That is from my son Devin, whom Shadow loved, played with and watched over since he was born almost 6 years ago. Every night he gives a hug and kiss to his beanie baby black and yellow labs Shadow & Sunshine before going to sleep, and knows that she is still watching over and loving him.
Every dog owner thinks their dog is the smartest, most lovable, cutest, etc. I know, having dogs all of my life, and having chosen to go to college to attempt to get into vet school, unsuccessfully. Instead, I became a vet tech, and then ran a boarding and grooming kennel. Shadow was that once in a lifetime dog that will be difficult for another to live up to.
My now husband and I had just moved in together into a house with a football field for a backyard. Well, not literally, but the space was there. His parents had never allowed any pets, but I needed a dog to make our house a home. Luckily for us, a friend's sister's dog had just had puppies. They were going to keep one for themselves, but with 5 kids, were not ready to handle a puppy. She was 3/4 Lab and 1/4 Shepherd, black, and had already been named Shadow by the kids.
We brought her home, and Bill could not have gotten any luckier to have her as a first dog. Housebroken within a week, playful, full of energy, and smarter "than the average bear." She would chase tennis balls, Frisbees, baseballs-anything that could be thrown or caught-for hours on end. We had to use tennis rackets and baseball bats to send her balls because she would wear every one's arm out throwing! You could throw a snowball into a bank of snow and she would come out with it! The neighborhood kids would come knock on our door to ask to take her out of play, as if she was another kid. She had at least a 50 word vocabulary-tell her anything as though talking to a person and she would sit, go upstairs, to bed, outside,etc.
We got married a year later, and Shadow came on our honeymoon. She would have been the flower dog, but was still a little bit too hyper.
A couple of years passed, and I had a 6 week yellow lab puppy abandoned at my kennel. Brought her home, and my husband named her Sunshine, because "you can't have a shadow w/o sunshine." Shadow immediately became her "mom," and the 2 were inseparable since.
A few more years passed, and we had Devin. If Shadow had lived up to her name before, once he was born, it was a hundredfold. That baby went nowhere without her behind us. If he cried, she would run up to us and wouldn't rest until he was quiet. As he got older, she became his backrest, couch, and playmate. Sunshine would join in, but Shadow was the one who was "his" dog.
This past year, at the age of 11, things started to go downhill for Shadow. She had always had allergies, but this spring, it manifested into a skin infection that no medications, baths, or treatments would help. My once glossy black, beautiful girl went almost bald, and then just as suddenly, everything else went also. She started to have trouble with her hips; her hearing and vision too. I'd call her in from the yard, and would have to clap or bang on the door for her to hear me; she'd drop a biscuit and wouldn't be able to find it in front of her. When she no longer showed any interest whatsoever in playing with Devin, and wouldn't get up to greet anyone, we knew.
So, the decision I had hoped would never have to happen, as all pet owners do, had to be made. She was too great of a companion, and we loved her too much to let it go on any more.
We love you Shadow Pups (our nickname), and Devin knows you still love him and watch over him.
We miss you more than words could say, even though we know you'll always be with us. You're the bestest Pups.
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