My sweet Sasha has flown away. She was 12 years old. She drifted away peacefully in her dreams during a late afternoon nap. One moment she slept peacefully on her bed and in a moment she was gone.
Several years ago, I came across a little female rottweiler at the local animal control center in our city. I was actually there to look at a different dog that was involved in an incident that involved the police department the night before.
Officers had come across the biggest Rottweiler I had ever laid eyes on. The dog was running loose around the neighborhood attached to a log chain. Residents who saw the dog running down the street were alarmed and called the police. I can’t say that I blame them the dog, nicknamed Bruno, was the Great Dane of Rottweilers.
I was curious about him so I went to check him out. I was lead out to the pen adjacent to the building, along with Bruno, to see if we might be a fit for adoption. Bruno was not interested in me or the girl from Animal Control. He sniffed around the pen keeping one eye on us and one eye on the ground as he made his way around. The hair was standing up on his back and he was growling at us. We couldn’t get him to come back to us to go back into the building and we had to utilize a catch pole. It wasn’t good. He ended up being adoptable.
As I was leaving I was informed that there was a female rottie, named Sasha, who was currently being held as part of a possible hoarding situation. Sasha was found running loose with her brother and when a woman came in to claim her she also tried to claim several of the other dogs that came in at the same time.
After about a month and a half of waiting for the legalities to clear up, I adopted Sasha and brought her home. I also had another Rottweiler named Jabari, who was also a rescue. He and Sasha ended up being like peas and carrots. Perfect fit and no problems there.
Unfortunately, Sasha and my now ex husband did not end up being like peas and carrots. Sasha was pregnant and nobody knew. She was so emaciated that you couldn’t tell. We woke one morning to the cries of puppies and she was still delivering. The ex lost his mind.
He seemed to settle down and accept the idea that Sasha and the pups could stay downstairs and that I would handle the care and any mess and that as soon as the puppies were old enough that we would place an ad. He was okay with that at the time.
Or so I thought.
For the longest time, I have allowed people in my past to save face and I have done my best to beat around the bush or mask the actual events of what happened to Sasha. I believe in taking the high road and just allow people to reveal themselves in time. While that’s truly the best way to conduct business, I have stopped hiding the truth about Sasha.
My marriage at that point wasn’t great. My ex husband cheated on me several times with several people. We were “working on it”. We were in the middle of losing our house due to allowing ourselves to become victims to a predatory home loan. We were planning to allow the house to go into foreclosure and we were going to find a rental. There was a lot going on.
I never expected for him to load up Sasha and her puppies and take them back to Animal Control. Or at least that’s what he said he did. I later learned that Animal Control had no record of them coming back into the shelter. All I know is that I came home from work and Sasha was gone.
I didn’t bring it up. I asked him what the staff said to him when he came in with her and he said “That dog looks like Sasha and I said, yup it is and a litter of puppies,” that was followed up with a “I don’t give a fuck, I didn’t sign up for puppies,”
Over the next few months we moved out of the house and into another one in another town. Life went on because it has to. Eventually, everything continued to fall apart and there was really nothing I could do and I admit, I was tired of even trying. We split up and got a divorce.
I wasn’t able to find a place to stay that would allow Jabari at the time so he went to stay with a friend of mine. I think that helped my mind with the issue of Sasha also. I would have had two dogs to rehome instead of one.
Life changed a lot over the next five years. I found my footing, changed jobs and moved a couple of times into the house that I have now. Things settled down, for the most part. Like I said, life went on because it had to.
I still talked about Sasha. I still carried around the guilt that I had put her in that situation. She was a very sweet girl. Kind to everyone and loved my son who was very little at the time. You could see the love in her eyes. You could also see that she had lived a harder life and likely had a lot of experiences. Yet, she was still so very kind.
In July of 2013, I received a phone call from Animal Control in my city. I didn’t recognize the number so I let it go to voicemail. I listened to the message tells me that my dog Sasha had been recovered by the Humane Society in Phoenix, Arizona.
I called Animal Control and I explain the situation and the woman I spoke with remembered me. She tells me that they had no record of Sasha ever coming back into the shelter and asked me if I wanted to get in touch with the shelter in Arizona.
Sasha had a micro chip. Apparently, I also listed the phone number for Animal Control in addition to my own and they decided to call them first. My phone number, at the time, was still the same as it was five years before.
I contacted the Humane Society in Phoenix and explained to them what happened. They had a few choice words about the situation and then asked me what I would like to do. I was in awe of the situation and had no idea how I was going to get to Arizona to pick her up.
My wheels turned and I started scheming. When my mind stopped spinning, I recalled that my friend Amanda and her husband lived just outside of Phoenix. They were on their way home from a vacation in Colorado. They didn’t even have to think about it and agreed to go and pick her up from the shelter.
That was the easy part. The hard part was getting her back to Indiana. Actually, I take that back. The hard part was worrying about what the ex would say when he found out. He isn’t shy about voicing his often loud and unsolicited opinion about everything. There was a time when he thought he was still in control of my life.
I reached out to different groups on Facebook. I eventually made contact with a group of wonderful people associated with the Kindred Hearts Transportation Connection. I had been previously advised, by someone involved in a rescue group, that I shouldn’t tell anyone that the situation was the result of a domestic problem because “no one would want to touch it.”
I told the truth anyway. The woman that I spoke with was compassionate and annoyed at the situation and had the attitude and said “Fuck that guy,” and was happy to help me. Over the next couple of weeks 24 people grouped together to volunteer to get Sasha home to me.
After several weeks, Sasha’s journey ended in Lake Station, Indiana where Mike and I greeted the final volunteer driver, Staci Govia and Steve Garcia from ABC7 out of Chicago, who was interested in covering the whole story.
I had no idea that how big this story would end up being but it was huge. It went viral. I saw stories about us in several different languages all over the world. I was asked to do several phone interviews and was even asked to be on the Steve Harvey Show. I declined. Most thrilling was when someone from Diane Sawyer’s show had called me.
I was a nervous wreck for awhile. Being famous is hard. Especially when people start calling you at work to talk to you about it. It was an emotional time. I was over the moon that I was able to get Sasha back but it also ripped the scab off of an old wound.
I was angry and bewildered when it happened. I also wasn’t in the best position to oppose or do anything about it. I know he has since spun his own tale and version of events. It is what it is, I suppose.
Facing judgement from the commentary on the various social media and news media sites wasn’t always easy. We didn’t disclose the actual situation at the time the story went viral. People had a lot of questions. From how does a dog just come up missing and why wasn’t the dog in the house to why wasn’t the chip discovered before this?
Over the next few weeks, life went back to normal and time continued to march on. Sasha was once again a part of our little family. She was incredibly kind to my son and she was fiercely protective of us both.
Sasha was my constant companion and would follow me wherever I went from room to room in the house and wherever she could follow outside of the house. She was never very far away, if ever out of sight.
Sasha and I were kindred spirits in a way. She was one of my oldest friends .We led similar lives of abandonment and periods of great sadness. Sasha was an old soul. You could see it in her eyes when we would look at each other and seem to just understand and know what the other was thinking. Battered, bruised and weathered from the many storms we faced.
Sasha was buried in an undisclosed location where we hiked all of those years ago and occasionally since she returned home. A beautiful place, under a tree, that overlooks a sprawling meadow where people rarely travel. I chose this exact location on purpose. In the spring, I will plant crocus, daffodil and tulip bulbs on her grave site so that flowers will grow every year.
While her life certainly wasn’t always perfect, in the end, she passed with the love of a little boy and a woman who came to her rescue twice. She never went hungry, was cared for, had a big fluffy bed and was loved.
Life was good.
Life came full circle.
Keep your faith and never lose hope. Everything is in God’s timing.
This was the lesson taken from my experience with Sasha.
So long my sweet, Sasha. Our lives were better because you were in it.