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.
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 1993. 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.
CLICK BELOW FOR GYPSY’S