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Sasuke was my younger, Navy son's German Shepherd dog, acquired by him from a breeder in Bahrain, when he was deployed there. I think what my son was hoping for was partly a companion and partly a guard. I don't think he clearly understood what he was in for, or what it would take to make that intelligent, dominant male dog able to live successfully with humans. Which is too bad, because that basically sweet, lovable, funny critter deserved a better life and death than he ended up having.

I did not actually come into this story until Sasuke was around 2 years old and Brendan ran into his first situation where he was unable to have the dog with him. Brendan really wanted his father to take care of the dog, since Tim had a bigger, fenced yard and was in a less urban environment, but he refused, for good reasons of his own, to take that burden on. So, soft-hearted mom that I was and am; not wanting my son to have to give up his pet, I took Sasuke on for a 6 1/2 month period.
Sasuke, older, again taken by either Junko Suzuki or Brendan McLaughlin, in Bahrain.
The first time I tried to take him for a walk, he literally pulled me off my feet and dragged me down my driveway. You can see by this that he wasn't a very well-trained dog! Consultation with the vet resulted in purchase of a "gentle leader," which made a big difference in being able to not be hauled down the street willy-nilly when I took him for a walk, but he was still a handful--un-neutered, and equivalent to a teen-ager, with all the hormonal behavior that accompanies that stage of life. After a frightening episode at a friend's place, when he got away from me and ran down an older woman and her female dog who were walking by, trying to do you-can-guess-what with the poor little dog, I put my foot down with my son and insisted he allow me to get Sasuke neutered, or I was going to take him to the Humane Society! I also pleaded with him to pay for some training. Brendan agreed to having him neutered and paid for one lesson with a professional trainer, which helped, but really wasn't enough. After one more scary episode when Sasuke nipped a woman bystander while on a walk, fortunately not seriously, (she was behind a hedge and I didn't see her until it was too late; I think she startled both me and the dog) I was very glad to deliver him back to my son, who had completed the training period during which he could not have the animal, and had been deployed to a duty station in Naples, Italy.
Sasuke and Brendan, taken by Junko Suzuki in Bahrain.
Fast-forward three years--I was now married to Andy, and, having lost his house to foreclosure, was back living with my husband in my little house, which I had been renting out, but had to evict my tenants for non-payment of rent. Brendan, still in the Navy, but having completed his tour in Italy, was placed on a special status which required him to be able to be deployed anywhere in the world at a moment's notice. Again, he was not going to be able to have the dog with him during this time, which would last one year, and again, his father refused to take the dog.

Sasuke had not done well in a previous kennel boarding short-term situation; he had lost weight and been unhappy, so Brendan was reluctant to go that route, and much against my better judgement and inclination, I was prevailed upon to take Sasuke again. The situation was complicated by the fact that we also had Andy's last remaining cat, Fluffy, living with us, and Sasuke had only seen cats as something to chase. Because of my cat allergy, however, Fluffy was already living a fairly constrained existence in our house, and my husband being a big animal lover, though he'd never owned a dog himself, (he had dog allergies, among many others) was nevertheless willing to give it a go.

Andy, who was also soft-hearted, fell in love with Sasuke. That dog was a real challenge to control, but he also was extremely smart, had his own puckish sense of humor, and would defend “his” people to the death. My son had told me about how Sasuke had chewed up everything in the Bahrain rental house that he and his Japanese girlfriend, Junko, had been living in, when he was a puppy, and I was prepared to have to hassle with that behavior, but I caught the dog with a shoe, and I took that one away and found another old, cast-off one that I told him he could chew, and he never chewed any other shoe but the one I told him he could, ever again, at least, with me. With time and patience, Andy did manage to achieve a limited friendship between the dog and the cat, though we never left them alone together unsupervised, of course. They would actually hang out in close proximity and the cat would even bat playfully at Sasuke when he would poke his nose near her.

I'm not sure if Andy actually used this for his class, or just did it for practice. This is a photoshopped image of Sasuke and Fluffy, both photos taken by my husband, Andrew Peterson.
When I took Sasuke on road trips, he was a great traveler. He loved to sit or lie in the small back seat of my diminutive extra-cab pickup, and if he was in the passenger seat next to me, would sometimes put his head on my lap, but never interfered with my driving. Sasuke also went through an episode with what the vet termed a “stroke-like” event, when he lost the use of one hind leg for awhile. However, he eventually recovered with only an occasional buckling of that leg when he was tired. Though the vet said x-rays showed some hip dysplasia, Sasuke continued to jump in play as if he had no problem and would try even with the leg issue. I often wished I’d had the wherewithal to put him through agility training, prior to the leg problem; he’d have loved it and done very well with it. He would do almost anything for a carrot, or a cheese-flavored treat, and loved destroying rawhide “bones.” We got him a really big one once, nearly a yard long, and he didn’t quite know how to attack it–it was pretty funny. When we cut it in half, though, he went right at it. He also liked to take the old softball we threw for him to chase in the back yard, and jump into this funky little concrete pond I have back there, with it. Then, he’d look back at me, or Andy, as if to say, “I know you don’t like me doing this–but I can’t resist!”

Sadly, his lack of adequate training, and his over-zealous drive to “defend” his territory led to a very unhappy situation. I was running late for work, and Andy was going to drop me off, so I wouldn’t have to deal with parking, and he would have the pickup to use if he needed it. (His SAAB turbo was having issues.) Sasuke decided he was NOT going to be left behind, so he escaped out the front door as we were trying to leave. Fortunately, there was no one else on the street, and he went straight to the pickup, so there was no real problem at that point. The trouble came when Andy returned home and was taking Sasuke back into the house. He THOUGHT he had a good grip on Sasuke’s collar, but the dog got away from him, and this time, a group of teenage girls was coming by, on their way to the high school at the end of my street. Sasuke attacked one of them, and gave her a serious bite on the leg, which ultimately required some reconstructive treatment to address scarring. Amazingly, the animal control people did not confiscate the dog; we were allowed to quarantine him at home, but were required to post a “dangerous dog” sign on the property and make sure the dog was contained so he could not gain free access to outside. From that point, until the time came that I was able to return him to my son, I lived in mortal terror of losing Sasuke and of what he might do to somebody if he got loose again.

After much discussion, when the year (and a half) was up, (it took that much more time to get to a point where Brendan was ready to receive the dog, and in my case, finishing school freed my schedule so I could leave) Andy and I decided that his elderly cat would not do well traveling, nor did we want to try to board her with anyone, so he would stay home with her, and I would take Sasuke in the pickup to Brendan in Florida. That poor dog had flown from Bahrain to the U.S., from the U.S. to Italy, and then back again from Italy to the U.S. I was not about to put him on a plane again, if I could help it. I’m convinced that those horrible plane trips, along with some abuse Sasuke had suffered at the hands of a neighbor while Brendan was away at work, during the Italy deployment, (Brendan did not tell me about that until after I had returned Sasuke to him the second time) contributed to Sasuke’s separation anxiety issues and aggression. Andy and I had been together so much, since he had lost his job, and then, his house to foreclosure, that I was actually looking forward to a little time away. I didn’t plan on being away as long as it ended up becoming, due to Brendan’s deployment out of the country for a month, a week after I arrived in Florida, and I certainly had no idea that my husband was going to die, shortly before I was about to head home! But at least, I got the dog settled in with his original owner and the family Brendan had acquired along with his “new” girlfriend.

This photo was taken by me, Kathryn Peterson, with my cell phone camera. It is of Brendan, Sasuke, and Makai, Brendan's girlfriend Noemi Smith's son.
The sad end of Sasuke’s story came when he got away from Brendan’s girlfriend, as she was returning from shopping with her arms full of groceries, and seriously bit a neighbor. There were no more reprieves for Sasuke. He met his end in the custody of Hillsborough County Animal Control. It was not surprising, but I was glad that Andy did not have to see it. At least, he was spared that particular grief, after having suffered so many losses and setbacks in the last years of his life.  
This photo is from an assignment done for a photography class my husband took at Portland Community College. The picture of Andy was taken by a classmate, the photos of part of the campus and of the dog were taken by my husband and he photoshopped them al
As for me, well, I felt kind of “double-whammied” for awhile. Occasionally, I still do. I think, at some point, I might like to have a(nother) dog, but I’d have to consider that long and carefully....

Originally posted to Kit RMP on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 05:04 PM PDT.

Also republished by PWB Peeps, The Grieving Room, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm so sorry Kit... (14+ / 0-)

    First for the loss of your husband and then the loss of Sasuke! My heartfelt condolences!

    Arrogance is ignorance matured.

    by jennyp on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 05:23:46 PM PDT

    •  Thank you, jennyp (13+ / 0-)

      I should probably confess, since I didn't allude to it specifically here, that Friday, the 7th, was the (first!) anniversary of the day my older son found my husband, passed away in his sleep, in front of his computer, which was still running. So, it's been a difficult week to get through, especially since there was a period of several days when I had been trying to reach my husband with no success, before we knew for sure, via my son's discovery, that he was gone. Discovering The Grieving Room, here at DKos, has been a real sanity-saver and comfort for me.

      I'm very grateful for everyone here!

      •  i'm glad you found us (11+ / 0-)

        you made it through the first year.

        i echo jennyp--i am so sorry you had to lose Sasuke while your grief for Andy is still so comparatively new.

        i'm glad you wrote about it for us.  this is a very nice first diary--with lovely pictures.

        who is in the picture at the bottom of the diary?

        Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
        Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 06:53:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's my husband, with Sasuke (12+ / 0-)

          He was taking a photography class and also a Photoshop class, and he put the two of them together for a class project with this picture. He was not in the background location when his picture was taken, but was on a different campus of the community college system, and the dog was not at that location either. It just seemed appropriate to me to let Andy have the "last word" or rather, "last image," created by him, for the ending.

          The picture of the dog and cat is also one he photoshopped, but they really did get that close together, peacefully, at times. He just didn't have enough hands free to be able to snap a photo of both of them at once. His space, like all the other spaces in our house at that point, was crowded with stuff, and if either critter had moved suddenly when his hands were occupied, he could have had quite a mess to deal with.

          •  i thought so (6+ / 0-)

            what a beautiful photo of both of them.

            thank you for being brave enough to write your first diary about such a sensitive and sad topic.  no need to be nervous.  we are gentle with each other here.

            please check your kosmail and accept The Grieving Room invitation to join as a contributor.

            Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
            Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

            by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 08:53:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I did accept the invitation yesterday (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I don't know why it doesn't register with you that I did. I just went back and tried again, and it comes up with an error message that I wasn't invited, which is a little silly, considering that the message says I was, right at the top. Oh, well. I guess it's up to the support people now.

              •  Do I need to delete the original invitation (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                for it to go through?

              •  all is well. your name is listed now. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Kit RMP

                sorry there were technical problems and your diary did not get the attention it deserved.

                for what its worth, it touched my heart deeply.

                i figure you wrote about the loss of Sasuke because it is still too soon (even on the one year grief anniversary) to write a diary like this about the loss of Andy.

                so putting the picture of Andy and Sasuke at the end of the diary was the perfect final touch.

                here is a cyberhug for you: {{{{{{{{{Kit RMP}}}}}}}}}

                Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
                Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

                by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 06:08:46 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I made reference in my very first diary (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  to the fact that I intended writing more about the "dog piece" of the story in a later diary, and it felt like this was the right time to do that. The whole thing is so big, it's probably going to take several diaries, and a long time, to work through all of it. And of course, the process itself brings up other stuff, so it may end up being one of those "never-ending stories." At least, not until I do....

  •  Oops, I forgot to put "The Grieving Room... (11+ / 0-)

    " in the title of the post, and I guess there's no way I can fix it now. Chalk it up to still being a relative newbie and nervous about doing this the first time. Hopefully True Blue Majority can rescue me....

    •  yes, you can fix it now (10+ / 0-)

      I can't edit it now that it's been published.  I can only edit diaries while they are in the queue.

      But you can fix it.  Comments cannot be edited after publication, but diaries can be.

      At the very bottom of the diary, right below the tags, you should see a box that says EDIT.

      click on that and it will let you make changes.  Fixing the title is important because it helps people notice the diary on the recent list.  please change your title to:

      The Grieving Room:  The Story of Sasuke

      You did not make a newbie mistake.  You did the right thing.  Please check your kosmail for a longer explanation from me.

      Thank you for writing this tribute to your fur friend.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 06:10:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  TGR is a grieving Open Thread (9+ / 0-)

    please share whatever you need to share, even if it does not directly relate to the diary.  all comments related to grief and grieving are welcome.

    current hosting schedule for TGR:
    6/17  TrueBlueMajority
    6/24  Lorikeet
    7/1    OPEN


    if you have a grief anniversary or other significant date coming up, and would like to host for an open date, please respond to this comment, or send me a kosmail, or send an email to truebluemajority AT gmail DOT com.

    The Grieving Room is open for discussion.   What is on your mind and heart tonight?

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 06:16:04 PM PDT

  •  I'm so sorry Kit. (11+ / 0-)

    We've talked before about how we've both lost Andy's.  I wish you peace.

    I hope one day you will get another dog.  I say this as my two little ones are sitting next to me, kissing me.  They are wonderful.  They have all the love in the world to offer.  Think about it.

    I am a work in progress. Still.

    by broths on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 06:39:53 PM PDT

  •  My dear Kit, glad I finally came around, (6+ / 0-)

    and read your TGR diary.

    I went back and read your first diary, as well.

    I read my long comment to you,
    in the comment thread of your first diary,
    and I noticed that I mistakenly thought that diary
    was a TGR diary.

    this one is.

    I truly like the main message of your first diary:

    You're finding emotional support,
    emotional comfort,
    from words on your screen,
    words that some of us write.

    As I wrote in that comment,
    for three years,
    TGR was my only grief support group;
    Now, my wife and family
    provide great comfort for me,
    an old widower.

    I truly like it when some of us here
    can give some help,
    some support,
    some comfort,
    to someone.

    This diary was interesting:
    not The Story of Andy,
    but The Story of Sasuke.

    I'm certainly not telling you that's not appropriate,
    in fact,
    since we understand the loss of a husband
    is the overshadowing event,
    it seems to me a wise choice,
    to write about the dog,
    as you did,
    and then the death of your husband,
    right in the middle of your efforts to deal with the dog,
    efforts that ultimately failed......

    The photo of your husband and the dog together,
    that is truly ideal,
    truly brings the diary home,
    for me.

    My first wife, Pam, and I
    had a few different dogs over the years,
    and I have a few pictures of her with one dog or another.

    Powerful pictures.

    Good to see you writing here.

    I also read the memorial facebook page.

    Bringing a child into the world at this point in history is a crime, the crime of child endangerment.

    by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 10:42:37 PM PDT

    •  Well, the first one was a Wanna-be TGR (6+ / 0-)

      Diary, but I was still wrestling with access to DKos at that point. I had a lot to learn about DK yet, then (not that I still don't, but I have at least learned a few things, so far).

      I always appreciate your thoughtful and caring comments, and I especially appreciate that you were willing to go that "extra mile" and read outside DK to understand more of the background of my husband's (and my) story. I have, and reach out to, friends in lots of places and I'm happy and feel truly blessed that there are so many who have expressed their caring in this most trying time of my life. Isolation is a killer, and I am no stranger to depression, so I know that reaching out is critical.

      Thank you again, dear friend Mark.

      •  Yes, I enjoy doing a little research, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kit RMP, TrueBlueMajority, whaddaya

        especially since most folks don't bother,
        so it makes me feel truly smart,
        when I do just a little more research
        than others who don't.

        I see you dug up my real name.

        It's not in my profile,
        but I've mentioned it a few times,
        here and there.

        Speaking of names,
        after reading this,
        from the facebook page:

        February 26, 1949 - June 7, 2012
        Married to Kathryn Peterson, anniversary    July 29, 2008
        - (Brief obituary by Lyrl Peterson Ahern)
        "Andrew David Peterson, 63, of Portland OR. Survived by his wife, Kathryn “Kit” Peterson, stepsons Shaun McLaughlin of Beaverton, OR and Brendan McLaughlin of Tampa, FL;  
        I think I see what you did,
        to devise your username here at Daily Kos:

        is your nickname,
        short for Kathryn;
        might be the first letter of your maiden name;
        is the first letter in McLaughlin,
        your first married name;
        of course,
        for Peterson,
        Andy's last name,
        and your current last name.

        My father's mother outlived three husbands,
        by the time she died,
        she was
        Ada Frances Kelley Herbert Gump Tipton.

        I'm glad you understand the need to reach out to others.

        When Pam died,
        I started learning to use the phone,
        as a lifeline.

         Isolation is a killer, and I am no stranger to depression, so I know that reaching out is critical.  
        do keep that in mind.

        Bringing a child into the world at this point in history is a crime, the crime of child endangerment.

        by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:32:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've been owned by several BIG Dogs (6+ / 0-)

    Two German Shepherds and one Belgium Shepard none of them under 70 pounds and one topped out over 150LB. I was still in my teens when I had the 2 German Shepherds and I was full of enough energy to work them almost all day back then but I thought I was still in great shape until I tried to keep up with the Belgium. He ran me ragged and was stronger than me and I was no wimp after having installed flooring for 20 yrs.  
     Too many of us like the idea of having a large dog around when they can be too much for us to handle. My poor Mom couldn't walk any of them without being drug down the street, once, in the snow it was on her belly for 4 front yards full of deep snow. She barely made 5ft and 100lbs . She gave up after her snow ride.
     My Tny passed a couple weeks ago after yrs of being sick and left me with her 2 Cats. Sometimes I think they miss her as much as me. Anyway I have been thinking about a dog. It's been almost 30 yrs since I had a puppy and at 60 I don't think It would be fair to the dog, but I have been thinking of a rescue dog. So many people are having to give up older pets that they can no longer feed or pay the Vets bills.
    Tny wanted a lil lap dog but I just can't call a chihuahua a dog ( No offense meant ) I do live in a big Apt, but small yd and likely to have to move now that I am alone. Beths-Tny's caretaker had been doing double duty kinda. Cooking for three is just as easy as cooking for 2 plus driving us both to Dr. appts and doing some laundry. The hrs. that IHSS allows for me alone is not worth it for anyone it seems. So I'm not sure now is the time to adopt a dog, no matter what size.
     I really had some great memories of my critters while reading your diary. Thanks.

    "the government's role should be to uplift, enlighten, educate and ennoble the citizen, not oppress them with taxation and intrusive laws," Gatewood Galbraith, Historic Marijuana Advocate, aka "The Last Free Man In America," RIP 1-3-12

    by SmileySam on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:43:11 AM PDT

  •  Such a sad, but beautiful story about Sasuke (3+ / 0-)

    and your husband. It looks like you gave so much in regards to his care(dog) and you and your husband obviously loved him so much. I can't imagine my life without my pets (cats) I consider them family. I, too, think the Grieving Room is a good outlet for things on our mind (not found elsewhere).

  •  i'm so glad this was rescued (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kit RMP, Randomfactor

    this diary deserves to be seen

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 05:40:51 PM PDT

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