The Best Dog Ever

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by PonyGirl, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. PonyGirl

    PonyGirl Warrior Parent

    Hello All. I am so sorry for my long absence. Julius is GOOD! He is almost 5 months old now and absolutely adorable! He smiles when he sees me! I have been thinking of you. Most things are going well but I have struggled this spring. Doing my best to work my way back from the latest body-blow, the loss of my beloved black lab. I've gotten a bit hooked into Facebook lately, found a lot of my old high school chums. The following is the note I posted there.

    My dog died Saturday morning, May 9, 2009. Her name was Shadow.
    She came to live with us when she was already 10 months old.
    We soon found out why a pure-bred Black Lab would be a
    "free to good home" kind of dog.
    Shadow was a scardey-dog! She was severely gun-shy.
    She would never hunt.

    Shadow was defined by so much more than that, though.
    She was afraid of tape-measures, but not the vacuum.
    She was afraid of gunshots, but not thunderstorms.
    She had a heart of gold, and would do anything to please us.

    Shadow knew how to say "Please" for a treat, and even how to whisper.
    She knew what "Bad squirrel" meant, and she would stare
    them down when they invaded the bird-feeders.
    She knew when I filled my thermos in the morning, I would
    soon be leaving, and she'd find her spot in the den and wait
    for her cookie-treat.
    Shadow knew when she heard me on the phone, she needed
    to go outside Right Now!
    She knew when I ended my nightly call with my husband,

    saying "Love you, too"
    it would soon be cookie-time, and then off to bed.

    Shadow gave me unconditional love at a time when I needed it most.
    She gave me loyalty without question at times when I probably
    didn't deserve it.

    Shadow was my companion, my friend. Wherever I was in the house,
    that's where she wanted to be. (In case I might drop a cookie)

    In early November of 2004, I awoke one morning and she did not
    come bounding down the hall at the sound of her food hitting the dish.
    Upon searching, I found her on the futon in the den. I called to her,
    but she just looked at me with a helpless light in her eyes.
    She couldn't move!

    My sister came instantly at my frantic call to her, and together we
    gently lifted Shadow onto the floor, and once outside found she
    was able to wabble unsteadily on her feet. We loaded her in the truck
    and made tracks for a vet's office. Shadow was treated for Lyme's Disease, and recovered fully.

    That was the first time we saved her - or actually, the second time, if you count the fact that she found her home with us at almost

    a year of age.

    Mid-July last summer 2008, Shadow stumbled coming

    down the deck steps, and I heard the most god-awful
    noise in the entire world. One look told me Shadow
    had broken her left front leg! Again we raced to the vet's

    office, me on my own this
    time, as by now I'm an old hand at Shadow-Rescue.

    Shadow was treated for Bone Cancer, with surgery to

    remove her left front leg. She survived. She thrived.
    She had no self-pity or depression to find herself
    disabled by only having three legs. In fact, I don't think

    she gave it a second thought.
    She trotted down the hall of the vet's office when we

    came to take her home after her surgery. She jumped
    into the car like any other time.

    As the summer went on, Shadow and I went out for our annual Blackberry Hunting trips.
    We discovered a trail Behind the Iron Gate, and began to venture further and further
    each day. Soon we had traversed the entire loop, taking about an hour each trip.
    (Jordan tells me this is probably a 5K hike) As we continued to take our walks together,
    I noticed my dog gaining stamina and needing to take a break and lay down less and less.

    Fall came and with it, the most beautiful colors I'd ever seen,

    back in the woods on the trail Behind the Iron Gate.
    I must've taken close to 700 pictures last October!
    The two of us had great talks together as we hiked the trail. Occassionaly we had the company of partridge and
    the lone bird hunter or two, but mostly it was just us.
    Me and My Dog.

    When November arrived, I had to bundle up a bit more,

    but we still ventured out. We walked through cold rain
    and early snow, until the clocks changed and we ran out
    of daylight on weekdays. So, we took the winter off,
    and did not return to the Iron Gate until mid-April, 2009.

    Shadow and I both found we needed to rest quite

    often on the trail as we began to get back into
    hiking shape. We also found just how thick the
    woods are with ticks this time of year! (News to me,
    even tho I've lived in the Northwoods all my life)
    She was well-treated with tick repellent,
    but I was still finding dozens of little invaders upon
    finishing our walks. And as we kept up our hikes,

    we both needed less rest.

    We walked together for the last time on

    Thursday, May 7th. Neither of us knew it
    would be our last time. Shadow did lay down

    more often as we came to the final quarter of the trail,
    but she rebounded without apparent effort and was
    pleased to find her Dad had come home a day early
    when we arrived back home.

    Shadow got to spend her last day on this earth

    with her beloved Dad, my husband Tom.
    None of us knew it would be her last day.

    As we prepared for bedtime that Friday night,
    we noticed she had stiffened up and could not

    stand on her own. Tom and I helped her stand upright,
    and Tom carried Shadow into our bedroom for the night.
    I believed I was looking at the beginning stages of
    another bout with Lymes, and I would be visiting the vet
    first thing Saturday morning. I was confident we would

    save her yet again.

    It was not to be. Shadow slipped away quietly during

    the night. I awoke to find her laying on the floor,
    next to my side of the bed. I knelt beside her,
    stroked her fur, and cried for my lost friend.
    Tom and I held each other as we tried to take in
    the fact that Shadow was gone.

    We buried her together with her dog-bed and her favorite toy,
    out beyond the pond in our back yard. I spread red rose

    petals on the earth above her, and Tom arranged rocks
    at the head of Shadow's grave.

    Her gentle spirit will be with us always, but her

    death has left such an emptiness in the house
    it's almost hard to bear. I left the house for work this morning,
    feeling as if I'd forgotten something. The routine of saying goodbye with a cookie-treat and telling her to be a good girl is no longer necessary. But I did stand in the doorway of the den

    and send up a silent prayer.

    I got home from work today and again was

    shocked at the utter silence in my house.
    Before I could talk myself out of it,

    I loaded up my water-bottle and my camera and
    set out for the Iron Gate.

    It's not the same without my Shadow.

    Even the woods are more quiet without
    her happily jogging along the trail ahead of me.

    It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be -
    I brought five kleenex along but didn't need them -
    but it wasn't nearly as enjoyable without my girl.

    How long will it be, before I get used to Life without The Best Dog Ever?

    I was, however, comforted by the thought today,

    as I drove down the road to my driveway,
    "She's still here waiting for me, I just can't see her, is all."

  2. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Ponygirl, I'm so sorry for your loss. The amount of grief and loss is larger than anyone who hasn't been through it can imagine.
    I don't know how to fill that hole.
    Your post is beautiful and so heartfelt. :crying:

    Many hugs. Your post brought tears to my eyes. We just adopted 2 more rescue pups. I told the vet I didn't know how many dogs it would take to fill the hole left by Honeysue.

    Take your time and grieve your loss. It never gets better but it gets less acute. I still talk about her as if she is still here. husband calls it similar to phantom pain that amputees get.

    I'm glad you are back and I hope you get through this tough time.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    what a wodnerful, moving tribute to your dog. Furbabies are so important in our lives, it is just gut wrenching to lose them. I hope that the loss gets easier to bear and you can remember the good times, the funny times.

    I am so sorry for your loss.
  4. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    B- words can't express what you DID do in words. I'm still struggling over a loss of a dog that wasn't even mine. They are your true friends. Find yourself lucky enough that you had that experience.


  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I"m so very very sorry P. :(:(

  6. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    That was really beautiful. I need a box of tissues, now. I'm sorry about your Shadow. Our pets are truly part of the family and it's so hard to lose them.
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

  8. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Pony, I've lost both of my old girls in less than a year. It's an unspeakable pain.

    Hugs for your breaking heart.

  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Ohhh, B, I am so sorry.
    I had to put one of my dogs down last wk, so I definitely know what you mean about that empty space.
    What a sweet dog Shadow was. And what a good mommy you were.
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Pony -

    Sending you and Tom the deepest condolences for the loss of your furchild. In your writing it became very apparent that Shadow had become your best friend in the world. I'm so sorry for your loss.

    If I could find a home like yours and a love like you have for furkids for our little Petey foster pup? I'd send him to you in an instant. YOURS is the kind of home he deserves. YOU are the kind of person who loves and would love him so deeply I'd never worry about him. I just wish. You would never let him go a day without a cookie.

    Hugs & Love