September 21, 2018

The Walks Are Different Without Sadie

For those that don't know, Sadie died early last Saturday morning a little before 9am. I'll not go into the details except to say that her Friday was a normal one with two walks and some sprinting to catch me and Stella up ahead to finish her second walk. Nothing was showing us that Saturday morning would be anything different. She woke up sick barely able to walk and eventually laid down about 30' in the field next to the return path we take.

We did make it to the vet as she was going into shock and by the time we arrived 12 miles away, she was basically gone. Something internal, no signs of pain or discomfort, did not yelp or moan while I carried her to the car. It was painless and very quick. Needless to say our days are much different this week ... it's been hard to believe.

As the pack of hounds change, just as in the past, the ones left change their routines. Heidi decided that after breakfast this week she would not sleep on the couch like she has done for years but on two of the blankets I brought out about a month ago. This is the spot that Sadie claimed even when Winston was around. She has also spent a lot of time sleeping on the dog bed in the bedroom that I bought for her the day I picked her up from GABR in June 2011. Sadie claimed the dog bed as hers the next day and slept on the past 7 years.

So that morning after would be the first walk without Sadie. I cannot describe how different it was. A few weeks ago when we had high winds and at least 24 hours of solid rain ... the 7 acre field was cleared of any weeds, wild flowers, anything dry ... leaving only green grass or weeds that were strong enough to withstand the high winds and rain that was cutting through the sky horizontal. There was not a flower of any kind anywhere after that storm.

Think what you will, but it was quite eye opening to start our walk the day after Sadie had passed with two white flowers near our return path and not 3' feet away from where she last lay. You can barely see them just right of center. It shocked me enough, for me to go back inside and grab the camera for the walk ... something I had not done in most weeks since our last post.

Another blogger pointed out this past summer that these are poisonous but the hounds never paid attention to them. As Stella and I did our normal half mile walk, barely seeing our worn path, I did not see any flowers of any kind in the 7 acres that my eyes could see, besides these two.

When I returned from the vet last Saturday, the 15th, without Sadie of course Heidi and Stella were curious where she was. They trotted outside straight to the back of the car as I opened it. Stella could smell from where she was standing but I lifted Heidi up into the back so she could smell the spot where Sadie had laid on the way to the vet. Sadie never moved, never raised her head after I put her in the car. I knew when I carried her almost 80' to the car from the field that she was gone. No resistance, no sounds of any kind, barely breathing.

That afternoon Stella would stand in the carport with her nose raised sniffing the air. Was she trying to pick up Sadie's scent? She had already looked in the bedroom and the computer room where the daily kibble is fed but she could never find her. Heidi would do the same outside and she rarely if ever sniffs the air with her nose raised.

It took days before Stella walked out into the backyard on her own. She would the two times per day we did our walks but those were the only times and I was with her. I spent this week painting the house, finishing on Tuesday and then spreading 20 bags of new mulch. Every day, even in the mid to high 90's Stella stay outside with me and never wandered into the field nor did she sneak off to the neighbors backyard. She would sleep in the shade or in the grass when I was painting the north side. If I put her in the house where the AC was running, she would open the door on her own and later join me outside.

When I was spreading the mulch in front she laid down at the edge of the carport floor and house watching every move I made. She never wandered off and she never went into the yard.

Thursday afternoon she went to the door three different times to be let outside. I let her out and watched her from inside. She did nothing but stand at the edge of the carport raising her nose and sniffing the air. Not moving, she almost looked confused as she stared, as her nose picked up nothing. Finally she would turn and slowly walk back to the door to be let inside.

As regular blog readers know, Stella is not the tracker that Sadie was. She is not that interested in tracking scent. She has rarely veered off our worn path, has not found any deer scat to eat and walks at the same slow pace that makes her famous ... at times dragging her paws as she walks one step at a time.

43 days ago I bought a bottle of Cosequin, #1 Vet Recommended, with hopes of helping her sore hips and seeing her run in the field again. She might trot on occasion but she has not ran like she use to at full speed. It has been so long since her last run that I can't remember when the last time was. Not quite at 30 days she took off running and acted as if it surprised her as she stopped. She hopped with excitement later. That has been the only time she has ran any distance.

Last week, it is now almost ironic, that as she stepped into he backyard finishing the morning walk, she trotted jumping into Sadie wanting to play and wrestle like the old days. They played for just a few minutes and were finished by the time I ran to the house to grab the camera. She did not do that again.

It isn't that Sadie was a loud obnoxious hound but it has been quieter than usual this week. I am no longer reminded that it is time to stop what I am doing and go for a walk. When I open the door in the morning to let the hounds inside to eat their breakfast, I don't have a large heavy bloodhound stepping on my feet, hopping up and down with excitement just for another meal. Neither Heidi or Stella will sit and stare at me until they get their way whether it be food or a walk. Playing fetch inside is no longer an option.

Heidi and Stella might stand and stare maybe looking for Sadie or just enjoying the fresh air of September but one thing they still do every morning after they come back inside for breakfast kibble ... Stella howls with excitement sounding like a hound dog and Heidi barks telling me it's time to eat.

It has been different to see only one hound in front of me on the walk. I have caught myself a few times turning around to see if Sadie is coming then realizing she will not be running full speed to catch us. As long as I kept busy painting the house it was better mentally. That job was completed on Tuesday.

I remember all the good times we had most of the time. It's still hard to see that big leather chair empty every night since last Saturday. Each of my hounds have their own folder of photos on my computer. Apple Photos tells me there are 13,751 of them in Sadie's folder. Consequently it has taken some time moving some of the best ones to a different folder. I am still not finished and at times the enjoyment seeing her run full speed chasing deer or sparrows turns to sadness ... where I have to close the photos program.

I do remember to be thankful that she did not have any pain and it was quick for her. We talked while she lay on the kitchen floor, and in the field just like we did a lot of times during during the day or night the past 10 years. The vet explained everything in detail as he examined her and what was happening those last minutes. I had seen a very similar situation with the bloodhound before her named Bertha in July 2008. From that experience I knew what was happening as much as I didn't want it to happen. Yes, I bought Sadie a month later to help Winston. I'll not be doing that this time.

I am not sure of the reason but it was great to see Stella break into a run that was a little faster than a trot. I may not see results of the Cosequin for 6 weeks but I am willing to wait longer if it means she can run again.

I have thought of writing a Page for Sadie like I did for Winston in 2016. I did that more for a special boy that followed and read about Winston's every move back then. I started by pulling out my favorite photos of Sadie from her file but had to stop in March 2016 with 121 photos. It wasn't that I had too many but sadness took over from looking at all of those photos, starting in 2010. It was too soon to write anything. I will take a look at photos from March 2016 up to September 2018 and pull out more favorites ... but I don't know if I will end up writing a Page for her.

Overall things are good, taking it one day at a time. She is still in all my thoughts. It is still hard to believe she is gone with no warning signs until that early Saturday morning on the 15th.

The walks are definitely different. Stella never 'requests' a walk. In fact most of the time when I change into boots for the morning walk or grab my ball cap for the the afternoon walk ... Stella is sound to sleep. I am not sure she would ever go on a walk if I didn't ask her or hold my ball cap to her nose to let her know we are walking.

I don't take the camera with me much anymore on the walks. For some strange reason Stella seems to walk much better off leash without me taking photos. What I mean is, she wanders away less, she comes when I call her, she stays on the path more. As I found in this walk, there is also not a lot to take photos of ... the pace is slower than slow. It's almost as if she looks like she is walking because she has to and not because she really wants to.

She always stops about here to look next door. There is no one ever outside for her to see. Is she looking for that large field cat that has seemed to have disappeared this summer? Or does she smell some food being cooked? After a minute or two she will turn and slowly walk into the yard.

It's hard to read a bloodhound's thoughts. Sometimes you cannot tell if they are feeling bad or are okay. For the time being she is sticking close to me. She does not walk to the mailbox with me (not allowed) but will sit outside and watch my every step to and from the mailbox. Like I said, she doesn't walk around the yard yet ... she has not gone out into the field to explore by herself yet... she spent hours with me outside this past week and never left the carport.

As far as this blog goes ... I don't know if I will continue after this post.

The past month I have been busier than busy doing the tasks I had listed on the 'to do' list that filled a page of paper, double spaced. Today is the last day of 90° weather and I have only one outdoor project left. We did have some cooler weather since my last blog post and it was just one of the reasons I was away.

With the rest of the projects being inside I can do them anytime but I am wanting to get them finished as soon as possible. That might include painting every room in the house. It does included clearing out my closets again and making trips to the recycling center. I have taken clothes recently to the new Goodwill Store that opened about 12 miles away.

Here are a few photos of Sadie taken since the last blog post in August and a few from years past.

Both of those were taken in the last two weeks.

Notice the sparrow following her.

She loved chasing sparrows and if I didn't know better, they acted as if they were playing with Sadie.

She liked lagging behind and then sprinting to catch Stella and I.

Not sure how old, maybe 2 years old ... just a puppy with Winston 'photo bombing'.

She use to like to chew sticks and spit them out one inch at a time.

She was always wanting to do something.

She took care of Winston when he had a bad back and his last few weeks.

She would never bark but squirrels or birds tormented her by walking or sitting on top of 'her' fence.

Getting Stella was the best thing I could have done for Sadie. She had someone to run with, play with that was her size and just as strong. They were inseparable since Stella's arrived in August 2015.

Right now things are tough in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.

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