Goodbye Sage

Garris called me about an hour ago to tell me that his dog, Sage, was dead.

A neighbor accidentally hit her because Sage was out on the road. Garris was crying. I was instantly pissed.

I have told him for two years that he needed to keep her home. When he has her here, at my house, I don’t let her run loose. She has to be in the house or in the pen. The only time she’s loose outside is when we are out there.

Different rules at his dad’s house. There are no rules. They turn the dogs out in the morning and don’t worry about them until the end of the day. All three dogs over there run all over the neighborhood all day long. I have heard from several of his neighbors that they have almost hit one of the dogs multiple times.  I figured Garris’ beagle would be the one to get killed.

But instead it was Sage. I took him to the shelter two years ago and he picked out what we thought was a cow dog puppy. She was one of the sweetest dogs I had ever seen. And one of the smartest. She grew into a glorious mutt, with little to no cow dog instincts. But that was okay.

I had concerns about the way Garris took care of her. Or rather, the way he didn’t take care of her. She was much too thin. When she was at my house, she was constantly hungry. But Garris never fed or watered her unless I told him to. He didn’t let her out to go to the bathroom. And he didn’t worry about her.  I contemplated more than once about taking charge of her until he decided to get serious about her. But I didn’t want to have a pissing match with him.

So I watched out for her when she was here and held my breath when he went back to his dad’s house.

Sage didn’t deserve this. And had Garris and his dad been acting responsibly, it wouldn’t have happened. Because she wouldn’t have been on the road at all.  Garris has mocked me in the past because I keep watch over my dogs and don’t let them run. He thinks I should do what his dad does.

“Your dogs don’t get to do anything!” he has said.

I disagree. They are companions. And the ones that like going out to chore with me get to do that. But the ones that don’t mind me stay in the house. Most of my dogs are rescues. And I think they are content being house dogs. They live a good life- getting fed regularly, sleeping as much as they want, and getting loved on a lot.

Part of having dogs is keeping them safe. And keeping them from infringing on other people’s property.

That is what I truly don’t understand with his dad. He knows his dogs are at other people’s places throughout the day. And he seems to think that’s perfectly acceptable. So many people who buy an acreage have this mentality that their dogs are welcomed at everyone’s front door. That just isn’t the case.

It is too simple to teach your dog to stay home. If you’re unwilling to do that, then build a pen and keep them inside that. And accidents happen. Sometimes latches break and dogs get loose. Sometimes they jump. Sometimes the gates don’t get closed all the way. That is a completely different situation. And one that doesn’t happen every day.

But to knowingly and intentionally allow dogs to run is rude behavior. And it’s neglect.

Garris spent a good hour burying his dog today. I only hope that painful lesson showed him how important it is to be more vigilant when he is entrusted to care for animals. Because right now, I am sorely disappointed in his efforts.

Goodbye sweet Sage. I am sorry.

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