Before we decided to have children and before we were married we decided that it would be a good idea to get a puppy. I had brought a 6 year old Australian shepherd mix to the relationship and my then fiancée had brought a 2 year old domestic male cat and we wanted to add to our family. We drove out to Gladstone, Oregon and we got a 6 week old male German Shepherd puppy. I had 2 names picked out, one was Pussy Galore (thank you Ian Fleming) and the other was Sally Tomato (thank you Holly Golightly). We decided on Sally Tomato McKeon.
Sally cried all the way home in my lap, a loud moaning sound that I had never heard a dog make before. He whimpered all afternoon and pee'd all over the place, the deck, the steps, the concrete, my lap, and so we let him sleep in our bed. When we took Sally to dog training classes at 10 weeks he was the largest dog in the room and also the biggest baby. He would cringe and hide between our legs and refuse to do anything cooperative until we broke down and brought Howard to class too at which point he behaved a little better.
Sally grew and grew and everytime people would see him they would comment on how large he was because he stood much taller than most Shepherds. At 6 months we took him to the Vet to have a dry patch checked out on his elbow pads only to learn after paying $60 some odd dollars that they were callouses. We got a lot of teasing for that one. We hired a high school girl to come by and walk Sally when we were at work because we worried that all those hours in the crate were hard on him. The truth was those hours were hard on us, we worried about him and fussed over him and loved him.
Last week my husband told me that Sally has cancer and a large mass in his belly. It has been growing for some time = but it has gotten to where Sally isn't always feeling so great and has stopped eating mostly. He can't go for long walks and he just wants to rest. I always knew that he wouldn't live forever but it doesn't make this part of life, any easier.
I can only hope that we can make his last weeks comfy ones, give him all his favorite treats and scratch those big ears a lot and toss his favorite ball. I hope that wherever he goes to, they have big sticks to chew on. I hope they have cat food to eat because he loves cat food. And I hope they have tennis balls that can be chewed to shreds because while he loves to catch the ball, he is not so good at dropping it. And I hope they have someone there who looks like me a little and someone who looks like Gabe a little so he isn't lonely. I know Howard will be there so at least he will get to hang out with her again.
We love you Sally Tomato!