 2 young
boys harassing a small puppy they had with them.  
She decided to intervene on the puppy's behalf and
asked them what they were doing to that puppy.  
They didn't want the puppy anymore and gave it to
Shelly.

She brought her home immediately and the first
thing I noticed was that the puppy had a huge bulge
on its stomach.  We took it to the vet that night
and were told that it was an umbilical hernia that
had to be repaired very soon.  So here was Sandy,
only a few weeks old, being scheduled for next-day
surgery.

She came through the surgery very well and came
home to start her life with us.  She was about 5
weeks old at the time.  My mother had lost her
18-year-old poodle, Princess, to a stroke a few
months earlier.  Since Mom lived by herself, we
decided to give Sandy to her the following weekend
to help fill the void that Princess left.

Well, it never happened.  By the end of the week,
Sandy had managed to cement herself to our hearts
and there was nothing left to do but keep her with
us.  She became great friends with Samantha, and
Samantha's mothering instincts kicked in.  The two
were inseparable.

Sandy seemed to be some type of
Chihuahua-Terrier mix.  She was very tiny when we
got her and blossomed to about 15 pounds of pure
joy.  The ordinary tennis ball was her favorite toy.  
And, it had to be a yellow tennis ball.  A color
other than yellow didn't interest her.  She would
walk around with that tennis ball in her mouth day
and night.  If she saw someone sitting down to
relax, she would stick that wet tennis ball right on
their lap and stand there and bark until they threw
it in self-defense.  Many times I would find myself
hiding the ball just to have a little peace and quiet.

Our Doxie, Ginger, came into the family in the fall
of 1988.  Sandy immediately pulled her into the
fold and Samantha, Sandy, and Ginger became a
threesome.  When Samantha went to the Bridge in
early 1989, Sabrina joined the family.  All of a
sudden Sandy found herself to be the oldest of the
three, a mere 2 years old.  But now she had 2
puppies (Ginger and Sabrina) to teach the rules of
the "doggie world" to.  Those three young dogs
grew up together and bonded very closely with one
another.

Ginger gave birth to 4 puppies in January of
1990.  Sandy jumped right in and became a
substitute mother to the pups.  She wanted to be
close to Ginger so that meant being close to the new
pups too.  It was a little funny to see both Ginger
and Sandy in the crate with the little ones.  
Sometimes we would have to remind ourselves who
the mother really was.  Ginger was used to sharing
everything with Sandy, so she didn't protest at all
when Sandy continued to sleep in the crate with all
of them.

We made the move to Florida in 1992.  One of the
first things added to the new house was an
in-ground swimming pool.  The dogs pretty much
stayed away from the pool because they had a little
plastic kiddie pool on the deck that they used.  One
day Sandy's tennis ball (yes the yellow one) rolled
into the big pool.  She stood there barking at it for
a minute or two and then jumped into the pool after
it.  After this, there was no keeping her out of the
pool.  She became a great swimmer and diver as
well.  The funniest thing to watch was when she
couldn't find anyone to throw the ball for her.  She
would walk up to the pool and drop the ball in
herself.  Then she would run to the other side and
dive in after it.  She continued to enjoy the pool
until the age of 15.  Then we made it off limits
because she started reaching a point when she
would tire easily.

In 1995 Sandy had a number of skin tumors
develop.  She was in and out of the hospital a few
times to have the tumors removed only to have them
grow back in a different place.  All of them were
benign.  In 1996 she developed breast cancer.  This
was malignant but it was all safely removed and
never gave her another problem.

Old age started catching up with Sandy in late
2002.  She would wander out into the backyard
and roam aimlessly because she forgot how to come
back.  Many times we would find her just staring at
a wall because she couldn't think about how to turn
around and walk away from it.  She still wanted to
chase her tennis ball, but when she caught up with
it, she wasn't sure what to do with it.  It was so sad
to watch her getting old.  For the time being her
health remained good except for the forgetfulness
and the likelihood that she was beginning to lose
her hearing.

A month or so after her 16th birthday, her health
started to deteriorate.  She lost her appetite and
rapidly started losing weight.  Blood tests revealed
that she was going into kidney failure.  All we could
do was make her as comfortable as possible for as
long as possible.

Mom died on April 6, 2003.  We took her home to
Michigan for burial next to my grandparents.  We
made arrangements with my vet to keep the dogs
for us and to look after Sandy.  On April 11 just
before leaving for the funeral, the telephone call
came from the vet.  Sandy had taken a turn for the
worse and couldn't even stand up.  Sadly I had to
give permission for him to help her get started for
Rainbow Bridge.  When we got home from Michigan
we had another funeral to attend -- Sandy's.  Her
final resting place is in our backyard along with
her tennis ball -- a place where she spent a lot of
time chasing that ball.  I bet she is one of the best
catchers at Rainbow Bridge.
Waiting

I got to the gate of Heaven today
After we said goodbye
I began to miss you terribly,
Because I heard you cry.

Suddenly there was an angel,
And she asked me to enter Heaven's gate.
I asked her if I could stay outside
And wait for someone who would be late.

I wouldn't make much noise you see,
I wouldn't bark or howl.
I'll only wait here patiently,
And play with my tennis ball.

The angel said I could stay right here
And wait for you to come.
Because Heaven just wouldn't be Heaven
If I went in alone.

So I'll wait right here, you take your time,
But keep me in your heart.
Because Heaven just wouldn't be Heaven
Without you to warm my heart.

         Author Unknown
SANDY AT 8 WEEKS OLD
SANDY AND SAMANTHA  
SANDY AT 3 MONTHS OLD
SANDY AND YOUNG GINGER
FUN IN THE SNOW  
TUG OF WAR WITH CHEW BONE  
SANDY HELPING WITH
GINGER'S PUPPIES
SANDY AND SABRINA  
TIME TO GO TO BED  
SANDY AT AGE 15  
SANDY AND GINGER
SANDY AT AGE 16 -- THIS WAS
ONE OF THE LAST PICTURES
TAKEN OF SANDY
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