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Introducing My Beloved Miss Sassafrass Tea
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.
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
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
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.
My pretty girl
Here's One Not-So-Pleasant Aspect Of Miss Sassafrass Tea -- She can be a little stinky ... or a lot
- Green Fog: What's Up With My Farting Dog?
Information and remedies for flatulent pups (and some accessories too!)
Sassy would like to show you her belly.
And here's her belly again.
Oh, okay, she says this is her better side.
© 2010 Deb Kingsbury