I have always considered myself a cat person. Growing up I only have vague memories of our family dog when I was young but could name all 8 of the various cats we had as well as exactly what they were like and which ones I liked the most. It didn’t take long of living outside of my parents house to quickly add a kitten to the place I rented with my best friend. And shortly after that adding another. It wasn’t until years later, after getting married, moving around and finally settling back into Bozeman that I even considered getting a dog. Knowing it was something my husband wanted very much. He never had so much as a gold fish as a child. I still wasn’t convinced I did, but knew how happy it would make him. I also knew that if I ever had a dog it would have to be a golden retriever, which was the one dog I always thought the cutest thanks to their numerous appearances in romantic comedies, my favorite genre of that time. The moment I picked our golden out, tied a bow around her neck and brought her into our home as a birthday surprise I became a dog person.
Over the next twelve years, Sadi became a part of our family. At first, I wasn’t quite sure what we had gotten our selves into, the early puppy years of getting up in the middle of the night, watching her chew down a brand new tree in the backyard and dig herself out of our fence a couple of times. Getting frustrated but then softening immediately when she looked at you with her big brown eyes. Taking her on her first hikes up the M and having to carry her part way up because her short little legs couldn’t quite make the climb. Later on, trying to keep up with her on a trail as she ran off ahead. Bringing home our first baby, unsure of how Sadi would react. We should have known it would only be with love as that is all she was ever capable of. Those early days of being home alone with a newborn she became the one I talked to throughout the day, the one who came by my side when I was losing it because the baby wouldn’t stop crying. It was Sadi who made the baby giggle for the first time by licking her hands. When the second baby came home, we were greeted at the door with her wagging tail, Sadi eager to meet the completion of our family.
This dog was love and unwavering patience with two young girls. They could climb on her, hug her so tight, dress her up in their doll clothes, put ribbons in her fur. The week before we lost her they had her hooked up to an imaginary Santa sleigh and she was the reindeer. There were times I would look into her eyes and see the annoyance, but also the happiness. She was their protector, taking on the habit of barking if strangers walked past the house and keeping a close eye wherever they were. Spending her nights half in one room and half in the other. She never choose favorites, only made each of us feel like we were the one. To be loved by her was to be in the presence of unconditional adoration.
You never imagine you won’t have them in your life. Of course you see the slow down. I remember when bringing her along on my morning runs began to get too difficult and simply letting that go. As the girls became stronger hikers, she became weaker. Rather than running ahead on the trail to peaks of mountains, we began to settle for easier ones with her and reluctantly left her home for big ones. The water was the one place she never slowed down. Always eager to swim after a stick or ball, but never ever bringing it back to you. Sooner than any of us wanted, the walks became just a stroll around the block and then sadly realizing even that was too much.
To say goodbye to Sadi was one of the greatest heartbreaks in all our lives. While grateful for the full beautiful life she had with us, I still can’t fully process that she is gone. The emptiness that fills our home, the quiet that greets you when you walk in the door. Trying to comfort my children as they cope with this loss, while feeling my own heart breaking. Seeing my husband lose his first pet, his best friend. Finding comfort in his words when he says we can all learn from Sadi. She lived her life full of happiness with just the simplest things...being around people she loved. She was the kindest, gentlest soul and if we could all just be a little more like her, the world would be a better place.
I still consider myself a cat person, in fact the cat mentioned above still sleeps next to me each night...19 years later. However, because of Sadi I am also completely a dog person. Or perhaps it was just her. She will be forever missed and always remembered in our hearts.
Angela Jamison is a native Montanan and she grew up in beautiful Bozeman. I'm the mother of two girls and write a blog about our life here and taking in the simple pleasures of family and food.