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Sheba's Story

My name is Desirae. Last month one of my best friends died of cancer. Her name was Sheba and she was five years old. She had been diagnosed with bone cancer six months before and had her left front leg removed at the shoulder. Still, she was as active and energetic as ever.

We got her three years ago at the local Humane Society. A mix between a Doberman and a Pointer, her looks took a few moments to get used to. Her face had the long sleek appearance and markings of a Doberman. Her chest was white with little brown flecks like a pointer. Her coat was like a pointer's. She had amber colored eyes that belied human intelligence. She was the most beautiful dog in the world.

She had been obedience trained and could sit, shake, heal, stay, and come. Three days after we got her I decided to teach her to roll over. She had mastered the task in fifteen minutes and could do so even after her surgery. A few weeks later I trained her to jump through a Hula Hoop. Several days after that, she learned how to beg. As you can see, she was an extremely intelligent dog. On long walks you could tell her anything and she looked like she was listening (she was you know). She would lay on the couch with her head on your lap and watch t.v. with her head on your lap and sleep with you to keep you warm.

You may not believe me when I tell you that my family and I weren't dog people, but it is true. Within a year of having Sheba, we couldn't imagine life without her.

That was until the cancer came. She took baths on a three foot platform. She never had any trouble jumping on or off. One day, she landed wrong and began to limp. The vet said she probably strained a muscle or something because by the time we got her there she seemed fine. Several weeks later we took her in for x-rays because she didn't seem to feel any better. That was when the bone tumor was diagnosed. She was given six months to live. Her leg was promptly removed. She recovered quickly and resumed all tricks except jumping shaking, and begging.

I neglect to mention that through the time she spent with us, she was not only a companion, but a protector. She would bark at those visibly hurting us (like when we had tickle matches with each other) and when Dad got a little too enthused in his roughhousing, she would, without applying any pressure, place his arm in her mouth and let out a low pitched growl. We were never in any doubt that should the situation called for it she would have given her life for us.

She lived five of the six months she was given. She died peacefully on a Thursday afternoon and was buried after everyone had said their good-byes. Every day I think of her and sometimes call out to her when I come home from school. At first I remind myself that she isn't really there and then realize that she always will be. Through our love for her and hers for us, her memory will always remain as will her spirit be there to protect us.

Some may say that it was not worth it. All that grief over a DOG!? I can not express to them well enough that she was not a DOG, she was SHEBA, my friend, companion, protector, footwarmer, playmate, and so much more. Some say we would have been better off never having her. Never having her would mean that I would never have any of those wonderful memories of eating fritos and watching cartoons with my thigh as her pillow or walking down the street with dogs barking in all directions and her calmly walking by, or of her licking away my tears when I cried, nonjudgmental, or of any of the billions of memories I have of her. I am much better off having known that unconditional love and loyalty even if it meant a lot of tears in the end.

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