The Watering Hole Blog

Celebrating Sadie

Sadie in back yard high quality

Celebrate Good Times – Saying Goodbye to Sadie Pope


“Our animal friends teach us
More than we could have expected…
And love us
More than we could have hoped…

…That’s why we miss them
More than we could have imagined.”

– Anon

“I don’t have good news,” the vet said, after examining the x-ray of Sadie’s left wrist.

And in my heart of hearts I knew what news what coming…

Bone cancer.

Oddly enough, it was an ear infection I’d taken Sadie in to see the vet on Friday June 21st, 2019. Although I’d noticed her wrist had been swollen for the past two weeks, I hadn’t taken her to the vet to have it checked because…well, because deep down, I guess I knew something bigger was brewing and I didn’t want to face it.

But for me not to have marched Sadie into the nearest vet at the mere hint of an ailment was very uncharacteristic. That dog received better healthcare than most people on the planet.

In fact, because of her severe arthritis, as well as injuries from relentless ball-chasing, Sadie had been to so many different vets throughout the Western States & Canada that her regular vet teased me that the only way he was able to keep track of where I was at any given time was by the Sadie-updates sent to him by other vets…from Okotoks, Alberta to Newport, Oregon to Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

Anyway, after telling me the news that Sadie had both a tumor and a fracture on her left wrist, the vet laid out my limited options:

#1) Cancel my trip to Equador and stay home with Sadie as she succumbed to a very painful and fast-spreading cancer.

#2) Go on my trip and leave Sadie with her caregiver and take the (highly likely) chance of Sadie going downhill on his watch (without me).

#3) Put Sadie down before leaving on my trip.

I chose the third option and, according to the vet, by doing so both Sadie & I were likely spared an extremely difficult – and painful – month or two (she likely wouldn’t have lived longer than that with her diagnosis).

And so…at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday June 22nd, I bid farewell to my beloved buddy. Sadie’s passing was peaceful…for her. But I’m not going to lie…for me, it was excruciating. As I sat on the floor of the vet clinic, petting Sadie and comforting her as she prepared to pass between life and death, I could feel the waves of hurt surging up from deep within myself. It was brutal.

And I just went through this with my dog, Soda, five years ago…and Sable three years before that! But as Shakespeare said, it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

After Sadie had passed, I sobbed my home, threw my suitcase in the CRV and headed to my friend, Lynne’s, place in Abbotsford – extremely thankful I didn’t have to spend a single second more in the house without my Sadie.

But here’s the amazing thing: although Sadie’s sudden death was akin to having a Band-Aid ripped off the old heart, the emotional aftermath – the grief – was surprisingly…brief.

One day I was scratching Sadie behind the ear as she passed away; the next day I was on a plane to Equador. In hindsight, it was as if the Universe had airlifted me – literally – out of the grieving process.

Maybe I’ve wasted too much precious time over the past two decades grieving? Click To Tweet

At any rate, when Lynne and I joined up with our tour group in Quito, Equador, we hit the ground running (well, okay…walking slowly due to the high altitude). And in the days to follow, I was too damn busy having fun, laughing, seeing new sites, experiencing new adventures, eating new food and meeting new people to be sad.

And the more I thought about Sadie, the more I realized how silly it was to be sad. She’d had an incredible life (a heck of a lot better than the flea-ridden dogs in Equador, let me tell you!). Our five years together had been chock-full of fun, adventure, road trips…and many, many orange & blue chuck-it balls.

Then, one morning at breakfast a few days into our trip, Charlie (who put the tour together), said to the group something to the effect of: “This trip is a celebration of life.”

Clunk went the coin as the truth hit me like a ton of bricks: I needed to be celebrating Sadie’s life versus mourning her death. Click To Tweet

And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing…or trying to, anyway.

Now that I’m back home again and have had a few days to be in the house without her, I admit I miss her terribly. But then I look at a photo of her and see her big grin (on the rare occasion she didn’t have a ball stuffed in her mouth) and I can’t help but smile myself 🙂

In celebrating Sadie’s life, here are 3 things that stand out the most for me:

#1) Her joy…she was always smiling!

#2) Her love of new adventure (which made her the perfect road trip companion).

#3) Her relentless focus. Sadie the retriever took retrieving very seriously. Some have called her ball-obsession a bit OCD. But Sadie was born to retrieve and by God, that’s exactly what she did, day in and day out. May we all learn from Sadie’s intense focus. I sure have.

Here are some of my favourite photos:

Sadie & MA in Utah


Bring back the Expos!


Always in style…


Happy times together, California


The one time Sadie WASN’T smiling (or holding a ball in her mouth) because someone was holding her dinner HOSTAGE!


The look on Kitty Meow’s face is priceless…oh the indignity of a DOG not letting me in my own home!


Serious Sadie in her Russian hat


Relaxing by the fire…


Happy campers!

I was laughing out loud, putting these fabulous photos into this blog…hooray!

And look what just arrived in the mail…

Sadie blanket by Print Your Pet

A cozy blanket with smiling Sadie Pope…sent to me by my wonderful friend, Kristin! The blanket was made by a company called Print Your Pet. I LOVE it!!

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here.

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20 thoughts on “Celebrating Sadie”

  1. Oh Maryanne, I’m crying as I read this as I know how much joy Sadie brought you. And me, too, because whenever I saw a photo of her smiling face she put a smile on mine. And I always could feel how much love you had for her and she for you. What a beautiful, loyal dog she was.

    She sure was lucky to have found you? and what an adventure you both lived.

  2. Great article Maryanne & glad you had the time with Sadie to enjoy life & that after her passing you were able to keep busy & take your trip. The love our furry friends leave in our hearts can only be understood by a person that has pets & that amazing & special bond that only a Golden Retriever owner know can understand the special bond with them & what that loving, happy, silly, smart & caring dog breed brings to one’s life. Although our heart breaks or shatters when they have rob leave us, the memories & love they have filled our hearts with is the glue that mends it. Don’t worry, Sadie is in good company with our Dudley & Brinkley that passed away about 3 yrs ago. Loved all the great pictures of Sadie!!

  3. I’m sorry you’ve had to say goodbye to your girl Sadie! But, I LOVE that you’ve found the joy in celebrating your time together!
    Until we got our lab pup last winter, I didn’t realize how much I’d missed having a dog.
    Thanks for sharing Sadie’s story with me 🙂

  4. Gosh how I feel your pain on this (and agree on celebrating their great life as well) Even though my pup, Jax, still has a long life ahead of him, at times I dread the day he will no longer be here. Making that decision at the end, as to which will be their last day and spending those moments with them is just so gut-wrenching. Really happy that you had this trip booked and were able to focus on other things for a bit. And so cool, that you met a Golden Retriever on your journey!

  5. I am so honoured to have spent a few fabulous days with Sadie Pope! She is all you have described. Such a gentle nature that brings warmth to anyone who happens to be in her protection.
    She is now happier because of her lack of pain but I do know that she misses her Maryanne Pope. She is watchng over you…so…go for it!
    Would love to hear about the trip and please come up for a visit anytime. We do have our Ginger, the lab who looks like Sadie, for a few more days.
    Hugs, Louise

  6. That was beautiful Maryanne!!! I expected to get teary, but instead was grinning from ear to ear. Thank you for this. xoxo


  7. What a wonderful celebration blog!what sweet and joyful memories you have. You are correct in saying that Sadie had a special life and adventures galore with you. The smile and the ball will be my top memories. Hugs ?

  8. We too had a much loved dog. He was our son’s dog and when our son died she became extra special to us. She lived a very long life – 15+ years and it was a very difficult decision to have her put down when she no longer could get up the steps and her eyesight and hearing were failing. It took us quite a few years before we thought we would get another pet. We now have a very active border terrier who again is a much loved dog. They truly are “man’s best friend”!

  9. Hi Marj! I remember hearing about your son’s dog years ago…that dog was very special to you for many reasons. I totally understand that. It is so difficult to see them get older and then finally having to say goodbye. But I am so thrilled to hear you have a young ‘un Border Terrier now who is keeping you hopping!
    Hugs from Vancouver Island,

  10. Oh yes…you and Kevin got to see Sadie in action – ball in mouth – a few times!! SO glad you got to meet her 🙂

    Hope you are having a great summer!

  11. Hooray! So glad this Celebrating Sadie blog made you smile!!! That is great 🙂
    I look forward to meeting Belle!!

  12. Hi Louise! I look forward to coming up to Fanny Bay for a visit in August…hopefully Ginger will be around. I’m glad you got to meet Sadie – that was a fun weekend we all had a couple of months ago!
    PS I heard you got a chance to thoroughly enjoy my new TV a couple of weeks ago 🙂

  13. Thanks T! Yes, you are absolutely right…those last few days are so flippin’ difficult – making the brutal decision that must be made and then actually saying goodbye. Sigh…it’s all part of this journey, I know, but SO hard 🙁
    Hugs and have a great rest of the summer with Jax!

  14. Hi Cathy! Isn’t that the truth – you don’t realize how much you miss having a dog around until you get one again…and then you can’t remember life without one! It is VERY strange not having Sadie around the house. It’s awfully quiet. Thankfully a neighbourhood cat has started to pop by every couple of days just to meow hello & have a look around 🙂
    Have a fun summer with your lab!

  15. Hi Henry! Thank you so much for your kind words about Miss Sadie. I know how difficult it was for you guys to have to say goodbye to Dudley & Brinkley (love their names!)…ouch is right when our furry friends leave us.

  16. Thank you, Sarah! You got to hear more Sadie stories (and see ALL her photos!) than most with all the e-mailing & social media we do for work!! Yes, I miss her terribly but then I look at her smiling photo and I can’t help but smile myself. She had a terrific life…what fun we had, eh?!
    Hope you’re having a great summer!

  17. You guys will miss Sadie, for sure! It will be really weird when you come to visit…no furry face with ball in mouth greeting you at the door 🙁
    But don’t worry, I will keep you busy unpacking more of my boxes…ahahahahaha!

  18. Maryanne this post hit the perfect notes, because in one moment it had me feeling incredibly sad, but in the next I was feeling complete joy.

    The image of being on the floor with Sadie, comforting her and having your final moments as she passed from life to death – that really hit me hard.

    But how beautiful the three points of reflection are. Adventure, joy, focus. Yes we could all learn from that. And what a fine collection of photos too. Sadie really was an amazing dog and companion.

    How crazy is it that I never met her, but through your blog, emails, and photos; I can’t help but feel like I knew her. And as such, I know I’m going to miss her too, whilst also celebrating the time she’s been in my life also.

    This post was a wonderful tribute and I’m sure Sadie would be proud.

    Elliot 🙂

  19. Thank you so much for your kind words, Elliot! I really appreciate that…and yes, I hope Sadie would be proud. I think so 🙂

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