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Introducing My Beloved Miss Sassafrass Tea

Updated on September 13, 2015

Meet Sassafrass Tea or Sassy for short!

She was just a little flea-covered puppy no more than five months old when she found us in the woods in southwestern Pennsylvania. My husband and I were farm caretakers at the time, tending to a menagerie of critters, large and small, including 14 dogs rescued by the property owners. But when I saw the sweet little girl I soon named Sassafrass, I knew right away that that fuzzy black pooch was mine.

Sassy and I have been together for 14 wonderful years now, and -- knock on wood -- she's still going strong, leaping to attention the moment I say, "Wanna go for a walk?" Actually, she jumps at the word "wanna." I guess it's the tone of my voice or even the look on my face, which she stares at intently. Sassy understands me better than most people, I think.

Yes, I love my little Sassafrass Tea or Sassy for short (a.k.a T-Frass, Frass or just plain T), and I can't imagine life without her. Spoiling my beloved pooch gives me so much pleasure as does rubbing her soft, floppy ears or just watching her sleep in the sun. She's my loyal little buddy, and there will never be another like her.

But Isn't Sassafrass Spelled with Just One "S"?

Yes, you're right; it should be "Sassafras." But I goofed when I named her, so I let the extra "S" stay.

Miss Sassafrass Tea
Miss Sassafrass Tea

The Origins of Miss Sassafrass

To be honest, I didn't try to find her owner. Given the way many people in the area thought of dogs (let's just say most folks didn't see them as members of the family) and her condition at the time she came into my life, I wasn't eager to bring her back to wherever it was she came from. And I'd fallen in love with her at first sight. No, Sassy was mine and I was hers, and where she came from wasn't important.

But I did wonder.

For a couple of years, when people would say, "Oh, what a cute puppy. Where did you get her?" I'd make up a story about how I got her from a shelter in another state. I didn't want anyone in that small town to say, "Oh, I know where she came from." Then one day, during a local festival, a woman stopped to pet Sassy.

"Amazing," she said, "she looks just like the puppies my dogs had a couple years ago. There were nineteen."

"Nineteen?" I replied. I'd never heard of such a thing. "What happened to them?"

"I'm not sure," the woman answered, and I decided to let it go at that. But I did ask, "What kind of dogs did you have?" No one could agree on what combination had gone into creating my Miss Sassafrass.

The woman told me that one had a been a Dalmatian and the other a black terrier mix. Something like that. If that's the case, I'm thinking that my 23-pound, full-grown pooch was the runt of the litter. But I never did see any other dogs around that town or since that looked just like my Frass.

Sassy and one of her best buddies on the farm, a bull terrier named Fat Cat

A Sassafras tree
A Sassafras tree

The Origin of the Name

There was a big, beautiful sassafras tree in the middle of the field that was the front yard at RamCat Farm, where my husband and I were caretakers when Sassy came into our lives. We'd been talking about making sassafras tea shortly before she arrived. Why those words popped into my head when I saw that small, mostly black with a little white pooch, I don't know. But it sounded right and stuck.

And, yes, sassafras is indeed spelled with just one "s" at the end. But my Sassafrass has two.

Oh, and she has an indian name, too, by the way. It's Little Black Running Buns, or LBRB for short.

The Frass in her fleece blanket

The Frass in her fleece blanket
The Frass in her fleece blanket
Sassy sunning herself
Sassy sunning herself

Sassy And I Love To....

W-A-L-K: When Sassy was younger, she could easily do 10 miles or more with me and finish a hike with nearly as much pep as she had at the start. Nowadays, I don't take her more than a few miles at a time, but she still has good energy and loves it as much as ever. But even spelling the word doesn't fool her. She can go from dreaming about chasing squirrels to upright at the door in a split second when I say, "W."

Eat ice cream together: Her favorite flavors are vanilla and mint chocolate chip ... without the chips. No chocolate for this dog. But it's a spoonful for me, a spoonful for her, etc. until it's gone. Do we share a spoon, you ask? I'm pleading the Fifth on that one!

Sun ourselves in the grass: We love going to the park on a warm day or hiking up to a mountain meadow and lying around for a while, watching the world go by or taking a nice nap.

Curl up together: Yes, Sassy's a bed dog. She has her own doggie bed, which she uses during the day in another part of the house. But at night, we share the grown-up bed.

Explore new places: Sassy is a very adventurous girl. She gets so excited when we do a hike we've never done before or get in the car to see someplace new.

Pet-sit: As long as it's okay with the owners, Sassy accompanies me to pet-sitting jobs. We usually stay overnight with the critters we're caring for. Growing up on a farm, Sassy likes the company of other dogs and cats and horses. I can tell she remembers doing farm chores with me. When we take care of horses, she gets very excited when we head to the barn and seems to remember how to act around those big beasts.

Sassy and I enjoy the sun in a mountain meadow here in Flagstaff.

Sassy and I enjoy the sun in a mountain meadow here in Flagstaff.
Sassy and I enjoy the sun in a mountain meadow here in Flagstaff.

My pretty girl

My pretty girl
My pretty girl

Sassy would like to show you her belly.

Sassy would like to show you her belly.
Sassy would like to show you her belly.

And here's her belly again.

And here's her belly again.
And here's her belly again.

Oh, okay, she says this is her better side.

Oh, okay, she says this is her better side.
Oh, okay, she says this is her better side.

© 2010 Deb Kingsbury

Thank You For Reading About My Sassafrass Tea-Dog. Leave your comments and dog cookies here....

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Its funny but Sassy is very like my dog Molly (molly has smaller ears) Molly is the same age and yes also produces the noxious green fog! But we are in the uk, her parents were my mums dogs, a purebred border collie motherand mixed breed father. I would love to share her picture with you but I can't post it.

    • mariacarbonara profile image

      mariacarbonara 4 years ago

      What a great companion!

    • suepogson profile image

      suepogson 4 years ago

      Dog cookies are here - wish I could send them.. Love Sassafrassssssss. Please tell her that I think her belly is very nice. Well done on the belly Sass. Yo!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      What a sweetheart your Sassy is and she sounds like she enjoys life with you to the full! Here's hoping there are a good few more happy years ahead of her.

    • profile image

      chrispell017 6 years ago

      cute dog.. nice lens!

    • profile image

      TrainedDog 6 years ago

      What a sweet girl. This lens put a smile on my face.

    • QuirkySue profile image

      QuirkySue 6 years ago

      LOL about her indian name and her ability to spell! ;p EW about the spoon and her emanations heh

    • AWildDog profile image

      AWildDog 7 years ago

      Oh and her and my Blade definitely look a like, making her all the more awesome!

    • AWildDog profile image

      AWildDog 7 years ago

      Aw she's awesome and so cute. Sometimes dog's just choose you. I don't think she would have gone back if you had tried to find the owner.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Sassy is so cute. Here is a Dog Cookie or two - Catch!

      Lensrolling to my Squid Paws, Meet Bruno the Third.

    • DecoratingEvents profile image

      DecoratingEvents 7 years ago

      So cute! You just wanna hug her!

    • MeganCasey profile image

      MeganCasey 7 years ago

      I love her sweet little face!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 7 years ago

      Well, Deb! So nice to meet your Miss Sassafrass Tea -- and smiling at the short name of Sassy! Sassy is as Sassy does.

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image

      VarietyWriter2 7 years ago

      So cute!

    • LadyLovelace LM profile image

      LadyLovelace LM 7 years ago

      What an awesome name for a dog - and she's gorgeous, too! And the story about how you two came to be together is fascinating.

    • missbat profile image

      missbat 7 years ago

      Aww, Miss Sassafrass looks like a real sweet girl!

    • sulcatamandy profile image

      Mandy 7 years ago from Montana

      I firmly believe animals choose their owners! Sassy is adorable! You take beautiful pictures!