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  • Writer's pictureRobert Swanson

Our Sunday. Too Soon for Good-bye.

June 10, 2008 - December 19, 2021

“Even in that brief moment, we have a memory of Sunday we’ll never forget.”

Those words were written to us a few days after Sunday died. They came from a family who met Sunday just one time when they came to take her granddaughter home. Like everyone else who met Sunday, she caught your eye and captured your heart.

Losing Sunday was unexpected and heartbreaking. She was the picture of good health on December 18th. The following morning she didn’t want to rise from her ‘princess bed’ to start the day and have breakfast. We coaxed her downstairs but she wasn’t interested in anything other than lying down. After we finished feeding the other dogs, we encouraged Sunday to go outside. She slowly made her way out the door, but collapsed on the frozen ground. We had to carry her inside. At 13 1/2 years old I knew age wasn’t on our side, but held onto hope as we rushed to the emergency vet.

I’ve been down the “old dog” road so many times and there is still nothing quite as sad as watching your best friend and companion of so many years being lifted onto a gurney and disappearing into a hospital. The wait for the prognosis is close to unbearable as you cycle through every possible scenario, always avoiding the worst.

Sunday had internal bleeding that was going to be very difficult to stabilize. At her age I would not put her through surgery or chemotherapy to prolong her life. If I made that decision, I would be making it for us and not for Sunday. It is just so hard knowing that the next time you see her, you are going to say good-bye. And how do you not cry every time you think back on those final moments together?

Sunday was one of two girls in a litter of five. Her mother was the once-in-a-lifetime Sophie and her sire was the Scottish import Harry. Sunday was very much Sophie’s daughter and definitely Scout’s granddaughter. The girls of Overlook are full of personality, brains stubbornness! That was our Sunday.

As she grew, she never missed a moment to show her independence. When Sunday didn’t want to do something, Sunday didn’t do something! She was so incredibly smart and easy to train. She enjoyed agility training when she was young and never met a jump she didn’t like or a tire or dog walk that didn’t intrigue. “Over”! “Over”! we would yell and Sunday would sail over the jumps. Age never stopped her.

The one trait that truly set Sunday apart was her sense of humor. We didn’t nickname her “Goof” for nothing! She would grab as many things in her mouth as possible and prance around the yard, head held high and a crazy wagging tail! And nobody could take anything away from her. She loved to be chased, even with a mouth full of sticks and a ball and who knows what else!

Sunday was also the queen of the somersaults! Early on she learned to throw herself down on the ground, grab her back leg and roll down the hill. It never mattered if she was just bathed and groomed…when she had the urge to roll, she went for it!

For years we have spent our weekends at the beach in East Hampton, Long Island. Sunday has been the one dog that has been a constant companion on these trips. For a dog who doesn’t like to swim, I’m not sure how she managed to snag a key seat to the beach. But she loved it. She would go in as far as her feet staying on the ground and loved to stalk the seagulls as she patrolled the beach. Even as she got older, the beach was her place. She always brought copious amounts of sand into the house due to a coat that was incredibly thick. In fact, that coat never took a day off from shedding. As much as I hate to vacuum, I miss all that hair that littered the bedroom carpet. A clean floor only reminds me that Sunday is no longer here.

Sunday was a wonderful Mom to several litters of puppies. She was an integral part of my breeding program. Her daughters, Summer and Sailor, and granddaughters, Sierra and Stassi, are everything I hoped they would be. Her son, Sterling, is a joy and all of these kids share the best parts of their Mom and bring us joy every day.

With the onset of Covid, Sunday made herself Chad’s “office wife” as she sat under his desk as he worked from home. She waited upstairs for him to finish his workout in the morning because she knew he would give her a treat (many treats). She would follow him downstairs, pull up some floor or settle on the special bed we bought for her. She would stay there for hours, content to be with Chad as he worked his magic with clients. Chad loved Sunday more than any other dog. Her face is tattooed on his forearm and Sunday is his most favorite password. She was his “Princess” and working from home just isn’t the same without her.

Like the others that have gone before, we will miss Sunday everyday. We do now. It will be years before we don’t see her in her old familiar places or forget the crazy way she rolled down the hill or the way she disciplined her puppies. Then again, I know we will never forget anything about the dog that caught your eye and captured your heart, our Sunday.

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