Thursday, November 17, 2011

Goodbye, old friend

I wasn't going to blog about this. Just mention it on Twitter, have a good cry, and move on.
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.

old lady puppy

"Heaven goes by favor; if it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in."
 -Mark Twain

We'll miss you, Shadow.

P.S. Here's a heartwarming story about a man and his dog.


Katie said...

Aw, I'm so sorry for your loss! We had to put our family dog down last year. She was such a good dog, but was in such bad shape, and the vet told us it would be a horrible, painful death if we let her go on, so we had to do the right thing by her. Didn't make it any easier though. I miss her so much even still, and it's hard looking at photos of her last months - she looked so old. In my mind she's in her younger, healthier days - which is how I prefer to remember her.

Anonymous said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry. I rarely comment on here but I thought I would come out from lurking to offer my condolences. We had to put our 15-year-old family husky to sleep a couple of years ago and I was devastated. It was like a huge part of my childhood died with her.

Sending you lots of e-hugs!

Newlyweds on a Budget said...

I would be an absolute mess if something ever happened to our pup. It's like losing a member of the family.


EmilyB said...

Losing a pet is so, so hard. When we put down Thomas, my family dog for 11 years, I just remember feeling downright sad. No mad or frustrated, just very sad. But he was very sick and it was time and I didn't want to see him suffer anymore. Shadow seems like she was a wonderful pup and you were very lucky to have her for so many years. :)

Layla said...

I'm so, so sorry. :( I still miss my Frecka kitty that was put down almost ten years ago. They are such a part of your family and heart, it's like losing a sibling or child. My heart goes out to you and your family.

Jessica Lynn said...

this made me cry. I'm sorry :( My puppy back home is around 13 years old, too, and I have a strong feeling he won't be around when I go back to visit next year. Pets are absolutely part of the family :(

Katie said...

Oh my friend, I am so sorry to hear about this. :(

I remember a few years ago when my parents had to put down both of my childhood dogs. I'd had Kesha since 2 years old; she slept in my crib/in bed with me every day until I left for college. She was kind of like your Shadow at that point; you could really tell that she was an old lady...she just slept all day and got skinny. She was happy and the vet said she wasn't in pain, but it got to a point where my mom would get home from work and would need to check to see if she was still breathing because she wouldn't get up off her bed.

Anyway, I hope that you can (and it looks like you can) look back on her life and remember her fondly as a family member. Big big virtual hugs to you :)

lavenderpug said...

oh, what a sweet girl. i'm sorry for your loss, but more importantly how wonderful that you were able to enjoy and share so much with each other. dogs are the best.

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