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Sadie’s Presence Was Her Present to Me

Dogs are our healers and protectors.

They educate us with many acts of divine love. These gifts come with no strings attached and teach us patience, tolerance and kindness. After all I’ve been through, if someone were to tell me there were no dogs in heaven, I would not want to go there! My dog Sadie was an eighteen-pound black “snoodle”: a schnauzer-poodle cross. She was loving, intelligent, loyal, sensitive, and protective. Sadie was a blessing sent to me when I needed her most.

I had asked my sister Diana to come along on the hour drive to the breeders, to help me pick Sadie out of the litter and bring my puppy home. While I had never had a small dog as a pet before, my sister had. Diana and Sadie bonded immediately.

Even though my youngest son Dan, is mainly a cat lover, he fell in love with Sadie instantly. Every Christmas he would wrap up a gift for Sadie and put it under the tree. She would sit patiently, waiting to open up her present. When it was her turn, Sadie would get so excited. Dan would help unwrap it, while she watched carefully…and then the game was on! It was usually some squeaky, soft doggy toy which she would either play with or demolish. Sadie loved every minute of it.

This went on for many years until Dan forgot: We all forgot. Sadie waited patiently until all the gifts were opened but there was nothing for her under the Christmas tree. Our family were enjoying their time together when suddenly we noticed Sadie wasn’t joining in. She had disappeared into the bedroom, not wanting to have anything to do with the festivities. When Dan realized, he went in and apologized, giving her a treat, loving her with kisses and rubbing her belly. As is the case with most dogs, Sadie couldn’t hold a grudge and came out to join us. A few days later Dan brought out her wrapped Christmas gift and all was forgiven. He never forgot again.

Over the last few decades, I have dealt with the physical challenges of an autoimmune disorder. Dogs have the ability to sense many things we can’t. Sadie always knew when I was going to have a flare-up. She would sniff me all over, especially my breath, and then snuggle as close as she could get to me. If my stomach hurt, she would curl up tightly into my belly. Sadie became a soothing heating pad, and we would both fall asleep, cuddling.

We lived in a rural country location. When I wasn’t able to go out and walk, Sadie would walk the one-acre perimeter of our property and then come back to me. She was always alert and on guard when Jim, my husband, was away. She gave me extreme peace of mind when I was alone.

Sadie was always patient and tolerant with me. Because of my own pain and discomfort, it was hard sometimes to be patient and tolerant of others. However, her boundless and unconditional love humbled me. I became a much better person for it.

My precious Sadie was with us for fifteen wonderful, joy-filled, years. I remember it was summertime when it was time to say goodbye. Diana graciously agreed to be there with me and Sadie. In an unusual way, that day became a very special and cherished memory. My sister and I had drifted apart. We have always been so very different, with not much in common. The day Diana went to the vets with me, could have been a very sad memory, but it became a happy one.

After Sadie was gone, we picked up coffee and drove to the park. It was beautiful out. Sadie always loved exploring that particular park. As we sat at a picnic table, facing each other, drinking our coffee we began to have a celebration-of-life for our precious Sadie. We reminisced, laughed, cried, remembering all the funny things she had done, her stubbornness, and her unconditional love. That dog loved life! She loved all of us. Despite our individual faults and idiosyncrasies, she always found it in her heart to forgive and move on.

I believe our lives are a journey and we are here to learn and grow spiritually. Sadie was a gift from the Divine sent here to help me through some very difficult years. Her love brought me much comfort and joy. Happiness is deserved by all of us and sometimes we have to search deep to find it or make the changes to make it happen.

All of us could learn so much from our canine friends. Merry Christmas my beautiful Sadie. Your present remains under our tree!

Loving life,

Ella Balkwill

Having designed clothing, successfully ran an interior design business, and shared her artistic talents, Ella eventually flourished under what many may consider insurmountable odds. After redesigning not only herself but her entire life, Ella now shares these vulnerable moments with the intent to help others thrive!


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