By Jody Fuller
Prior to being saved by the Lee County Humane Society, Cinderella lived in horrific conditions. She most likely lived her life either attached to a chain or in cramped quarters. Either way, she was enslaved. She had one purpose. She bred litter after litter of little pit bulls. She wasn’t trained. She wasn’t cared for.
She was simply a money maker. Cinderella wasn’t loved, that is, until she found her glass slipper in the form of a young woman named Lucy, who renamed her Sadie.
Make no mistake about it. Sadie was Lucy’s dog, but I did love her. I took care of her as much as anyone, especially during Lucy’s pregnancy. During our recent month-long stay at UAB, my mother-in-law and Klepper, one of my best friends, alternated in taking care of Sadie and crew.
Sadie tested my patience more than any dog I’ve ever had or had to care for. She had “accidents” several times a day. She was also food aggressive. To top things off, she wanted to eat Maggie, Lucy’s cat. That wasn’t cool.
Sadie was, however, a very sweet dog. She was abnormally timid and was afraid of her own shadow. It was sad. As a pit, wasn’t she supposed to be this ferocious monster? Some may think so, but that just wasn’t the case. Her past continued to haunt her, even though she was in a very loving home, and, boy was she loved! I loved her, but the girls took it to another level.
Klepper and I fenced in the back yard of the house for the dogs to run around and play without having to be leashed. Most of the dogs were fine without one, but Sadie required one. We were excited to get the fence up so she’d be allowed to run freely. That first day was joyful. She had an incredible time running around with Jude, her buddy. In no time, they were worn out from playing.
The next day, they got out. I don’t know why, but I guess they just didn’t want to be cooped up. I looked for them for hours but to no avail. So, I fixed the fence where they got out, or so I thought. They both came back that evening, scratched up, bloody, and banged up. They’d obviously been chasing something through the woods. I thought they’d learned their lesson. Sadly, I was wrong.
Two days later, I was with them in the back yard. The weather was perfect. They seemed perfectly content taking in the sunshine. I went inside for maybe five minutes. When I came back out, they were gone. They escaped through the same spot. A determined dog is very determined.
I looked for hours, but again, to no avail. I knew they’d be back at some point. I was half right. Around 11:30 that night, Jude came wandering back up, but there was no Sadie. I immediately went back out looking for her. It was well after midnight before I threw in the towel.
I was out the next morning but this time was on foot. Lucy was at home caring for the baby. After about three hours, Klepper, of all people, called. He hadn’t been looking for her, but he’d found her anyway. The news wasn’t good, but at least we could call off the search, and we’d have closure.
Just north of Opelika, I pulled off my sweatshirt, walked out onto US Highway 431, and stopped the Iron Bowl traffic to retrieve our Sadie. It hadn’t been long, so thankfully she still looked good. She didn’t even mess up my sweatshirt. I’d driven by there a half a dozen times. I must have just missed her.
We’re having her cremated, so she’ll always be with us. I cried throughout the day. I can’t explain it. Lucy’s dogs have gotten out a lot over the years, but we’d either find them or they’d eventually stumble on back home. This time, the inevitable happened. Perhaps the pain I felt was for the girls, but then again, Sadie certainly didn’t deserve to go out like that. I don’t know. I just know that in her final days, she’s was loved.
She changed lives. She changed the perception that I had of pit bulls. All dogs go to heaven, they say—even pit bulls. Perhaps one day, we’ll have a pit bull rescue facility in her honor. That’ll be down the road. I don’t know. I just know that she’ll never be forgotten. See you in heaven, Sadie.