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Memories of Sasha Joy
Misty's "Sasha" Joy (AKC) -- your beautiful name "Sasha" means "Protector of man," and you were my protector, in this case "woman." You were born in Oklahoma on New Years Day 1994 & made your way to Elgin IL where we found each other. It was a sunny spring day that March 30th when I brought you home to Aurora IL to live with me and Alice, a 1-1/2 year old kitty I rescued from a local shelter just one day before.

We three girls shared a wonderful life together for nearly 13 years, the first year in an apartment, then I bought a condo in August, 1995. I'd tell people "I had a mortgage because of my Sasha :-)" Working so far from home kept me away from you longer than I cared to be, so I looked for a place that was closer to work and buying was my best option since few apartments allowed large pets. It was the right decision, for we ended up with more living space (where the guest bedroom eventually became your own), a balcony to sit out and watch the birds, and a quiet community where you & I could go for long walks to enjoy the outdoors.

Within two years a park was built just down the street from where we lived. Soon you knew what "park" meant and if I mentioned it you'd get excited and eagerly look for your toy so we could go play. You enjoyed it so because you loved to run and fetch your big red Kong. That's one great enjoyment you had at the apartment, a large open field behind our unit to run in. There we met a neighbor that also had a big German Shepherd named "Thor." The two of you became inseparable and always looked forward to getting together to run, play and wrestle. Even though you were a puppy 1/3 his size, he let you bully him around; yet Thor was always so gentle with you, letting you have your way.

Baby Girl, You were my true companion, always there to make me smile & never let me feel lonely. You were so intelligent and quick to learn; you seemed to understand all I said. How I miss all those special things you did to make me smile and often laugh. No matter how bad a day I had, you could bring such joy to my heart and make me feel so blessed to have you in my life.

I have so many special memories of you... like how we shared breakfast most every morning. I'd prepare oatmeal with sliced banana and you always got the last big slice, then you'd sit next to me and shared my toast as I gave you the edges one piece at a time. I remember how you'd go off to your bedroom, lie in bed and just stare out the back window as if in deep thought. I'd often quietly sneak up to the doorway and watch how beautiful and peaceful you looked. I wish I knew what was going through your mind during those moments of "personal time," but then you'd spot me watching and suddenly the spell was broken. Another sweet memory was how often you'd sit & watch out the LR window, especially when I was outside caring for the birds -- you'd just watch me from above & I'd wave up to you. Baby, are you still watching over me?

A game you loved to play was "tag your it" where you'd run up to me or Alice, tap us with your nose or paw then run around the dining table, come back and repeat the tag over and over; all the time with a bright and smiley face. Your favorite though, was stealing my slippers just to get me out of bed in the mornings. I'd chase you around the house playing & begging you to give it back but you'd only prance around teasing me as I'd get close then run off again still chomping on slipper. Eventually you'd release after it was nice and wet from holding it in your mouth so long, but that was OK. How I'd love to feel that slobbery slipper once again. I think back of your talent in "giving paw." I'd make a game of it by asking for one paw then the other and switching back a forth; you were quick and would keep it up until I stopped.

How you loved your treats; along with regular chew treats you enjoyed healthier snacks as well. You would get celery, apple or orange pieces and your favorite -- Carrots! I couldn't go to the kitchen or open the fridge door without you being right there showing me where your carrot treat bag was (just in case mom forgot). I remember the day you even ate mom's dinner. One evening after work, I had just prepared a delicious salmon dinner with salad on the side. Not thinking, I left my plate on the kitchen counter for a brief moment -- you were tall enough so easily stood on your hind legs and gobbled down mom's salmon, but at least you left me the salad :-). For a brief moment I wasn't too happy, but then all I could do was laugh... Since you would often check in the kitchen sink to see if I left any goodies behind that you might enjoy, I should have known better than to leave plate within your reach.

My sweet girl, the memories you gave me are endless and I will treasure them forever. The pain and loneliness is unbearable each time I realize you're no longer here to greet me at the door when I get home from work, to walk with and enjoy the outdoors, to play with, hear your bark, to beg for carrot treats, steal my slippers, share my breakfast, or to just be around to give a great big hug to and I'd get some wet kisses in return. For almost 13 years my life revolved around you from the time I got up until I went to bed each night; now my home and my life is so empty without you.

Sasha, when your ailment became more evident that the nerve damage was advancing making it more difficult for you to get up or support yourself unassisted & sadness seemed to fill your once bright face, I knew that one day soon I would be faced with the most difficult decision of my life. I prayed that God would allow us to have more time together, 12-1/2 years just wasn't enough & I wasn't ready to let you go.

As 2006 came to an end I took more vacation time from work to spend long weekends with you and I cherished every moment we had together. Thankfully, you made it through the holidays Thanksgiving & Christmas. But you were moving slower, requiring more assistance up and down stairs, support while walking and when doing your business, and your left hind leg began to turn further inward; plus you were tripping and falling more often. God answered my prayers when you were still with me for your 13th birthday on Jan. 1st -- New Year's Day 2007.

Knowing our time was getting shorter, my last prayer: that on March 30th we would still be together to celebrate the 13th anniversary of the day you came into my life; but that prayer would not be answered. For on Thursday evening, 11 days after your 13th birthday you experienced an episode where you could not get up on your own. You were dragging & pulling yourself across the floor with your front paws desperately trying to get up. I could see in your face how nervous you were and didn't understand what was happening until I helped you stand up. From your efforts you had a slight accident. I cleaned you up & comforted you, telling you it was OK and not to worry. It was an agonizing night for me crying, watching over you and not being able to sleep.

I took that Friday off work. That morning I called our vet's office and explained what happened the previous night. Believing it might be the day I'd have to let you go, I made an appointment for 5:30pm that evening. I wanted to spend one last day with you -- to love, hold, comfort you and to say good-bye. After giving you anti-inflammatory meds that morning you seemed better by noon, alert and active. You even managed the stairs that day all by yourself. I saw this as a sign that it wasn't time yet to say good-bye. I consulted with Dr. Benz by phone that afternoon and she explained that it wasn't unusual to have temporary improvements, but Thursday's episode indicated your paralysis was advancing and you probably didn't have too many days left before it became permanent. She further said that I had to be comfortable with my decision & that I would know when "the time was right." Then about 4:30pm that afternoon you quickly went downhill again. When we returned home after a brief walk, your tail began dragging literally touching the ground from how much your hind end had dropped, and your bright eyes and face I briefly saw earlier that day quickly disappeared. I believed you were telling me you were ready & I had to let go.

Sasha, Over the last few years I had faced a few medical concerns with you. First when I was told of your high enzyme levels indicating liver failure. Then about two years ago your new vet, Dr. Benz, diagnosed you had a heart murmur. After that diagnosis I became so concerned about you suffering a heart attack while I was at work or away from home. I watched you more closely and took more precautions to keep you cool and from over-exerting yourself. I'd often watch as you slept and at times I'd wake you up thinking you had stopped breathing. Thankfully you had just been in a deep and peaceful sleep. You would look at me like "what's your problem, why did you wake me?" then lay your head back down and doze off again. But, neither of these concerns were what ended your life. It was a paralyzing disease called Degenerative Myelopathy that brought you to a condition where I was suddenly faced with having to make that most difficult decision; and I had to make it alone.

Sweetie, I could have decided to keep you with me for I would have been willing to assist you in your every need & be your legs, but that decision would have been for me not for you. Your eyes looked so sad and tired and you did not understand this dreadful disease that was taking over a part of your body. Though I had prayed for God to take you peacefully so I didn't have to make the decision to end your life, He left it up to me to release you. It was now time to set you free from your failing legs. Baby Girl, It was only out of love & compassion that I let you go, though I knew how much pain and emptiness I would suffer without you.

It was cold and rainy that Friday evening when I took you in. When that dreadful moment came at Dr. Benz's office I hope you felt my deep love as I lay next to you & held you up to the moment that you took your last breath and beyond, for I couldn't release your body even though you had slipped away from me and into a peaceful sleep. I'm glad I had the strength to remain with you until the end and know that your mom's eyes were the last ones you saw. I still struggle with the guilt; second guessing my decision, "was it too soon? Should I have given you more time?" Believing that you were tired & ready to leave this earth, is all I have to ease my guilt. Sweet Sasha, my heart is broken & my life is so empty without you; I will always love you my beloved baby girl. You are now at peace.

A beautiful poem for you precious girl:
"...A million times I needed you, A million times I cried.
If love alone could have saved you, you never would have died.
In life I loved you dearly, in death I love you still.
In my heart you hold a place, no one else can ever fill.
If tears could build a stairway and heartache make a lane.
I'd walk the path to heaven and bring you back again"... Author Unknown

01/24/07 -- It's Wednesday, I brought you home today to be with me and Alice once again. Your ashes will help give me some comfort by having part of you near. When I first set up your tribute page I selected the song "What a Wonderful World" because it has such a beautiful tune. I want this song to represent how much you brightened my world when you were here with me. I miss you so much; you're forever in my heart. Rest in peace my sweet beautiful "brown eyed" girl. Thank you for the many wonderful years and the beautiful memories.

02/02/07 -- Dear Sasha Girl, it's 3 weeks tonight that I was with you for the last time. I'm missing you so much. At work I have a picture of you on my computer with your big beautiful brown eyes watching me. At home your memories are all around: your pictures, toys, bed, crate, your winter boots - the red booties I got for you to go outside with on those frigid winter days so the ice wouldn't hurt your paws. Today, we entered into a bitter cold spell that will be with us for the next few days and I'm saddened to think that I'll never put those booties on your big paws again.

Alice has missed you a lot & cries constantly. Last weekend she led me to your bedroom then jumped into your bed and looked out the window. I believe she was trying to find you, not understanding why you haven't been home in so long; so heartbreaking.

02/14/07 -- Dear Sasha Happy Valentine's Day. After a snowstorm yesterday, the sun is shining today with deep blue sky as if a sign to tell me that all will be OK; but I don't know how with a broken heart that's still missing you. You would love to be outside playing in the deep snow drifts this morning. You always loved to jump and dive your nose into the new fallen snow, burying your head then surfacing with a snow coated face. How I miss watching you run & play.

03/30/07 -- Dear Sasha, It's our anniversary. 13 years ago today I became the proud mom of a beautiful 3 month old German Shepherd girl :-) Little did I know that you would soon capture my heart like no other. On that special day You, Alice and I became a family that shared a life together through many happy, sad and trying times. You saw me through what had been the lowest times of my life (until now): within 6 months, first the loss of my job, then separation from my sweetheart, and finally the loss of my sister. Through all this and so many other of life's disappointments you were the one I always had by me to hug and cry to when no one else was around to care or listen. You brought so much joy and purpose to my life and could always find a way to make me smile and often laugh. I'll never forget how blessed I was to have a sweet girl like you in my life.

04/06/07 -- Sasha, it's Friday, 5:30pm. 12 weeks ago today at this time we were down to our final moments together. Your memories remain all around for me to reflect on. The crate you've had since the day I brought you home still sits in the same kitchen corner. This was your private place where you went to be alone & also where you'd get your treats each morning before I left for work. I've not been able to take it down as it would leave a huge empty space in my home to match the emptiness in my heart.

04/27/07 - A bittersweet experience I had today. Driving home from work I saw a woman at our park walking her 8 yr old German Shepherd dog. I was compelled to pull over and meet them. I told this stranger all about you and began to cry, she was very compassionate. This precious boy lay on the grass waiting for us to finish talking when I asked if I could touch him. He initially barked at me, but when he realized I wasn't a threat came to me wagging his beautiful tail and gave me kisses. Sasha, for days I'd been longing to feel you again and I believe this furbaby came into my path that sad, cold and rainy Friday so that I could feel you through him. It was difficult, but at the same time he brought me some peace. Though the woman said she comes to our park once a week, I'd never seen her before and may never see her again, but she and her furbaby were there on a day that I needed some comfort.

05/26/07 - Sasha, It's my first birthday in 13 years without you. The day was nice starting with my special morning B-day call then breakfast with my brothers, and emails from friends; but baby girl you were in my thoughts all day long. I missed you being the first to have greeted me this morning with some wet birthday kisses. It's 20 weeks now without you and I miss you as much as ever; nothing in life will ever be the same again.

06/22/07 - Hello my Dear Sasha. I had to visit & tell you that early this morning I had my first dream with you since you've been gone. Though it was not a sweet dream because you were ill with tummy problems, but I got to once again see your sweet and precious face. It was so clear and as beautiful as ever.

07/04/07 -- July 4th holiday. You were always so brave with fireworks as well as thunder and never gave me a problem by being nervous or wanting to hide. However, for the first time Alice showed fear with the noise, she must have missed having her big sis here to protect her.

Sasha, to my great regret I only have 15 minutes of your 1st year recorded on video. To preserve this treasured memory, I had video tape copied onto a DVD & I picked it up today, it turned out great! Though I must have hundreds of photos covering your entire life, I'm so blessed to have these few recorded minutes of you (& Alice) "in life" doing what you loved best -- running & playing. Such sweet memories.

07/12/07 -- Dear Sasha, 6 months now, such a long time without you. Rainbows Bridge has been such a comfort - having a place to visit, write to and about you & to connect with many pet parents that understand my grief. After a heat spell, today is a beautiful, sunny, breezy & cooler day in the 70's which has helped lift my spirits on this difficult anniversary. You would have enjoyed a pleasant walk in the park today; how I'd love that experience again, having you at my side.

08/12/07 -- Hi Brown Eyes, today marks 7 lonely months without you. Early Saturday morning I had my second dream with you. Though I don't remember the dream when I awoke I recalled you being in it. I hope to have more dreams with you.

08/14/07 -- Our Sweet Alice left this earth today. She quit eating days ago & had become very weak; I believe it's because she missed you, her friend & companion. She's now joined you & I'm left alone for the first time in 13+ years. It's so lonely without my baby girls.

08/21/07 - Sasha, our sweet Alice returned home yesterday, her ashes in such a small box. The three of us are together again. Last night I slept better than I have in days and I even had a dream with you in it, the third time since you've been gone. Keep visiting me in my dreams baby girl, I'd like to be able to hold & feel you once again.

Jan. 1, 2008 -- Happy New Year & Happy Birthday my Precious Sasha, you would have been 14 years old today. It's shortly after midnight & I stayed up so Mom could be the first to send you these wishes with lots of hugs and kisses. A very sad & difficult year has come to an end & a new one now begins but life just isn't the same without you and Alice. Raising you from a puppy & having you through life's challenges created a special bond with us that I never had with another canine furbaby. Though blessed to have had you it's so painful with you gone. I will have you on my mind all day long on this your birthday, my "New Year" baby girl. **It's now New Years morning, we had another heavy snow fall overnight & woke to lots of beautiful fluffy snow. I remember how much you loved to play in fresh mounds of new fallen snow & think how happy you'd be this morning enjoying the outdoors - running, playing, jumping & diving in it; how I miss living this memory with you.

Jan. 12, 2008 -- My Sasha, today marks one year since I last saw your precious face & held you close, one full year of "firsts" without you; our last moments together are etched in my mind forever. The most difficult days, weeks & months are behind me now but my love for you & how much I miss you has not diminished. Even though I recently adopted a dog-Mariah & kitty-Abigail, YOU & ALICE will always be my FIRST furbabies that will especially remain in my heart & memory forever. Baby Girl, I will visit you often. Rest well my Sweet Sasha.

3/5/08 - Dear Sasha I had a sweet dream with you early this morning, I smiled again.

1/1/09 - Happy Birthday Baby Girl. You would have been 15 years old on this 2009 New Years Day. Another year has flown by; another year without you and Alice - still difficult.

1/12/09 - My Sweet Sasha, it's 2 years now since you've been gone and I miss you as much today as ever. Maraih & Abby keep me company and make me laugh, but you remain deep in my heart always wishing you were still here with me. I love you Baby Girl and still miss you so.

7/9/09 - On this day, our Sweet Old Boy "Oreo" left this earth after 15 years of being a dear family companion (Born 12/2/93). Rest in Peace Baby Boy - you'll be missed.

1/1/2010 - Another New Year! Happy Birthday Sweet Sasha, you would have been 16 years old today.

1/12/10 - Hello my Sweet Girl. Another year has gone by making today 3 years since you left this earth. Though time is quickly passing and the pain of losing you has lightened my memories of you and Alice have not diminished in the least; you're in my heart forever.

One recent change in my life is that last October I finally had to give up my old faithful 1993 Chevy Lumina, the car that brought You and Alice home in 1994 and the only vehicle you both knew. That car held sweet & fun memories of you as well; like how you always knew or sensed when we neared our destination - especially when visiting my brothers that you loved to see. Though they lived 49 miles away the last few blocks of our trips were hard to keep you still as you'd get so excited to see them and knew when we were close, so you'd whine & jump from side to side in the back seat. There was the time in your early years when I had just pulled into their driveway, having the back windows only part way down - you managed to leap through about a 10" opening to run and greet the boys. To this day I can't believe you cleared your body though that small opening without breaking the window or being injured; needless to say we never drove with windows having more than a 3-4" opening again. You grew to fill that entire back seat. Another time you realized since you couldn't get out through side windows - you figured on trying the sunroof. Fortunately I caught you in time as you climbed up and held you the last few blocks by your collar; after that I only used roof w/flip top when you were in car with me. You looked funny with a third of your body sticking out of the top.

Then there were those dreaded times you had to visit vet, you knew those times were not fun and became anxious; and then the last time we rode in it together - a difficult memory. It was so hard to give up my Lumina that held fun memories of you and still had your fur weaved into the fabric.

Today, Mariah and Abby (the old girls) are still with me and help to fill my days in caring for them, but they'll never be You & Alice. Dear Sasha, how I still miss you. Rest in peace my Sweet Baby Girl.

11/16/10 - This entry is dedicated to the memory of a Precious Furbaby named Ziggy who is so loved and greatly missed by his family, fur companions and all who knew this gentle soul. Ziggy left this earth on Nov 5th and joined my Sasja Joy, Alice, Oreo and all our beloved fur companions that have gone before. Rest in Peace Sweet Baby Boy, You're so Special and will forever be in our Hearts..

1/12/11 - Baby, this date marks 4 years since I said good-bye to by precious girl yet you continue to be in my thoughts each and every day. I miss you.

2/12/11 - Sweet Sasha, today Mariah went to be with You, Alice & all the furbabies at Rainbows Bridge - she's now at peace and free of pain. I've been through a difficult week with this dear girl. After we were hit with Blizzard 2011 on 2/1-2 on Thursday 2/3 at about 2am, Mariah work me up with an uncontrolable choaking where she began coughing up blood; she was in such distress - I needed to ease her discomfort quickly so driving through icy roads on a bitter cold night we made it to the emergency vet. Mariah returned home with various meds to ease her coughing episodes; so in a day she was much improved, no more bleeding and cough subsided for the most part. But one week later, this past Thursday evening she was again in some distress with no energy and labored breathing. So Friday morning decided she needed to see Dr Benz for further testing. And then difficult news, after just x-rays, it was clear to see that Mariah had cancer and was pretty advanced.

I brought Mariah back home with some pain medication to ease her discomfort but the entire day all she did was sleep, she didn't want to eat much anymore and had no energy; in fact I had to carry her back home after a brief walk down the street - when she had suddenly stopped & looked to me for help. Like with you, I was blessed to have a day to spend with her - dedicated to her needs and so that I could begin saying Good-Bye and prepare to let her go. So at about Noon today, Saturday - 2/12, Mariah slipped into a peaceful sleep in the care of Dr. Benz - a special lady that is so gentle and compassionate.

It's a nice thought to imagine You & Alice now greeting Mariah to a beautiful garden - to make her feel so at home. Bye little Mariah "Blacky" Girl, may you now display a full coat of fur to fill every bald spot you had while here on earth.

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About Mariah: she'd been bounced from place to place never knowing love or a real home for very long. She initially displayed an aggressive personality which was a real challenge at times to have patience with; however, she also displayed a sweet demeanor that melted my heart. So in Nov 2007 at age 7, I adopted Mariah from Fur Keeps Animal Rescue in Barrington Hills IL giving her a chance to spend her remaining years in a warm and loving home. I made Mariah the promise that my home would be the last one she would ever know - I kept my promise - it was until the day she left this earth.
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1/1/2012 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET GIRL; another New Year to face...

1/12/2012 - Hello my Sweet Baby Girl. Well, another year has zoomed by and today marks 5 years since I last held you and said Good-bye to my beautiful Brown-eyed Girl. Baby, there isn't a day that goes by where I don't think of you and often where a sweet memory of you comes to mind. I still miss you so much - You'll Never be Forgotten.

1/12/2014 - Hello my Sweet Baby Girl... how I still miss you so - memories of you cross my mind every day. So Hard to believe today makes 7 years since I last saw and held you. The sad news to share is that 2 days ago, Friday Jan 10th I said good-bye to our home - the condo where You, Alice & I shared years of beautiful memories. Because of Life circumstances I made the difficult decision to move back with my brothers in BBK. Though what brought me to this point was difficult I know that it was for the best so that I can be with family again. Life has become so lonely so it's nice to now have the companionship of family members everyday. My Lovely Sasha, where ever life takes me - I will always carry You, Alice & Mariah with me in my Heart & in my Mind; that will never change. I miss you now & always.

3/14/2017 - My Sweet Girl... It's been a while since I wrote to you, but you've never been far from my mind. So hard to believe Jan 12th marked 10 years since I last saw and held you. There isn't a day that goes by where I don't think of you and Alice. I still miss you, Sweet Girl.

Please also visit Alice.

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