A Tribute To The Sweetest,
Most Perfect Dog In Heaven
I will never forget that March evening in 1985. I drove home from
work, turned the key, opened the door and there was this little, black
and white dog sitting there, grinning at me like he had common sense!
My close friend and roommate, David, had rescued this little
eight-month old pseudo-King Charles Spaniel from some people who could
not care for him. So, I had been volunteered to be a doggie-daddy.
Although he was a typical puppy in many ways, he had a unique
personality. He was active and curious, yet he was very gentle and
sweet. When you give most dogs a treat, they grab it and gulp it.
Shadow would gently sniff it and slowly take it from your hand. He
would then walk away, circle and lie down, and slowly enjoy his
milkbone. When you would rub him, he would press his body into you,
to get closer and closer. He loved the human touch and would
affectionately cuddle up to you closer and closer. If he were human,
we would have said he had a sweet spirit.
|Young Shadow on a HOT afternoon |
"Why can't we go inside where it is cool?"
In 1988, Shadow became a father to two lovely little black furry
puppies. The lady who owned the mother had already promised them both
so, I did not have the joy of raising one of my grandchildren. But
the little female was gorgeous, just like her perfect father, Shadow.
"I smell Tennessee country HAM"
December, 1988 was when Shadow gained his own fenced-in backyard with his personal, Shadow-sized doggie-door. He had plenty of room to run around and protect me from the three evils of suburban life...the mail man, the UPS truck and the garbage truck. However, I know that his favorite recreational activity was centered on the two little female poodles next door, one, of which, was always in heat. If I didnt see him much for a couple of days, I would just look out of the bedroom window and see him...well...see him attempting to court one of the poodles through the fence.
Because of the long drive to town, we moved back to a large apartment in Dallas in the Summer of 1992. Little Shadow was not happy about the move at first but he quickly made friends in the neighborhood. We would often visit Texer and Sebastian. Then Pumpkin came along and regularly annoyed the xxxx out of Shadow. When he thought relief was in sight, Maggie moved next door...another hyper puppy to contend with.
|Shadow and Pumpkin'|
"What is she gonna do with that tongue?"
Shadow LOVED going for a ride. I took him everywhere with me. We went to Tennessee at least two or three times each year to visit my parents. Shadow was the only dog my Mother ever let inside her house. Mom discovered that he was so very sweet in his nature and a very quiet dog. My Dad tried to pretend that Shadow was just an ordinary dog, but even HE knew better. At Christmas, Shadow would be decorated with a nice bow on his head...until he could scratch the annoying ribbon off. He received antlers last year and became our token reign-dog.
In 1995, Dr. Lloyd Fiedler discovered Shadows heart murmur and prescribed some special medication. In August, 1997, Shadows condition had developed into congestive heart disease. He began taking a different heart pill and another medication for fluid retention. He would take a water pill in the morning which lead to many outside trips during the day. He really enjoyed these extra visits to the yard.
On Wednesday, November 12, we drove up to the bank where, as I make a deposit in the ATM machine, Shadow usually makes a deposit of another kind on the grass. As I turned to get out of the car, Shadow anticipated his next move and jumped out early, getting entangled in my feet. I immediately knew something was wrong when he held his left rear leg up and could not move it. Forty-minutes later, Dr. Fiedler described how he had torn his anterior left cruciate, a not-uncommon occurrence in an older dog. After a pain shot and some pain pills, we left so he could rest at Aunt Lindas. (We had been staying at my friends apartment to help while she recuperated from a hospital stay.)
When I arrived home from work that night, Shadows breathing had become very shallow, with short, quick breaths. He was uncomfortable and would not eat. I slept on the floor that night to comfort him until the morning when we would make another trip to the vet.
I awoke several times in the night because of his breathing. He could not relax enough to lie down. Around 6:45 AM, I got up with him and tried to get him to eat. He was simply too uncomfortable. Around 35 minutes later I heard some noises from the other room. I found him on the floor where he had just given up the fight. His little body was so warm I knew that he had just died. I picked him up and tried to breathe into his nose to get him recessitated but it was no use. He was just tired of fighting...his little heart could not take the extra stress and pain any longer.
I held him for the longest time, praying and talking to him, trying to retain the last heat his limp body would produce. I knew my little buddy had finally gone to be with Jesus.
People will say hes just a dog, but any pet-owner will quickly correct that statement. For twelve years and eight months, he was the most loving and accepting friend I had. I am glad his suffering was short. As his Aunt Linda said about loosing her husband, in my mind I was ready but in my heart I was not. My heart definitely was NOT ready to let my friend go.
I will miss him forever as I still miss other friends and relatives who have gone on. Because of the passage of time, I dont miss them any less, I actually miss them more. The old gospel songs talk about a place where well never grow old and about being with our loved ones who have gone on before. If that is correct about Heaven, then someday I will see Shadow up there playing with my dog-loving best friend, Joe Kincaid. I know Joe will take care of Shadow until I get there.
My comfort has come from the book of Ecclesiastes.
To paraphrase...everything on Earth has its own time and season. There is a time for birth and a time for death. There is a time for laughing and a time for weeping. There is a time for embracing and a time for parting. There is a time for finding and a time for losing. There is a time for keeping and a time for giving.
I have laughed at him, embraced him, cried with his pain, and kept him
safe. I now weep over his passing. I have given him back.
Shadow, nights are long since you went away. I think about you all
through the day, my buddy, my Shadow, nobody quite so true.
I miss your bark, the touch of your hair, somehow I know that you understand, my buddy. My Shadow, your buddy misses you.
I explained to St. Peter
I'd rather stay here.
Right by the pearly gate.
I won't be a nuisance,
I won't even bark,
I'll be very patient and wait.
I'll be here, chewing a celestial bone,
No matter how long you may be.
I'd miss you so much, if I went in alone,
It wouldn't be heaven for me.