Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dr. Francis Sakiey

Just this of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. 

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.

There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. 
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. 

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. 
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. 

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. 

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. 

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

I know Bounty, Tequila, Moriah, Topper, Putter, Rita, Lacie and Weasie are there with you, the fields are full of birds, and you will never miss again! Give them all a hug for me.

On October 3, 2009 I lost one of my dearest friends.

Dr. Francis Sakiey, quietly and easily crossed over the bridge.

While we were all devastated, we were also so thankful that his crossing was easy and painless.

That very day, Fran took Stella to a field trial at the English Setter Club in Medford NJ and ran her in the Open Limited Stake. Unfortunately, Stella didn't win the stake, but from his phone message "she was doing one hell of a job", but "she forgot to back". That'd be Stella.

Fran went home, and decided he wasn't feeling so well. So he called and left me a message telling me that he probably wasn't going to go back the next day. If I wanted to pick Stella up and run her, that would be fine. Unfortunately, I didn't pick up the phone that night when it rang.

Fran died quietly in his sleep that evening.

The next day I listened to my messages...... there was that familiar voice, one I had heard for almost 30 yrs, telling me of his decision to take the next day easy. It was to be the last time I would hear his voice.

Fran was 73 yrs old, was supported by and loved by his wife Elizabeth who didn't exactly share Fran's love of the dogs, hunting and field trialing, but she put up with it. She knew. Liz also put up with me being in Fran's life, and for that I thank her. Not many women could have, or would have been able to deal with the closeness that Fran and I shared, but she knew that she was the love of his life. I just shared one small piece of that life.

Fran's daughter Cindy used to be a frequent visitor at the trials when she was a teenager. Now she is a mom of two great kids, Cara and Zack. Cindy and her family always took the retired dogs from us, and gave them a wonderful home for their final years. They still have Petey, who at 15 is still going on his daily walks. Wheeler will go to their home and become a loved part of their family.

Fran was a quiet man, a gentleman in the truest sense of the word. And he was a wise man, and he tried hard to teach me. Fran was never one to get involved in the petty, silly and sometimes nasty day-day nonsense we see in the dog world. When I saw some injustice, he would let me rant and rave, pound my fist, and be angry. But then, as always, he would talk me down, and help me see the other side of the coin. He saved me from myself many, many times.

He always had a smile on his face, a kind word and a pat on the back for everyone.

But as Fran got older, he became deaf as a post and he used it to his best advantage! I swear, just like an old dog who can't hear commands, but could always hear the refrigerator open.... he could hear me... he just chose not too! He would just have that smile on his face....tap his ear... can't hear ya!

And then he hummed. And sang, just under his voice, never quite loud enough for anyone to know what the heck he was humming or singing, it used to drive me crazy! But now I'll never know what it was he was humming and singing.

Fran loved his dogs. He loved hunting, fishing, bird dogs and field trialing. No one would ever know how really competitive he was, because he took his wins and losses with grace. If he thought he was left out of the ribbons unfairly, you would never see him complaining, but rather we would walk back to the car and talk about it. Even if he thought the judges were wrong, he would always congratulate the winners with a sincere "Good For You!"

I'll never forget the year he won the GWPCA National Amateur Championship with Tequila. After the trophies were awarded, the photos taken and we were alone, he had tears in his eyes. "We did it" he said, "We did it!" and he hugged me and Tequila hard.

I'll miss you my friend. Thank you for all of the life lessons, thank you for being my friend.

Happy Hunting, Fran, Happy Hunting!

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