29 June 2013

Shaddow's Fading

My lil girl, my first pup, is soon to be twelve.  I got her when she was a two month old eager puppy, tumbling after her mother and her one other sibling who was not yet spoken for.  She was a soft fuzzy black sweet thing and her mom appeared to be a lab, tho I was not exactly sure.  I really didn't care.

So I scooped up the wriggling mass and took her home.  She followed my every move and slept lots.  That was troubling to me, an inexperienced doggie companion; that she slept sooooooooooOOOOoooo very much.  I knew babies slept lots, so it only made sense that a baby~dog would sleep lots too; but that much?

However she seemed happy and healthy, so I didn't worry overly much.  After we'd spent a few days together, I decided to call her "Shadow" cuz she either was at my heel, dogging my every step, or she was just under the edge of table, in its shadow, sleeping.  The doof I was seeing at the time {omg, such a huge ass mistake that, but thankfully short~lived...being "together"; tho the way he lived, I wouldn't be overly surprised if he himself didn't see his thirtieth birthday} had a leather collar made with a lil brass plate on it and misspelled her name.  So "Shaddow" she became and has been and will always will be.

Shaddow has been my constant companion {with the exception of the two months it took me to track her down with the doof 'napped her and then left her with his crackhead friends who then gave her to some methheads after she retrieved the neighbor's koi from his pond~~she's a lab, who loves water, and retrieving is her thang}.  So after I got her back to health {she'd been in a cat carrier, in a junkyard, scrunched up in her own feces and ammoniac urine...it still makes me sick, poor baby}, she and I resumed our relationship.  I promised I would never let anything like that ever happen to her again.  She remained a sweet, gentle girl; would stick close to me, but never did like lots of human contact after that.  She likes to be close, but not actually touching.

For the first half of Shaddow's life, we lived on a large farm.  I'd rented a small place on that farm and so she had lots of room to run and explore.  There were several ponds and being a lab, this suited her just fine.  The other folks had dogs, so she had lots of playmates.  She loved the nightlife and would go out and check out all the critters that roam nocturnal.  She was safe and happy.

I met my husband in December 2008, he fell in love with her too.  She had already started to have a lil problem with stiff joints.  So he built her a bed to replace her sofa.  It's a low frame that fits a toddler's crib mattress, so she's got room to sprawl out.  We moved to his place, which sits closer to a highway, but she has amble room to roam and she's smart about the road.  She had no problems adjusting.

She often greets my husband with puppyish hops and lots of wriggles.  It's one of the high points of his day, coming home to such an enthusiastic welcome.  Shaddow's been our big girl, as we now have a lil girl who has learned how to remain sweet from Shaddow's example.  Sophie will be three and we've had her since she was ten weeks old.  She is a chiweenie, tho favors the dachshund line in appearance.  Shaddow's been a good big sister to Sophie.  A great companion to me, a loyal friend with a big forgiving heart, and a wonderful first dog for me to have had.

Shaddow is aging not so well.  Her earlier trauma has had its toll.  Her joints are stiff, she moves slowly and awkwardly.  Her growth had been stunted, so her proportions are a bit off and now she is almost swaybacked.  She also has tumors throughout her body that are growing at a fast rate, one is pressing against her throat.

Most of the time, Shaddow seems to be happy, content to live and sleep.  She goes out and basks on the cement parking apron.  Or over in the soft field.  Comes in and climbs into her bed.  Sighs.  She eats, gets her treats, lays out on the porch.  Comes when called.  Sprawls next to me, on the cool tiles.

But I can tell she won't be with us much longer.  She's fading.  Sometimes she seems to be fading faster than others.  Sometimes I can still see her bouncing puppyish aura, happy to see her humans, happy to feel the fresh breeze, happy to get the treat.

But she no longer plays with Sophie.  She no longer wants to be bothered with the hustle and bustle of company.  She no longer roams, making her rounds to visit others.  She takes longer to stand from the prone, supine, or sprawled positions.

She whimpers now.  From time to time.  She seems to be in pain.  Now and then.  And I keep watch, because when it's time to say goodbye and let her go, I want to be able to send her on her way with love.  But I don't want to do that too soon.  But I want to be fair and do it on her time table, when she's ready.  But will I know when that is?  Will I be able to do the right thing by her and not hang onto her presence selfishly?

Shaddow's fading.  Fast.  Too fast for me.


  1. I don't think anyone can read this and not shed a tear, get a lump in their throat, or both. It's always had to lose a loved one, no matter how many legs they have. I count myself fortunate to have known her for nearly 5 years now. She is, without a doubt, the most sweet and mellow dog I have ever known.

  2. I agree with pops. I was only at your place for a few months with her, but I remember how adorable those hops were. I hadn't realized she'd experienced such trauma when she was younger and I'm kind of honored she let me get so close to her. Shaddow will be missed!


Thanks for taking the time and effort to let your thoughts be known!