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Dear Sadie

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Dear Sadie,

You were so little and weak and cold. I held you, and you whimpered but you were happy to be in my arms. You were the smallest of your litter, and while the other puppies pushed their way past you to nurse, you were isolated and without your mother’s warmth. When we found you, you tried to tottle back to your exhausted mother, but you were so young and weak and you collapsed onto the cold earth.

We took you home that night because you needed us. We fed you with a bottle and surrounded you in blankets and we woke up in the middle of the night to your whimpers and I fed you and held you in my arms.

You grew rapidly and soon you became strong, and you got into all sorts of mischief. I came home to find my shoes shredded and drool covered. But I loved you anyway.

When you were a puppy you were so happy and alive and carefree. You cheered me up every day with your silliness. I loved you so much. Those were the days, huh, Sadie girl?

Dear Sadie,

Your scruffy fur became sleek and silky as you became an adult. We went to the park every evening to watch the sun set. You loved to lay with your head in my lap. We would sit together, remember, Sadie?

You became my protector. You would check on me while I took showers. You always had to make sure I was alright. You were so good to me, Sadie. You were a good dog.

Then Greg arrived. He came over for dinner, sneaking you some scraps of food and he scratched you behind your ears. He really loved you, Sadie.

I married him years later and he moved in. And we were a family- all three of us.
Dear Sadie,

Our life was perfect when Rob was born. You weren’t sure about him at first. You didn’t like all the attention he was getting.

But when he learned to crawl you two were pals. He threw toys and you retrieved them. And that made him laugh.

He came on our walks with us, and you walked at the stroller’s side like a guard. You were there for him in ways I couldn’t be. You were his best friend. Did you know that, Sadie?

Dear Sadie,

When Rob was five he started school. He cried on the first day. I assured him he would love school. But you know what he said, Sadie? He didn’t want to leave you. But when the bus came he ran out the door with his Thomas the Tank Engine backpack. He didn’t get on the bus at first. He looked back and saw you looking out the window. He waved to you. You wagged your tail to tell him he could do this.

You were nearing seven years old then. You weren’t as playful as you used to be, but you played with Rob for hours after school.

Dear Sadie,

We were in the car that day, going camping in the woods. It was getting colder outside. Your paws and head were on Rob’s lap in the backseat. He was almost six.

It was getting colder as we drove. Ice covered the street in areas. We were making a turn. And all I can remember was the fast downhill sliding sensation that made my heart freeze and Rob was screaming and I remember screaming “Oh My God!” and it happened so quickly. We fell off the side of the road, and into a ravine.

The icy cold water was filling our car all too quickly. We were all panicked. There was nothing we could do.

You dove through the window, and glass shattered into the freezing water. You swam downstream to where I could not see you any longer. I knew we were going to die. You were probably safe somewhere, while we were dying.

I was screaming for Rob to try and get through the window. But with his thick winter coat, he couldn’t fit. He was crying. We all were.

The water was up to our necks by now. It was rushing in a lot faster now that the window was broken.

And then, like some miracle, help arrived. And the rest was a blur.

We were in the hospital. We were all okay. One of the firefighters came into our room. He was overwhelmed. But what he said- what he told us next, Sadie, it stopped my heart. “You wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for that dog” He said. “She came barking at someone’s door, and someone followed her to find the car in the ravine. He called 911 and then we showed up.” He wiped his eye. “You don’t know how lucky you are.”

We were that close to dying. We would have, if it weren’t for you, Sadie.

Later, the man who followed you came into the hospital room. He looked sad, and it hit me that there was some kind of bad news.

“Your dog saved your life.” He said. “But… she’s gone now. It was the hypothermia from the freezing water. I’m so sorry.”

The next hours were spent crying together. I was sobbing, and Rob could not get over losing his best friend in the world.

Dear Sadie,

You saved our lives. I will remember you forever, and maybe we’ll meet again sometime. Rob is eight now, and he has a little sister. Her name is Sadie.

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