Sabrina came into our lives and wrapped herself around our hearts in March of 1989, about a month after Samantha’s death. Our other two dogs (Sandy–2 years old and Ginger–9 months old) eagerly accepted her into the family.
Sabrina came from a Doberman breeder in Michigan. There were three pups left from a large litter. I was drawn to Sabrina because of her red and tan color. I was far from being over the loss of Samantha (I don’t believe you can ever really get over losing a pet — you just hold the memories close in your heart), but having a shiny black Doberman would be a constant reminder of her. I also didn’t want Sabrina constantly being compared to her predecessor. Her color helped everyone in the family realize that she was an individual with a personality all her own, and not a clone of Samantha.
Sabrina definitely had a personality of her own. Samantha was a fireball and very protective of her family. No one except family could enter the house when Samantha was on guard. Sabrina, on the other hand, loved everyone. She would bark at first, but when told everything was OK, she would immediately snuggle up and expect the guests to give her ear rubs. She was quite a character with a heart of gold.
Our Dachshund, Ginger, gave birth to a litter of puppies in January 1990. Sabrina and Sandy both decided they wanted to be the “big sisters” to the little wiener dogs. I think they spent as much time in the crate with the newborns as Ginger did. In this respect Sabrina possessed many of the same traits as Samantha and her parents, Bonnie and Satan. They were all very fond of little animals and never showed aggression toward them.
In March of 1993 we moved from Michigan to Florida. A large Ryder truck was rented to carry the furniture and I drove behind with the smaller dogs. Sabrina was very excited about traveling and even more excited because she got to ride in the big truck in the passenger seat all the way to Florida. She gave us the impression that riding in the truck and being so high above everything else really made her feel special. And she was very special to us.
Sabrina adapted quickly to her new home in the country. There were a lot of new sounds to get used to. In Michigan we lived very close to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport and also near train tracks so there were always planes landing and trains going by. In Florida we live on 2 acres of land that has a chain link fence around it. Sabrina took such joy in being able to run unleashed across the property. Every morning she would listen to the cows and roosters in the neighborhood and look at us as if to ask “what are those sounds all about?”
In the spring of 1995 Sabrina lost her appetite and would only eat every few days. Other than that, she appeared quite normal. The vet checked her for a number of different things, but nothing appeared out of the ordinary medically speaking. Even though she acted normal, she started to lose excessive weight. At that point I became really worried and frightened of the outcome of her symptoms. The vet made the decision that exploratory surgery should be done.
I dropped her off at the vet’s office on my way to work. In the middle of the surgery I received a phone call. Sabrina had stomach and liver cancer. Most of her liver and part of her stomach had already been destroyed. He told me that she had probably been in a lot of pain but just never let us know how much pain she was in. Was her love for us really that strong? This was our chance to return that love to her as much as it hurt us. I had to tell the vet to release her from that pain and let her go to sleep without even waking up after the surgery.
God had given me two very special Dobermans, Samantha and Sabrina. They both taught me that I could still open my heart to many dogs and provide them with all the love I could give. The part of me that I thought had died with my first Ginger was finally fully alive again. Part of that kind of love is returning a beloved pet to God when their job on earth is complete.
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