Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Salute to Sally Mae


It is with great sadness that I'm writing to let you know that one of your Col .Potter kids has crossed the rainbow bridge.  Our little Sally Mae (originally known as Willow) came to us on December 27, 2003 and passed on August 10, 2010.

We knew something was not quite right with Sally.  Never very steady on
her back legs, she always seemed to have a bit of a hitch in her
"giddy-up".  Double Luxating patella surgery was a brief reprieve but not a cure for her problem.  Many visits to conventional and holistic vets proved frustrating.  We tried any number of possible solutions to try and find an answer.  Special diets and vitamins, acupuncture treatments, water therapy, CT scans, MRI's, and finally a specialist out of Portland, Maine ultimately diagnosed her with a progressive neurological disorder.  No real cure was available, but we decided to concentrate on helping her stay strong and independent as long as possible.  Over time adjustments had to be made and a little doggie wheelchair was purchased for Sally.  She adapted well and life carried on.

Sally Mae developed into a happy and confident dog.  She loved so many things, but adored walks on the beach, road trips, soft laps, cookies, watching Animal Planet, and her cairn brother Buzzy McDuff.  Her dislikes were few.  The sound of clanging metal, the rattle of keys, a jangle of coins in pocket, and whistling were all hateful noises to her.  No doubt they triggered residual memories from her puppy mill days.

She became certified to visit a local nursing home for Alzheimer's patients and did so for years.  Sally was the only service dog which the nursing staff would say to me, "Just let her go!".  So I'd clip her into her "go-cart", and off she'd roll, stopping into room after room and visiting everyone at her own pace in her wheelchair.  Sally knew she was special.

For the past several months Sally had become quieter and not quite herself.  The vets assured us that she was never in pain, yet the disorder seemed to be catching up with her.  She who had embraced life and enjoyed every minute of it was wearing down.  So much love and personality trapped in a little body that could no longer support her. We worried and agonized over what to do, but in the end it was her eyes that spoke volumes. It was time to let her go.

Sally passed away as she lived - brave and loving to the end.  With the help of her favorite doctor, she gently slipped away from us as I held her in my arms and whispered her name and sang her favorite little Sally song.

Companion, friend, mischevious girl, pal, giver of laughter and joy, and gentle little sweet pea of our hearts.  We loved her so.  It's been weeks and we still listen for her familiar little snoorkles.  We'll hold her memory close to our hearts forever.

Our sincere thanks to the Col. Potter family for entrusting us with Sally Mae these past seven years.  She enriched our lives and for that we will be forever grateful. The photos I've attached range from when we first got her, then to her wheelchair days, and the final photo is of her much earlier this spring.  She was a sweetie with crazy hair.  I finally just let the hair around her ears grow out because was so very "Sally".


Camille  and Chuck
New Hampshire

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