Sonoma, an adorable Siberian Husky, has gone to Doggie Heaven.
She was only five years old, but she had a rich and full life with Lynn and Lucas. She started out as a rescue dog who was brought to them by a neighbor in California who knew they already had a Husky. What’s one more?
They opened their home and their hearts and before long, the shy, possibly abused dog became the “preferred” dog. She endeared herself to the Riveras and learned to trust and love. She also quickly adapted to Lucas’s gourmet meals.
Lucas suspected Sonoma but wasn’t a hundred percent sure since the evidence had gone missing. When she graduated to the five pound roast and her tummy expanded into the suspicious shape of a soccer ball, there was little doubt as to the identity of the culprit. Her two doggie buddies, Cinnamon, a Chocolate Lab, and Lobo, a boy Husky would never do such a thing.
After the roast caper Lucas invested in a grill with a cover.
Before moving to Atenas, Costa Rica, Sonoma lived in Temecula, California, land of many bunnies. She made holes in the fence to make it easy for the bunnies to come into the yard to feast on the succulent grass. She was considerate enough to let them enjoy their last meal before they became the meal. She enjoyed them – even without sauce.
She so appreciated the array of spices and sauces on the food she stole and/or was offered, she came to a point of sniffing first. If it had no sauce, she put her tail in the air and sashayed off. She found a way to provide her own gourmet treats. On the daily morning walk through the hills of Roca Verde, unbeknownst to the group, Sonoma was scouting locations to visit later in the day after the folks went to work. She found all the construction camps in the development, located their garbage dumps and returned later it the day to feast on leftover chicken parts.
Sonoma became known and loved in the neighborhood and was often found sitting under a shade tree near the guard shack of our gated community, Roca Verde, waiting for the rest of the group to return from the walk in the woods. While she took the shortcut route by way of the creek, unbeknownst to Lucas, the dog walker, who was certain she was lost in the forest. She refused to go at the pace dictated by anybody but herself. If she could find a more efficient way from point A to point B, that is the way she went.
Being one to prefer the outdoors, Sonoma was allowed to remain outside while the others stayed inside. If she wandered off in search of snacks, she normally returned before anybody realized she was gone. One day, on my way home from town, I saw Carmen, the Rivera’s domestic helper, sitting on the curb crying. I stopped the car to ask what was wrong. Carmen looked up and through her tears told me Sonoma was missing. She had been gone for hours and Carmen had walked the neighborhood loop three times and could not find her. She sobbed that this was the “preferida” and she couldn’t face Lynn if she lost Sonoma. I told her I would search with the car and she should go home to see if the dog had come home while she was searching.
Sure enough, the princess returned to the castle while I was out searching the neighborhood. When she looked up at you with those piercing blue eyes and just the right amount of head-tilt it, was hard to be mad at her. It wouldn’t matter anyway- Sonoma had a way of conveying her mantra: “I do not care! I’m sweet, beautiful, and lovable. You will not stay mad long.” And she seemed to smile.
When she got sick Lynn and Lucas did everything in their power to heal her – in addition to the two veterinarians in town, she saw an acupuncturist, a cardiologist, and a nutritionist. They tried special diets, herbs, medicines, even surgery. They discovered that she had an inoperable tumor in her liver. It was time to say goodbye.
It was a sad day, but it was the right thing to do. Sonoma was off to Doggie Heaven and her human family remains behind, left to process, grieve, and deal with it. I ran and covered the mirror in the tradition of my Jewish heritage. When Lucas saw it, he questioned it, of course. “Oh, when there’s been a death in the family we sit shivah.
“You sh*t what?”
“No, no, sit. You sit shivah. I used to sit on a hassock at Grandma’s. I only lasted a few hours, but it’s supposed to last for seven days.”
“But we’re not Jewish,” said Lucas.
“I think Sonoma was,” I smiled. And we all started laughing.
We had a pink champagne toast, we watched a funny movie in the middle of the day, and we went out to a steakhouse in honor of Sonoma’s love of steak. Of course, it had a delicious sauce – Sonoma is licking her heavenly chops and smiling! It’s all about the sauce.