Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

Goodbye, Sally


Sally & Kelsey. Photo by Jenn.

Somewhere around 14 years ago, Jenn called me from a pet store. The local pet rescue crew was there, and would I please just come down and take a look at this particular pup that she and Kelsey had met. You don’t have to say yes, I was assured, just come and meet her!

In the years since, I would recall my trip that day like this – with a hat tip to Vizzini and William Goldman: “I fell victim to one of the classic blunders. Never go into a pet store with your wife and daughter when a rescue puppy is on the line.”

On the ride home, Kelsey named the dog Sally.

We said goodbye to Sally today, a cool and sunny September morning of towering cornfields and just a few hints of changing leaves on the tallest trees.

When we brought Sally home as a puppy, she was smaller than any of the three cats we had at the time, so even as she grew into those massive paws that looked ridiculous on such a tiny creature, she knew she was never the boss of the house.

She also never quite seemed to grasp the fact that she was, in fact, growing, and considered herself a lap dog long after she surpassed 50 pounds (she was close to 90 at one point) and could stand at the kitchen counter. And I loved seeing this way-too-big dog curled up – Look! I’m still small, see! – and sleeping on Kelsey’s bed.

Having been around cats most of her life, I’m convinced Sally adopted some of their behaviors: I’ve never seen another dog tongue-bathe itself cat-style, which Sally used to do all the time.

One evening, when she was out in her fenced-in area of the backyard, a skunk came along, teasing and spraying Sally. We tried to drive the thing away from the house to no avail, and were completely at a loss when Sally backed up for a running start and threw herself at the lower edge of the fence with such speed and force that she pushed completely under and past it without stopping, and then – >bam!< One Dead Skunk. The whole thing took maybe 10 seconds.

She loved fruit and vegetables. Seriously: If we left a bunch of bananas on the counter, we’d find the peels on the floor the next morning. Tomatoes, too. Oranges she’d chew a bit before remembering that she didn’t like them. One night, Jenn and I half-awoke to a solid thump! from somewhere in the house. In a four-animal household, that kind of thing is only truly alarming if there’s some kind of follow-up ruckus, and there wasn’t, so we went back to sleep.

A day or two later, Jenn asked if I had eaten all the cantaloupe she’d just bought. I hadn’t touched it, of course, and we eventually half-settled on the idea that maybe she’d left it in the grocery cart or something. Mystery solved about a month later when I found a pile of cantaloupe seeds hidden in a back room corner. A whole freaking cantaloupe. Goofy dog.

When we needed to move in the summer of 2013, it broke our hearts that we couldn’t bring Sally to our new home, but some amazingly kind and generous friends nearby offered to take her in. Our adoptively-named Sally-Pongo got to spend the last 14 months in the close company of another older dog (who sadly passed away not so long ago), taking lots of long walks through the woods and fields, scaring up wild turkeys, watching herons, and wading in a pond – and being loved by a whole new family who we will never be able to thank enough.

We had to make the decision to let Sally go this morning, when our friends called with the news that she couldn’t get up, and had made a mess of herself, and had barely managed to get to her water bowl. Jenn and Kelsey and I drove over right away. Sally was shaking, and hurting, and the four of us knelt around her in the wet grass and the shade of the trees behind our friends’ house, looking into our dog’s eyes and letting her know how much she was loved.







September 14, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. My deepest sympathies on your loss. Pets are like family, and their loss is heartbreaking. I’m so sorry.

    Comment by Chris | September 14, 2014 | Reply

  2. Every dog should be so loved. She was such a sweet, sweet girl. She was clearly much-loved by you, Jenn, and Kelsey. She came to stay with us and helped our dog, Zoe, out of her depression and loneliness, then was a lovable companion to me who loved Walktime! Thank you for sharing her with us. She got
    the best people when she captured the hearts of the Booth family.

    Comment by kim | September 14, 2014 | Reply

  3. I’m so sorry. It’s so sad when you lose a dog you love.

    Comment by ganymeder | September 15, 2014 | Reply

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