Dogs have always been part of my life; a love passed down from generation to generation. Protracted unemployment in the early 90s required some creativity. Thus, my pet care business was born.
This is a continuing series.
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CHAPTER EIGHT: SABA
Saba, a feisty Jack Russell Terrier, came into my life when she was only seven months old. The assignment: to walk her while “Mom” Isabel was away for the day. At the appointed hour, I pulled up to a modern stone mansion with a beautiful courtyard. This was a local version of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”! The housekeeper invited me in while she fetched the dog, so, I had time to enjoy the view. Fabulous marble flooring and paintings on the wall. Still, it all seemed a bit cold and austere. Saba was obviously a high strung little girl; panting and trembling on the end of her leash. Bending down to reassure her, I noticed her face was divided right down the middle, with brown on one side and white on the other. The eye patch gave her even more character!
We started out, but after a few minutes, Saba did a quick “about face” and tried to run home.
“Come on Saba. Don’t you want to go for a walk?”
She turned back to me and we managed a few more metres. This scene was repeated over and over, but finally, she did her business, much to my relief!
Time to head home and she tried to run all the way. No wonder her leg muscles were the size of Arnold Schwartzenegger’s!
The next few walks were more of the same, but eventually, Saba greeted me with enthusiasm and went willingly.
Isabel called one day to inquire if I’d be willing to take Saba home with me for a few days. She and her husband were going out of town and her kids were living elsewhere by then. Thus, Saba became a regular house guest for many years.
She marched right into my house as if she owned the place! When Tasha, our Dalmatian, went to sniff her, she growled menacingly. Tasha reacted in kind and it would have escalated had I not scooped Saba up and proceeded to the backyard. They were fine after that, until it was time to share space on the couch or the bed. Two alpha females jockeying for position! One major difference between them: Tasha was “all talk, no action”, while Saba would follow through and bite, if given the chance. Tasha did sustain a couple of nips over the years, (as did my husband and I, while trying to intervene), but, the two of them bonded, just like sisters.
Over the years, Saba became even more nervous. Isabel and her family always wintered in Miami and apparently, the thunder storms there really affected the poor dog. It came to the point where she needed medication to calm her down on a regular basis. Every little noise caused panic and she became fearful of the camera as well. Didn’t like the flash. She was feisty as ever nonetheless and continued her “sisterly” arguments with Tasha. After Tasha passed away, we grew even closer to Saba, because of that connection.
She came to stay with us several times every year. Her last visit was in November 2012. Saba was 18 years old by then and had become hearing and vision impaired. She slept a lot and there was some occasional incontinence, but the main thing was her constant state of anxiety. Poor little thing! When Isabel came to get her, I had a hunch she wouldn’t be going to Miami this time.
It’s been seven months and no contact.
This is sad and disappointing. Isabel was a good client for almost 20 years. Perhaps it’s just too difficult for her to talk about; I don’t know. Whatever the case may be, we miss our little “step-daughter” .
Rest easy, Sabalina. We love you!
© D.D.B. 2013