Friday, September 9, 2011

Lost Our Baby Today

(I apologize for the rambling post tonight...  It's been a long day and I'm rambling, but needed to get this out...)
We lost our baby, Sage, today.  She died quietly about noon today at home.  She was 14 1/2 years old and the best dog we could imagine.  Her heart just gave out.  She had been a bit slower than her normal self last week.  Then we had the fire at Bastrop State Park.  She just never really came back after that.  We worked with her and thought she was doing a little better yesterday.  She was drinking on her own yesterday.  But this morning she wouldn't take any water or anything.  She got up about noon and went in the bedroom, laid down and that was it.  
We miss her already.  It really won't be the same when we hit the road in a couple of days.  She LOVED to travel.  Forget that -- she just loved to be in the truck!  It didn't have to move.  You didn't have to be in it with her.  So long as she was in the truck, she was happy!

For those who don't know, Sage was my dad's dog.  He was a long distance truck driver and she spent the first 5 years of her life traveling the country with him in the cab of his truck.  He taught her 2 things:  1)  She could sit up and beg for hours.  Never move a muscle.  Just sit there on her haunches.  2)  Never ever, under any circumstances would she go to the bathroom in the house. He had her on the one bathroom stop a day plan.  All I can say is she had an amazing bladder!   When she got older she developed a little incontinence.  She was always mortified when she had an accident.
When my dad died in 2002, she came to live with me.  I NEVER planned to have a dog.  But no one else in the family wanted her.  She was a handful.  Smart.  Big.  Energetic.  And no manners whatsoever... except the sitting pretty for treats of course.  She cost me over $1000 in the first week.  I had to get all her shots updated, a vet's okay for her to fly, a kennel big enough for her to travel in and then board her for a week while I went to North Dakota for Dad's funeral.  

Sage also had never spent much time with other animals.  She really didn't like them at all and rumor had it she had killed my mom's cat.  There was no evidence... just a hunch.  Part of why no one else wanted her.  At the time she came to live with me I had 3 cats.   So she spent the first couple weeks sleeping on a 6 foot leash tied to the foot of my bed.  What a start to our relationship!  Eventually an uneasy truce was formed and a few years of peaceful coexistence followed. 
Then a couple years later I met Johnny.  He had a teacup chihuahua.  Sage was a 50 lb. Australian Cattledog / Dingo mix.  He wasn't too sure about her.  She wanted to make sure he was okay and gonna stick around before she made friends.  But they were buddies in short order.
After a run in with a neighbor's dog I decided to get some help and after a few visits with the local "dog whisperer" / doggie therapist, she was a much better dog to live with.  Mostly he taught me a few things and she no longer jumped on everyone and I could take her for a walk without having my shoulder pulled out of the socket.  Not that she would heel or anything... She was too smart and stubborn to learn more than she needed to...
She ended up going to West Virginia for a work assignment with Johnny.  It was the first long road trip we'd been on together.  I remember she would wake up and start whining just before we hit each state line.  It was like she somehow knew there was a rest area coming up.  After I flew back to Austin, she kept him company -- and helped keep him warm in the bed :-)  I think that trip solidified their bond.  He really never thought they would be buddies.  But they loved each other a great deal.  She would lay with her head on his foot while he watched football.  
Sage was incredibly smart.  Annoyingly, incredibly smart...  She would learn the things she wanted to learn and nothing else.   And it took exactly 1 time for her to form a habit.  Every night she had to have her dinner, then her pills, then her treat bone.  And you couldn't do those things out of order.  If you gave her a treat before her pills, you were going to have to give her another treat after the pills... 
Once we started spending more time in the 5th wheel Sage was a much happier dog. She loved the 5th wheel.   I think she was always a little nervous in the house. It was a lot of space to keep track of when you grew up in an 18 wheeler...  She couldn't see where all her people were.  In the 5th wheel, she would sit at the top of the steps in the bedroom where she could see where we both were at all times.  Unless  of course it was hot outside.  Then she would just go back in the trailer to the AC!  We could stay outside by ourselves -- she was no dummy for sure.

So when we hit the road in a couple of days it will be really hard.  No Sage in the back seat.  No stopping for potty breaks.  We'll miss her everyday, but travel days will be hardest because she was SO HAPPY to go for a ride...  We know you are happy going for a ride in the BIG diesel with your first Dad Sage... Give him some loves from me...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Working on Plan B... or is it C or D?

Just a quick update.  We left Arkansas after making a day trip to Hot Springs area.  I started a blog about that, but need to finish adding pictures, so it sits waiting...

We headed down here to Austin, TX a week ago today.  We made it a 2 day drive by stopping in Tyler.  We're attempting to learn to travel more slowly...LOL

Wednesday afternoon we pulled into Bastrop State Park and got set up in what has been our favorite RV spot to date!  It had plenty of room for our 40ft 5th wheel and truck, a lovely patio facing the woods and since it was one of their accessible spots it was all very level and paved.  Johnny had a doctor appointment to check on his eyes.  He has cataract surgery in his future -- probably January.  We had dinner with some local friends and we spent some time reorganizing and sorting out what needed to be in the RV and what we just don't use...

Sunday, fellow "gonna be"s," Jerry and Carol invited down to the New Braunfels area where they were having a family reunion.  There we also met Tom and Donna who have been on the road a few months now.  (Donna and Carol are sisters.)  We had a great time visiting and talking about future options for gategaurding, travel, etc.  

We got back to Bastrop State Park about 11pm to find it had been evacuated due to a forest fire.  The rangers let us back in to get our dog and pull the trailer out.  So about 12:30 we were hooked up and wondering where we are going now...

Right now the trailer is parked in front of the house and we're trying to figure out our new plan.  Johnny has doctors appointments here in the Austin area on the 8th, so we need to stick around until then.  Then we'll head north to Coffeyville, KS.

In the middle of this, Sage has gotten sick, so we're trying to get her back on her feet.  Hard with a 14 year old dog...  Last night was the emergency animal hospital for $200, fluids and antibiotics.  Hoping she perks up soon...

Just heard from the Texas Park Service that the camp sites at Bastrop did indeed burn, so it's good we were able to get the trailer out.   

We'll let you know where we're headed next as soon as we know!