AB&TC MEMORIAL - SASSAFRASS


From the beginning, this cute innocent puppy, then turned into a fun loving dog, was a loveable bundle of joy from the get go. This Black and Tan coonhound has a really interesting story to tell and share for all Coonhound breed lovers to take in. One day at a normal family function/celebration, which so happened to be my Aunt and Uncles 25th wedding anniversary, at their house in Granger, IN, as usual it was in the summer almost fall day, all of us conversing about anything and everything, about what I couldn't tell you but everyone outside in the backyard sitting, standing, and waiting to eat or just talking. As we all were listening to someone talk, all of a sudden a black animal wonders out from the woods that is part of their backyard up to the closest person near it and starts to sniff around. We all stop and in blank stare we all ask where did this dog come from? We all thought that it was someone’s but there was no dog tags, collar, nothing. So instead of letting it to continue wondering around and get hit by a car, we got rope and put it on her. We were trying to figure out if anyone was going around looking for their lost dog but nobody. By that time it was getting late and my aunt and uncle couldn't keep her because of his allergies. So I said to my mother that I want to bring her home. She was hesitant at first but then gave in due to the dog being a female. My mother always had a female dog, I never exactly figured out why only female but I just let it go. We brought her home to meet our other three dogs: Abby, a Great Dane and Black Lab mix, and Tequila a Rottweiler and German Sheppard mix (looked mean but very chicken and sweet loving) and another dog that wondered up to my mother and found us also was a sweet puppy that we found out was a mix between a Beagle and Yellow Lab, which she was a blond color so Blondie stuck with her. They at first didn't know what to do with her and were like "OH a new dog," we put her in the cage that we had from our other two dogs but was too big so the next day bought one for her size, which she was small but long cute ears. Took a while to get used to the house she was in and had to even sleep next to cage a couple nights. There were things we noticed about her and things she liked and didn't, so I wanted to call her Sassy, everyone said like Sassafras, I was like no, it’s the attitude she had, Sassy! It stuck with her and she learned it really fast. As I skip from bringing home a lost and stray animal that got loved and house broken within so many months as a puppy, I go straight to dog days. The three girls (dogs) got along great and even Sassy thought Abby was a mother and Tequila as a big sister who she played with the most. Many funny memories when those two played. Even though Sassy was mine and family also said sort of my step-dads, Abby my moms, and Tequila my older brothers, we all called or referred to our dogs as our sisters! Well they were family and they in a way were our sisters to sort of speak. The first two years were a bit rocky because since our backyard was so big and fenced in, and the natural nature of a Coonhound is to be outdoors. The winter was horrid, we would let Sassy out to go to the bathroom and it would be a game trying to get her in. I think she at first thought we were going to hurt her or something that was why she didn't want to come in when we opened the door or what. She finally broke out of that stage and came in normal, she was also really good about staying by us while out in front of the house (no fence) she’s gotten out before but always came back, I think she knew she got a lot of loving and spoiled like no other and that the home she’s in was a keeper.

As the years past as all dogs do they age, and we had the two oldest a long time and they started to develop their old age complications from not being able to move all that fast, bad hips, not getting out to potty fast enough and peeing inside. Once the two girls didn’t come home that night, Sassy knew they weren't coming back and ever since then she was never the same. Blondie we gave to my grandmother to have a companion due to her husband my grandfather’s death. Even though she came over often to play with Sassy, she lost a lot of will to play when not around Blondie. Not normal as she was. So couple more years goes by and there were some things that she had to go to the vet for and some emergencies but her and we got through them fine. Well then these episodes started around close to another year which would be about 7 1/2 years we had her for, one night as I fell asleep on the couch, her spoiled as she was on her bed pillow (which she knew was her safe zone), I started to have a dream about a dog whining and trying to get up but kept falling down, was disoriented, and foaming at the mouth. I finally woke up and looked over at her and it was real, it was my dog having a seizure. I knew what to do because Blondie had them often, but was on Phenobarbital (seizure meds) for them and didn't have an outbreak for a long while. I tried to calm her and talk sweetly to her because she was just as scared as I was because she was a healthy dog. After it past she tried getting up, fell down and told to stay and then after another five minutes she was fine again still a little disoriented. Well that was the beginning of the downhill fall. She was on same medication as Blondie was for seizures and was doing great again, but a year past and of course a seizure was triggered once again. The first one lasted only about 5 Minutes, then after about an hour or two, she had another seizure in the same day and 1-2 hours apart. I knew she was declining from old age or just the seizures itself because she started to go blind in one eye and started to get deaf I think. But we had a dog before Sassy that had almost same problem and I didn't want her to suffer and go through another bad seizure like the second one. So....we all had to decide what we wanted to do, mainly me, to see if we should put her to sleep or wait it out. So a day went by and she had yet again more seizures, but three in a short period of time. I said I can't go through this and see watch her suffer through another seizure again and decided to take her to the vet. So I took her to the vet and we had this set so we just had to call when we decided to go through with it. I called and said it has got to be done today; she just had another three seizures. They said go ahead bring her in. I said let me get her in my truck and will be there soon as we can after the goodbyes from my mom who couldn't go because she couldn't handle it. I thought I would take her in and be fine and mellow and mourn and know I'm letting her go peacefully.

My oldest brother insisted in going with so he met me at the vet. We got into the room and they were getting everything ready for us. They got us in a room, explained what’s going to happen and if we wanted to be in the room while they inject her or leave and say goodbyes then put her to sleep after we leave. We opt to stay with her while the euthanization. I was doing well until when the tech started to inject the sleep aid, she knew it was her time to go, and let out the biggest, longest, SIGH, of relief, as she laid there on the table, motionless and her sad stricken eyes looked at me, and I lost it. I thought I could stay strong for her but she was mine and I didn't want to let her go, but I knew I had to. As tech was done she said she’s going to start getting quieter and her breathing will slow down. Once she stopped breathing altogether, the tech checked once again to make sure that she was gone and her heart stopped beating, she said she will give as long as it takes for us to say our goodbyes to her and she'll return once she knows we have left the room to put her in the back room. I went first and said my goodbyes to Sassy and lost it again, as I was hugging her and telling her she’s up in heaven with her sisters, and she can now be completely free, my brother starts to tear up. He said he wouldn't have started if it wasn't for me crying and the things I was saying to her. We left the room and settled the arrangement for cremation and ashes to be returned back to me. This was a really hard and rough day but I knew it needed to be done.

The past 7 1/2 almost 8 years that I had my dog, Sassy was a loyal, free bound spirit who loved to sleep which she learned from Abby, sunbath on a warm summer day on the deck, spends hours and hours on end outside running back and forth barking at anything (although neighbors probably didn't like it at night) in the big yard, to sleeping on top of my pillows, hogging the bed by sprawling out, and the most loveable, not mean at all, friendliest dog to everybody and anybody walking through our door, she was the best dog and my dog. She was a Black and Tan Coonhound and I am proud to say I had the honor to own one of this breed. Sassy came into our lives and loved every bit of her companionship, her lovability, and even stubbornness, and she left this world the same way on August 6, 2009 in a peaceful setting.

We Love you Always and Eternity "Il Mio Amore" (my love in Italian)
Rest in Peace
Nick Buzas and the Buzas-Colson Family
South Bend, IN

18 January 2011