Young Satch

Junior Years

Coming Home
I got Satch soon after my Toy Poodle died. My friend Jackie heard someone advertising a 1.5 yr old Yorkshire Terrier on the local radio call-in-ad program and said I should go take a look since I had casually mentioned that I might want a Yorkie for my next dog. When we went to look at Satch, I had to pull him out from under the couch. Fortunately, he didn't bite me when I reached for him. He was a shy dog then, intimidated by the two other dogs in the house and I was told this before I actually decided to take him home with me. Satch didn't have any official registration papers because his mother, who was also there when I went to see Satch, was never registered. It was obvious to me that both these dogs were purebred, not that that would have mattered to me at the time. I decided to take Satch home (how could I not? He was just too cute.) despite his lack of personality. The first two days were absolutely hell to say the least. Satch wouldn't let me touch him and actually jumped out of an open window about four feet from the ground outside to get away from me when I tried to pick him up off the bed. My roommate at the time had to chase him down the middle of the highway and literally run him down to catch him. Thank doG, no cars were coming! The third morning as I was making the bed, Satch finally decided I was okay and pounced on my hand that was wiggling under the covers. That was the beginning of our very long term relationship and from that moment on he was absolutely *my* dog.

I took Satch almost everywhere with me except work and I came home each day at lunch to let him out and play with him. During the first five years Satch went to the barn, the store (often tucked under my armpit while I shopped), jet trips in cabin when we went back to Maryland for visits. My mother loved him and when I would go out in the evenings to visit my friends, Satch would sit quietly beside her on her chair and she would gently pet him.

Satch, The Escape Artist
I took Satch with me in the summer of 1985 when I went to Virginia be a working student on a dressage farm; grooming and mucking horses and stalls in exchange for my riding lessons. At first, I thought I would leave him in the utility room of my sister's house during the day because it was so hot and humid and I knew I couldn't leave him in my car. The first day I left him in the utility room with the back door open so he could "enjoy" the back yard. Satch decided to escape under the fence. My sister got a call at work from a neighbor telling her that her sister's little Yorkie was roaming the streets. She had to run home from work. Luckily, by this time he was used to strange people picking him up and allowed her catch him. The next day, I decided to disallow access to the back yard and left him in the utility room with the back door closed. With no escape route, he spent the day digging up my sister's brand new carpet on the top step of the utility room, apparently trying to dig under the door! Cost me $50 to replace the rug in that area! From then on, Satch went to the barn with me (this is what he wanted to do anyway) and was allowed to be loose in the barn if he stayed close to me while I was grooming and mucking. While I rode, he had to be closed up in the tack room. He yapped incessantly for the rest of the summer each time I would put him in the tack room. He definitly wasn't the kind of dog who could be separated from me.

Satch's Switzer Pack
While I lived with Jackie in Switzer Trailer Court, Satch had a doggie door to the outside world but unfortunately, no fenced yard. This court allowed only small dogs under 14" and he was well within height range. Satch would go through the dog door and sit on the top step of the porch and wait until the pack of about five little marauding dogs would come by and "pick him up". He and the pack roamed free throughout the court but always came home when the fun was over. Obviously, I am a more responsible dog owner now and wouldn't consider allowing any of my dogs roam free! But Satch survived even that....

Adult Satch

Adult Years...

Amorous Satch
Another famous story about Satch was at my mother's funeral. My mom died in June and on short notice, I flew back east and Satch went with me, of course. Everyone went to the funeral and then came back to the house for the "wake". It was a dour scene with noone talking much because we really didn't know what to say. That was, until Satch decided to "perform" for the entire crowd of about 50 people. He had been playing in the back yard with a spayed female dog from next door. I wasn't paying very close attention to Satch because he liked to play with other dogs, no matter how big they were. Remember, this was the same shy dog I had to pull out from under the couch. Satch, who had never been bred, must have gotten himself turned on by the foreplay with the other dog and had figured out a way to give himself alot of pleasure without actually mounting the bitch. And so, in the middle of my mother's very nicely manicured back yard, with everyone watching, he began to "do his thing". One of my mother's close friends had flown in from Texas for the event and she said to me, "What is he doing?". Just as the words crossed her lips, she realized what he was doing and broke out in this high pitched cackling laughter that was so contagious no one could resist NOT laughing....except me, of course. I was totally and completely demoralized by my 7 lb. bundle of "LOVE". It was a good thing, though, because after Satch's performance, everyone was in a much more lighthearted mood and we spent several hours hashing over the good times we had spent with mom.

Satch The Protector
During the same trip home, my sister and I were sleeping in the rec room in twin beds. My sister got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. When she returned, she apparently woke Satch up and he flew off the bed in a frenzy barking and growling and almost causing my sister to have a heart attack it scared her so badly...He backed her right up against the wall. By this time, I was awake and had to go pull Satch off my sister. That was quite an experience.

Satch The Hiker
Satch also loved hiking...alot more than I did, that's for sure. At one point I dated a guy who was a semi-jock and he wanted to take me up the West Mendenhall Glacier Trail so I could have the experience of standing on the Glacier. This is a three mile hike, one way, on a not so gradually climbing switchbacked trail. We brought along plenty of water and trail mix to munch on as well as a lunch and decided to make a day of it. Satch must have run 20 miles by the time it was over. He would run ahead on the trail, and then run back and bark incessantly and run ahead again. Our little Bear Warning System. When we stopped to rest, Satch would crash out and sleep...he was exhausted but he wouldn't quit. He felt it was his duty to blaze that trail and keep us informed of anything that might be happening ahead! When we got to the top of the trail, Jeff went onto the glacier with Satch (I declined because there was a rather large cravass that had to be crossed and I'm a chicken) and Jeff took the picture of Satch standing on the Mendenhall Glacier with his hair blowing in the breeze. That was one of Satch's finest moments.

Another Escape Story
A few years later, while dating my husband, I again went South on a trip and decided to leave Satch with Karl at home. Karl loved Satch and Satch endeared himself to Karl right away...well once Satch decided that it was my choice that Karl was sleeping with us and gave up growling every time Karl got in bed...anyway, back to the story...Karl, at the time, was working for a trucking company that pulled containerized freight off the Alaska State Ferrys. Karl drove out to the terminal and took Satch with him. He left Satch briefly in the cab of the tractor to go see when the ferry would be in. The window of the tractor was halfway up and somehow Satch managed to climb up the window and jump out! Yikes...that tractor was probably at least six feet from the hard pavement. And not only that, when Karl returned to the tractor a few minutes later, Satch was no where to be found! Karl had to pull the trailers off the ferry and return them to the yard. As soon as he could, he went back to the terminal to look for Satch and there he was, apparently no worse for wear, quietly waiting for someone to "find" him. This was the second, but not the last time Satch would prove indestructible from jumping out of they car or house.

Senior Satch

Senior Years...

Around about the time when we thought Satch probably wouldn't be around much longer, Karl took a liking to the Miniature Pinscher breed. I decided to get Karl a Min Pin for his birthday and Beamer came into our household. We were just getting ready to buy a house and it seemed like the right time. Beamer arrived in May of Satch's 10th year and from the day that Beamer arrived, Satch hated his guts for no apparent reason other than they were both males. He had never exhibited this kind of behavior around any other dog. Satch decided it was his job to stalk Beamer's every move and keep close track of him even when Beamer was sleeping and also when Satch should have been sleeping. Satch would sit by the couch just below where Beamer was sleeping for hours on end just waiting for Beamer to move. When Beamer would move, Satch would go on attack mode...but there was no danger because by this time most of Satch's teeth had been removed. This went on for the last seven years of Satch's life.

Satch Goes On Vacation
Karl and I decided to take a leave of absence to travel in the winter of 1994-95. We considered trying to farm Satch out to one of our relatives, but to be honest, no one wanted to take care of him for five months...So we left in October of 1994 with all four dogs in tow (by this time we had acquired Beamer's dam and another female Min Pin, Fanny). We traveled across country visiting with friends and relatives in a 85 Ford Van with four dogs! Needless to say it was quite a trip but it actually was fun and the dogs had a good time. Along the way, we bought a camper trailer and made that our home on the road.

We went to look at some German Pinschers one day and left all the dogs in the car. When we were leaving, the breeder walked out to the car with us and had one of her GP's along with her. I opened the van door and Satch was doing his normal "happy to see you" yapping. The GP obviously didn't like the noise and dove into the van and had Satch by the throat in an instant. Karl was right on the GP's tail and was able to get ahold of the GP's collar and twist it until the GP finally released Satch. Satch was shaken but looked okay so we went on our way. Satch had a very sore neck but had survived again. He definitly was a survivor.

The Glue Boards
We stopped to see my Aunt Ceil in Akron, Ohio for a couple days. She warned us that she had glue boards set up in the garage to catch mice and that her son's dog had gotten caught up in the boards, so we should watch our dogs. We thought we were but it's a little hard to keep track of four dogs in a strange house and somehow Satch slipped out into the garage and got himself stuck on the boards. Luckily Karl missed him before it was too late....Satch was stuck to the board with both front feet and his nose was also stuck. It took a good month to get rid of all the glue on his paws. Once again, Satch survived a close call!

Satch seemed to really enjoy the trip...sniffing everything along his path. He was beginning to show his age by this time but he could still get up and romp when he wanted to. Later on in the trip, I entered an obedience trial in Texas with Beamer. We got to Texas late Thursday, found a really nice Texas State Campground and went into find the trial site, about 20 miles from camp, on Friday. Saturday we went to the trial and left Satch and the other dogs in the van with the windows cracked and the shades all drawn so they would stay cool inside. After the trial, we walked to the car and Satch must have heard us coming because when I opened the door (remember that all the shades were drawn), he launched himself from the front seat onto the pavement as soon as I opened the door. He knocked himself out this time, but I thought he was dead. His little nose was bleeding and he was limp. I freaked out and, after we deterimed he was still breathing, I wanted to find a vet as soon as possible. It was a good chance there was one in the house as this was a trial site. Karl saw him move just as we were discussing what to do next and Satch came around. He was dazed but after a few minutes he was walking again and again seemed no worse for the wear. His neck was sore but he bounced back and, after a few days, was back to his old self...stalking Beamer and enjoying the ride.

The last six months Satch was with us, he began to have trouble getting up and down the 2 stairs into the dog yard and would go on the porch to potty. Karl was somewhat disgusted by this, I think, although I always cleaned it up right away. Anyway, Karl decided to build Satch a little handicapped ramp to the dog yard complete with asphalt shingles for traction. I told Karl that he would never teach Satch, at this age, to use a ramp. Satch's sight was pretty bad by now but dog gone if Karl didn't shuffle Satch over to and down the ramp enough times that Satch caught on. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? This gave Satch a new lease on life for about four more months. He really enjoyed spring and early summer in the yard and would spend time walking around and sniffing the air.

It was a really tough decision to put Satch to sleep but he seemed uncomfortable all the time. He would whine off and on all night and sometimes fall (or jump, I never knew) off the bed. He was having trouble breathing and walking. It was time and I knew it. It is probably the hardest single decision I've ever had to make. How do you really know if their quality of life is suffering? My clue was that he was no longer stalking Beamer which had been the primary purpose of his life for the last seven years. Maybe he'll get better next week....all this stuff goes through your head before you make the final decision. The day I decided, he had been awake most of the night, and had been wandering around aimlessly for a couple days. He had quit stalking Beamer even when Beamer walked right past him. He had been having trouble getting up and down the ramp all weekend. I made an appointment with the vet on Monday. It was a beautiful gorgeous summer day. Of course, Satch decided that he could now get up and down the ramp and spent the day going back and forth from the yard to the house and I thought about cancelling the appointment but in my heart I knew it was time. He had a peaceful last day on this earth. It was hard but I decided because he had been so loyal to me all his life that I just couldn't leave him with the vet, a stranger. So I stayed with Satch while they gave him the final injection and I watched him relax his body completely for the first time in what seemed like years. The vet did a quick exam before he gave him the injection and reassured me that I had made the right choice. His little old body had just plain wore out!

Satch led a long and lively life and was a true terrier through and through. He drove me nuts for years with his constant and incessant barking at nothing. Little did I know what I was getting into that day when I pulled him from under that couch. He was always a loyal companion. He was one of the best travelled pets in America and had more freedom than most dogs ever get. He was a survivor and lucky despite my lack of responsibility for his welfare in the early years...He is sorely missed and will always be a part of our lives in our memories....I'll see in the next life, Satch.