The Miracle in a Recycled Heart
Sajo was very fragile, and unable to climb the stairs to where the bedrooms were in the house. The very first night, I put a soft cushion on the floor, and led her to it. She gave a glorious flourish with her tail, and gratefully folded her tired body onto the soft bed,the light in her almond shaped eyes saying that she was definitely home. During the night, I went to check on her ,and found my son, Brock, curled up on the bed with her, his head resting on her flank. She lifted her own head as if to say, “I’ll watch over him …he is my baby, too.” I took a blanket, and placed it over Brock. Sitting down ,I stroked the old girl’s head, and vowed to share my boys with her, as I knew she would take special care of them.
Sajo did take exceptional care of the boys. She plodded slowly along with us on walks, keeping up with the stroller, and trying not to knock my son, James, off his little bike. She always situated herself between the boys, being sure not to favor one over the other. She became their cushion when they flopped on the floor to watch TV. Inevitably, she would be laying on her side with one or both boys tucked in with their head on her body watching a show. She followed them to the sandbox, and would lay patiently by them as they played. The boys were never out of my sight or her’s. It was like having a second mother to watch over my boys!
We would walk to the lake and throw stones and sticks in the water. Sajo would trot along behind, and as the boys tossed items in the water, she would try and retrieve them. Brock would laugh; James would splash and play. When we went swimming, Sajo would swim in the water with us. In the water, free of the pressure of gravity, she was poetry. She thrived while with us. The love she gave was more than equal to the love she received. Very quickly she became an intricate part of the household. When the boys came through the door, Sajo was always a step or two behind.
It was a night in August that first summer that Sajo proved her weight in gold in our hearts forever.
We had just finished our supper, and James asked if he could go out to play in the yard, while I did the dishes. He slipped out the door as I had my head turned; so did Sajo and my younger son, Brock. My husband went out to the yard a few minutes later, and called to me in the house: “Where is Brock?”
My heart sank. I frantically searched the house. He wasn’t there. James was in the sandbox. My husband, Doug, was standing right near him, asking him if he had seen his brother come outside. We hit the panic stations. We had a small woods behind the house; he could have wandered in there. We lived a short distance from the lake; he could have wandered there. We called his name in panic. We split in to two search parties. Doug took James and the car, and headed down the street, slowly scanning backyards, and calling for Brock. I started into the woods. I made it to the street behind us, and he wasn’t there. My mind told me, my heart told me he had gone to the LAKE. Where on the shoreline could he have gone?
We started as close as we could to the house…somewhere we had taken him, a neighbor’s cottage on the water, where we had gone as a family to swim. My heart was racing. Doug, James, and I rounded the side of the house, and to our great relief, there was, Sajo, her body placed between Brock and the water. He was pitching stones, and she was watching them hit the water. She kept herself between him and the water. Brock was laughing, and she was guarding him in the protective way a mother protects her young from going in to the dangerous water. After scooping my baby into my arms and reassuring myself he was alright, I bent down and wrapped my arms around Sajo’s beautiful neck, and buried my tear streaked face in that beautiful golden fur.
After tucking our little wanderer into his bed, safe and sound, both my husband and I settled down to attend to thanking our wonderful Golden Angel. That act of selfless devotion to a child she had only been with for a few months solidified Sajo’s place in our pack. It was her devotion that made us love the breed, and why we became involved with Golden Rescue. That night was the first of many that I slept beside my sweet Sajo!
Next: Part Three ~ Living with an old dog, loving a recycled heart.