But you guys blew me away again with your ability to empathize and understand. (Thank you a million) So I know I'm in good company.
My parents had to put our family dog of 13 years down yesterday. Truly, it has been a long time coming and while sad, it isn't tragic. When I got to visit them last month I saw how worn down she was. Not in pain, but incontinent and nearly immobile, especially in the back half of her body. When I said goodbye, I knew that was the last time I would ever see her.
I was ten years old when we picked Shadow up from the local animal shelter. My mom was a softie when it came to dogs...she had desperately wanted one growing up and her parents told her she had to wait until she had her own house.
We all fell for Shadow instantly; I'm sure you can see why. Her nameplate read "Clarissa" (poor dog), but as a 5 month old puppy, we knew we could train her out of it.
She has always been the sweetest, calmest dog. When she got annoyed or frustrated, she would just leave the room. It's hard to describe the relationship you have with a family dog - I'm sure its different for everyone. I wouldn't consider her my dearest friend or closest companion. She wasn't my dog, she was always our dog.
But I also cannot imagine not having her there when I go back to my parents. Letting me stick my annoying cold feet under her belly. Making her jump over our legs propped up on the coffee table. Teasing her with a bit of leftover steak so she would catch it when we toss it across the room to her. Watching her bound through the first snow of the year with so much excitement you'd never guess she'd already been through a lifetime of winters. But laughing because two weeks later she'd be to fussy to walk more than two feet into it to pee.
Looking at this picture I took just six weeks ago I can't believe what an old lady she looks like.
"Heaven goes by favor; if it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in."
We'll miss you, Shadow.
P.S. Here's a heartwarming story about a man and his dog.