Her little black nose was pressed up against the wire
The first time I saw her
Her sad brown eyes looking out beyond
Those sad eyes tugged at my heart
I couldn’t leave her there
And so, seventeen years ago, I brought Sonny home
She was the best birthday present my mother could ever give me
Sonny became family
My mother thought she’d be a great watch dog
She loved everyone
Whenever strangers came into the yard she was the first to greet them with a wagging tail
“She’s a great dog,” they always said.
“Yeah, she’s my watch dog.” I laughed… “She’s got a great technique, she licks everyone to death.”
Sonny made friends with everyone… except the lady who delivered papers with the squeaky wheeled cart. She loathed her… not that I could blame her…she was a scary looking woman with a booming harsh voice.
I was the only one who could take her for a walk…she wouldn’t leave home without me… the kids would complain, “we can’t even drag her out the gate.”
One day she climbed over the fence… she didn’t jump over like other dogs…she’d sort of scramble over… to run over and protect me from the menace of a dog across the road. He liked to jump the fence and nip your ankles as you walked by. I was always worried he’d do worse… and eventually one day he did. But not that day, Sonny was there and in a nutshell that was her gift…Sonny was just there…whenever I needed her.
Whenever I needed to cry…she’d rest her head on my lap, those sad eyes ever so conveniently looking upward.
She was great at gardening too… she would ever so gently go around and eat the grubs off my hibiscus plants or if she was a bit peeved at me she would pull out all my newly sown plants.
She’d look at me as if to say… “that’s what you get if you upset the Sonny dog.”
Sonny could get upset by slightest of things… a new budgie…after she set the second one free I figured that was that! No more budgies.
She wasn’t fond of my husband when she first met him… whenever he came over he was met with a growl… she’d gone through a divorce with me, I guess she was looking out for me but when she realised he was staying she thought…okay I’ll be nice.
There were many new things she had to come to terms with, the birth of my new son, that upset her for a day or so, until I was so scared she’d die that I made a big fuss of her when I got back from the hospital. I really thought she was going to die she looked so sick…it turned out she was just depressed.
Within two years my son and Sonny had joined forces…the two of them in cahoots to hoodwink the old lady next door for some treats. Every day at precisely 4pm they would stand beneath her balcony, Sonny barking, my son calling out and without fail down would sail a bone and a packet of chips.
I’d apologise, but she would say… “I’m old and I love it…It makes my day.”
It’s was those sad eyes of hers they got you every time.
She mellowed as she got older like most dogs, she hated cats but when Panda came along she just seemed to say… “Okay, I like ya.” In her last days she even stuck up for poor Panda when our pesky Westie Isabelle was playing a bit rough. Sonny chased her away with her deep throated bark.
Isabelle loved Sonny, the pack leader I guess and Sonny, well… I think she loved Isabelle too. Though she still had it in her to put that little white dog in her place, indeed she was the only one in the house Isabelle took notice of.
Three days ago, the day before my birthday my husband I took Sonny to the vet. It was her time and as her head lowered slowly into my hands for the last time, I thought how peaceful it was. Together we’d gone full circle. Seventeen years to the day I first saw her little black nose pressed against that wire.
Tomorrow when I feel up to it I will plant sunflowers on her grave. Sunflowers for Sonny and when they bloom with the sun, those sad brown eyes in a halo of yellow will look at me once more and I’ll know Sonny, no matter what, will always be there.