Saturday, March 10, 2012

Happy tails

My oldest dog, Shadow, departed this life in the evening of Thursday, March 1st, just about three months short of her 16th birthday.  She had a long and happy life, but she was old and weary. This was not a decision I ever wanted to make, but I think it was the right time for her. Our vet and his staff were wonderful! Shadow is at peace now.

Me, not so much.  It takes nothing to reduce me to emotional rubble.  I know this will pass; it always does. Patience and self-care are required. And when  I have collected Shadow's ashes and brought her home, I will feel a bit more closure than I do right now. Our rector is also planning a service for all the pets in the parish who have died this year. I think this is a wonderful idea.

So I am trying to focus on the happy memories: Shadow eating the table-pad right off the kitchen table (twice); Shadow pilfering all the dirty silverware out of the dishwasher, which I had left open inadvertently, and carrying it all into her crate so she could lick it clean; Shadow nudging the undersides of our arms as we sat at the table eating -- so vigorously that we routinely had bruises there ...

And my favorite story: Shadow and the boursin.

We had another couple over for dinner, and we started off relaxing in the living room, nibbling on crackers and a large portion of boursin cheese, which rested innocently on a plate on the coffee table. This couple loved Shadow to pieces -- they fussed over her and loved on her, and she was lapping it up (figuratively, for now).

I somehow didn't see that she was eyeing the cheese.  That she was wagging her tail furiously, smiling a doggy smile from ear to ear, while sidling slyly up to the table.  I didn't notice a thing until she leapt upon the cheese, seized the whole thing in her mouth, and took off.

My friends howled with laughter. J. and I caught up with Shadow in the dining room. All that remained of our boursin was a small, inedible remnant. Shadow smacked her lips and looked pleased with herself. The fierce hunter had vanquished the cheese. The rest of us were reduced to bare crackers.

And this is what I will try to remember, as I get used to being without my old friend. She could be a little devil, but even then she delighted and charmed us. Farewell, baby girl. I miss you!


Margaret said...

What a great tribute to a great dog. And you brought me to tears as well. Shadow had a great life in a great family.

MadPriest said...

Oh. Much sadness. Much happiness remembered for always. We'll say a prayer for you at St. Laika's today.