Yesterday, we lost a dear friend. Her name was Sierra.
Sierra was a Black Lab/Rottweiler mix. The Rotty in her made her tough and she never put up with any bull from other dogs, but her heart was so kind. She was often referred to as "Big Puppy" and even though she was over 16 years old, she was indeed a puppy at heart. A puppy with incredibly soulful brown eyes. I want to share some pictures of her with you and hopefully by the end of this blog post, you'll get an idea of the "huggy bear" that she was.
Mr. H and his parents got Sierra when she was about 6 months old. She was, as her name implies, born in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. She was owned by a fireman who couldn't keep her and by way of his father, she made her way to Texas and into our family. I didn't meet Sierra until she was about 6 years old. She was indeed an Alpha female, but she welcomed me with wet nose kisses from the very beginning.
Meeting Autumn was a different story though. I don't think she ever felt threatened by Autumn, she was just annoyed by her. ha! Autumn was 11 years younger than her and she could run laps around her- and she did. She was ALWAYS kissing all over her and wagging her tail in her face. They seemed completely opposite, but mostly it was because of their age difference. Autumn has more energy than she knows what to do with and Sierra was always calm and just wanted to chill. Sierra quickly realized that Autumn wasn't going anywhere and she accepted her. She even began to enjoy her company and would look forward to coming over to our house to play. When we'd go over there Autumn would run into every room looking for her friend until she found her and she greet her with wet kisses. Towards the end, it was as if seeing Autumn gave her a little more energy. She seemed a little more lively and she was comforted by her presence. Autumn was so sweet with her too. She was gentle and careful to walk around without disturbing her. She was tender and caring and so affectionate towards her. She was very concerned about her friend.
She was never a cuddly dog, nor was she a prissy thing. When she was little she'd play with a tennis ball or two, but she couldn't be bothered to play with toys or squeaky stuffed animals- she was too cool for that. She was independent and could do everything on her own. She didn't need to be kissed and rubbed to feel loved. Of course she did LOVE to have her rump scratched and if you stopped, she circle back around until your hand wound up on her back end so you'd could continue to give her some lovin'. If you wanted to rub her soft as silk ears, she was okay with that too.
'Sweet' was her middle name... as long as you didn't get between her and her chew bone :-) It was always funny too see her and Autumn be so territorial over their chews. Then they'd give up the act and switch chews and head in different directions to devour them. Sierra was a little bully though so if she wanted Autumn's chew then she'd get it. Autumn was happy to give it up- anything for her friend.
She was a great traveller and loved to ride around in the back of their SUV. She had her own ramp to help her get in the truck but she had a routine. First she's like to go around the front of the truck then make her way to the back- all on her own time. I had the opportunity to travel with her to Durango and to Santa Fe over the years and she was just as interested in getting out of the truck, taking potty breaks and exploring as much as we were. She was just as happy riding to the doggy park to let loose and chase squirrels too.
Sierra also loved my baking. One of the first things I ever baked when I got together with Mr. H was homemade vanilla wafers. I took the time to stack them and roll them in plastic wrap and tie the ends with ribbons. They made it to Mr. H's parents house and onto the coffee table where his mom was sampling and enjoying them. Sierra somehow snuck over and ate them all when no one was looking. Most recently, I made cinnamon raisin bread and sent a loaf to my in-laws. Sierra lost her appetite and hadn't been eating much over the last couple weeks. I suggested they skip the canned dog food and try some scrambled eggs- she scarfed them up. After a couple days when she tired of eggs, she turned to my cinnamon swirl bread and ate half a loaf :-) That was okay though because most days she refused to eat anything.
Finally a doctor and a tech (which was also her pet sitter) came over after hours to relieve her. They gave her a sedative to keep her calm even though she hadn't moved in hours. Her eyes would blink and her brows would move around when she heard Autumn or someone walk by, but she was just so still. They gave her a shot and within seconds she was gone. At peace. And so still. It was very difficult to watch and it happened so fast but it would have been selfish of us to have kept her any longer. She lived a wonderful life and she was very well taken care of. She brought immense joy to our lives and we will miss her always.