Sierra's Strength

Things had quietened down a little and we were somewhat back in a routine. I once remember having a discussion with the girls about our favorite type of dogs. We all agreed on many breeds including the Siberian Husky. I had mentioned this conversation to a friend and a few weeks later I got a call telling me her neighbor knew someone that had Siberian Husky puppies. Immediately, I said, “no way, we already have a dog”. She told me how cute they were and I just had to see them. Before I knew it I was driving over to look at the puppies with the girls. We knew he had two left - a black and gray female and an allover white female. My girls had their heart set stern on the black and gray one, so they thought. As we drove to see the pups they had already picked her name, ‘Sierra’. I was telling them over and over we are not coming home with a dog. Full of so much emotion for the girls from Mike's recent illness and passing, I agreed to LOOK at the puppies, only. 

We pulled up and saw the white husky running around the lawn. Before I could come to a stop, the doors flew open and the girls were running across the lawn. I laughed to myself at their excitement. With the car parked my brain was asking myself, "What are you doing?" I made my way to the dogs as the white husky came running across the lawn. She was beautiful so carefree and happy. She was running, chasing anything and everything. As she came by me she stopped for a second and looked up at me. That's when I saw her face, one blue eye and one brown. I was sunk. She was a combination of Mike and me. Mike had the bluest eyes like the clear summer sky. I smiled knowing this little puppy was mine and she was coming home with me. How exciting a new puppy, was I crazy! We got the house all ready with new toys for her. I told the girls my one rule…if she bothers or hurts our other dog Zoey, we will not keep her. They all agreed (just like they agreed to walk and feed her). 

 

At home on day one, it was bed time so Sierra went into her crate like a good girl. With everyone settled and me thinking okay this isn't so bad, the barking began. Well, huskies don't bark much they howl, whine and cry then bark. By the next morning I was ready to return her. With a little help from the vet, who I begged for the first appointment the next day, we got Sierra to sleep - at least for about four hours at a time.

Time went by and Sierra was a menace. She ate everything she could find on the ground, the counter, and if she could reach the ceiling she would have ate it, too. We kept a list of what she ate because no one would believe us. She learned to open lunch boxes and eat the leftovers. She discovered how to open shoe boxes and eat new school and ballet shoes. She ate cake off the counter. And once, a turtle and full bone in chicken breast, bone and all. Also, about $50 cash over time. School knee socks - I don't need to tell you how we knew she ate the socks or just about anything else. Her white hair was everywhere and fell out in clumps once a year. Obviously, I did not do my research on huskies. The list goes on and on. 

By now she was a part of our family, at least according to the girls. I was in a strange mind set. Still carrying emotion of grief and guilt from Mike’s death, I went through the motions in a daze tending to Sierra like I did everything else in life. Then one day she came up and sat next to me laying her head in my lap so I began to talk to her. I told her how I felt about Mike and babbled on about everything. She would look right in my eyes like she understood every word I was saying. I enjoyed our talks and looked forward to them.

 

If you know anything about huskies they have a ton of energy and need to run and walk and run some more. So to stop the chewing and eating of my house I decided to go to the dog park often. Keeping to myself, I would walk alone as she ran forever. I couldn't wait until the hour was up so I could go home and shut the door to the world. One day I was pulling into the park and Sierra was jumping around in the car as usual. As we got out of the car she pulled on me begging to let her go. I trudged pulling back dragging my feet with my head down. I set her free to run and began my normal solitude walk, but today something different happened. A kind woman began to talk to me. Rolling my eyes and grunting under my breath I barely listened to her. I thought, "Please Sierra run fast and let's get out if here". The woman continued to talk as we walked and I listened more. Before I knew it, I was answering her and talking more and more. That was the beginning of me opening up and starting to look forward to our dog park outings.

 

Not only did Sierra need to run but she needed many daily walks as well. We all know the girls did not walk her so there I went on my way around the neighborhood block. Again, I would usually keep my head down and mouth shut. As time went by and neighbors said hello, I began to say hi back, instead of just smiling. Soon, they began to walk with Sierra and me. I met neighbors who lived doors away for the last 5 years that I never even had spoken to before. 

Sierra began to grow on me and she started to obey more. We did dog training together. I started getting up an hour early and taking a mile walk with her before school. I talked to people, got invited over for barbecues, happy hours, and holidays. Little by little, I found myself through my grief and starting fighting my way out. I had a long uphill battle but Sierra helped me, starting me in a direction to find my way. Without realizing at the time, Sierra was one of those who saved me. Saved me from depression, loneliness, guilt, and to this day is still a great listener. I joke and say we have a love-hate relationship….but I think its more love.