Sugar was yet another tiny ‘stray’ who wound up at a shelter very old, blind and mostly deaf. The shelter turned to Old Dog Haven and we were able to match Sugar with a wonderful permanent foster home where she would receive the best vet care and love for the rest of her life.
From Sugar’s ‘Mom’:
What do you say about a girl like Sugar? I looked up curmudgeon in the dictionary to see if that could help. It said “An old person who is often in a bad mood” Well that wasn’t Sugar. She was old but she really wasn’t in a bad mood or cranky. She seemed to just want to be left alone. Or she just wanted to do what she wanted to do. She loved to walk around and smell the floor. We had her in an enclosure, it was big and right in the living room but it was an enclosure and Sugar didn’t like it. Sugar liked to squat and pee when she felt like it so if we weren’t right there with her she had her “pee when you want” space. We solved that problem with diapers so she could roam around and pee.
Sugar let you know when she didn’t like something. Man oh Man did she let you know. She would start out with a grunt and end up with a howling wail, just in case you didn’t figure it out the first time. She was blind, and probably deaf. She would launch herself off any height and didn’t even have to be frustrated to do so. We warned the Doctor that someone had to keep a hold of her on the table or she would launch herself right off of it. We kept her safe from steps with gates..
She didn’t like to go out of the house, in the car, or to the Doctor. She would wind up her displeasure in the car on the way and she would fill the office with her unhappy wailing most of the time we were there. We finally figured out how to calm her by letting her walk around on a leash. That’s all she asked for, to not be confined, to be on her own four feet and to walk around as she pleased.
I worked on her. When I carried her in and out through the day I would hold her for as long as she would let me. Sometimes it was a minute or two and then her little head would pop up, she would seem to look around and say, “Hey, What the Heck, LET ME DOWN!” There were some good times, some sweet and oh so tender times when she would lean in against me and just let me hold her and pet her and tell her I cared. That’s when she would give big sighs of relief and seemed to know it wasn’t her against the world.
How in the world does one get so attached to a creature that seems to have no redeeming qualities or endearing personality traits? That is what is so hard to describe about Sugar. We all cared about her. My husband could get her up on the couch sometimes and tuck her under his arm and she must have felt safe if not content because she would stay with him and the other dogs for awhile. My son would sit with her on the floor and give her any attention she would allow. I discovered ways to interact as well. Sitting on the floor, rubbing the top of her back and catching her while she was sleeping were possibilities. When she wasn’t quite awake she would let me hold her for 15 – 20, sometimes 30 minutes.
We just admired the old girl’s grit. She could do it herself, she could be by herself. She didn’t need anything or anybody and if she was unhappy she was certainly going to let you know. The girl had no filters. But you knew there was a gentle soul underneath it all. We would talk about how nice it would be to let her walk around the yard in the summer. On some of the nice days we did take her out in the yard.
She loved to eat. At night, at just about everyone’s bedtime she would start pacing around a little and grumbling. She had plenty to eat during the day and it took us awhile to pinpoint what she was so unhappy about. We would take her out. We would make sure her heated fleece hadn’t turned off. But, what she wanted was more food! So, we would put just a little snack size amount of kibble in her bowl, she would eat it, quiet down and settle in for the night.
Sugar had a stroke. We were right there, putting on a diaper and getting her ready because we were going to be gone for a bit. With Sugar that meant putting on a diaper so she could walk around and turning on the TV. My husband thought she liked Perry Mason.
All at once she couldn’t stand up; one half of her didn’t work anymore. It was heartbreaking. We immediately took her to the Doctor. She was released from that body that confined what we believe was a sassy, feisty and independent girl. We saw her at peace and I gave her a send off kiss. We loved her.