Writings, Essays, Lyrics, Musings, Commentary . . .
Article #7: Ah Sugar! Sugar!Fall, 2000 - by Gaye Adegbalola
Tootsie was Suzanne's dog. She was a Greyhound/Doberman/Shepherd mix, brown and big (around 90 pounds). In 1992 Suzanne rescued her from being chained up in a neighbor's yard. Tootsie barked 24/7. There were understandable reasons for her being chained, but not good ones. Suzanne heard her call.
Tootsie became Suzanne's constant companion. She kept her company whenever I went on the road. She protected her. Since Suzanne works at home, they were together all the time. Tootsie tolerated me. Whenever I returned home, she'd look at me as if to say, Oh, it's you. . . back again?? and kinda roll her eyes. She begrudgingly allowed me space in the bed. Sometimes, I was even jealous of this bitch. But. . . I loved her immensely because she took care of Suzanne. I never worried about Suzanne with Tootsie around.
Yet, as Tootsie grew old, her heart began to fail. In August of 1999 it was clear her quality of life had diminished and the inevitable came to pass. She was euthenized on August 12th. It was a good passing as we both held Tootsie, feeding her homemade peach ice cream. She was surrounded with love as she drifted off to sleep forever. The grief was immense.
This was on a Thursday evening. On Saturday morning we realized that Mojo, our cat, was out of food. (He had actually been somewhat neglected during our final days with Tootsie.) So we rushed out to PetSmart . We didn't know this at the time, but PetSmart on Saturdays is doggie adoption day. And standing at the entrance door was this big wagging wiggle dog ...
In no way, shape or form were we ready for a new dog, but she looked at us, we looked at her--her muscular body (an American bulldog), her brindle coat (oh my!! exotic hair--we're turned on by exotic hair) --it was LOVE at first sight.
Despite her tough image, the adopting agent informed us that she had been named Sugar at the pound because she was so very sweet. She had been found in the wild, totally emaciated, nursing 10 puppies (her 9 nipples--one had been chewed off--were almost dragging the floor). She has a left rear leg full of buckshot and she is completely blind in her left eye. However, when they brought her in, she would not eat a bite until all 10 puppies had eaten. Oh yes, they named her Sugar.
All 10 pups were adopted from the pound immediately. Sugar was scheduled to be put to sleep, but the CARE group decided to bring her to PetSmart for one last chance. Though we couldn't deny this powerful connection with Sugar, we were grief stricken and thought we should think on it a bit. As we sat on the floor, pondering the decision that we were getting ready to make, the CARE member handed us a form to sign. As Suzanne took the clipboard and pen, Sugar placed her paw on top of Suzanne's right hand so she could not retract her hand and change her mind. For sure, that was a sign. . . because Tootsie used to do that same move.
We left PetSmart with Mojo's food and. . . a new sister for Mojo. When we got home, the two of them took to each other. I think Sugar thought Mojo was a missing puppy. But, some other adjustments had to be made -- Sugar had to get used to her new environment. Every time we went out, Sugar had severe separation anxiety. She was petrified--tore out the screens, ripped up the blinds, knocked over and broke a new lamp, chewed up goose down pillows, etc. BUT, time and attention took care of that. She knows we're not leaving her. . . ever.
There were a few other problems too. She would not do her business in our back yard. We tried everything. Id love to describe what all we tried, but I'd definitely embarrass myself and Suzanne. She would hold it for hours and hours. The minute we got off of our turf, shed go--even if only 5 steps up the street. She didnt want to soil her new home. She was so fearful that wed get rid of her.
The same principle seemed to be at work with her barking. For many months, she would not bark. . . at all -- as though her barking would disturb us. Part of why we have a big dog is for the big bark. . . a watch dog. This sweet, sweet dog would not part her lips.
Now, Sugar (at 65 pounds) is no longer emaciated, sleeps in the bed, does her business in the yard, barks like a confident guardian, adores Suzanne and. . . she likes me too. Whenever I come home, I am greeted by the biggest wagging wiggle and kisses. . . lots of kisses. Ah Sugar, Sugar.