Last night a little before 7:15, my 15(-ish, we don’t know her exact age), Chow mix, Shadow, passed away with me by her side. We believe she had a stroke sometime on Tuesday, and we did not believe it was fair to let her suffer any more. If she had been younger, and there was a chance for her to recover, a different decision may have been made. But, in all honesty, we’ve known for a while that this day was coming for a while now. Over the past few months, and really over the last year or two, her health has been on the decline. So, we knew it was coming, but this was still hard.
Shadow came into my life back in July of 2000. I remember at the beginning of that summer, I was looking at our humane society’s website at the pictures of their dogs. I had wanted one so much. We had my stepdad’s dog, but he was outside and old. And not mine. I wasn’t even 16 yet, so I couldn’t adopt one on my own(you have to be 18). Well, one day my mom and stepdad came home, and they were leading this medium-sized black dog across the yard. Come to find out, they went to look at the one I was interested in, a yellow lab puppy, but someone else had just adopted it. And they found her. The humane society said she was 2 1/2 years old and a chow mix, but we never knew what else she was mixed with.
From the moment I took the leash, she was my dog. She followed me everywhere. And still it took 2 weeks to think of a name for her. Should have been obvious from the start, she was my shadow. She had a problem with men. And balls, and later, we learned, empty pop(soda) bottles. I tried to teach her to fetch a ball soon after we got her, and she cowered away every time I would throw it. Our assumption was that she had been abused by a former owner and thought I was going to hit her as well. Either that, or she knew how terrible my aim was. She also hated to have her tail touched. HATED it. Which is another thing we attributed to her possible abuse.
She was such a good dog and smart. About the only thing I could never teach her was to fetch. She wouldn’t even chase the ball. Everything else she learned so easily though. And friendly. I would swear she didn’t have a mean streak in her. But, she was definitely a one-person dog. She would stay with me all the time, and didn’t really care for too many others. When Cory and I moved into our apartment, we had two floors of it, which started on the second floor of the building. She would only let me take her outside. If Cory tried to, she would just stand there and not do anything. And she would not eat or drink unless I was home. One time, right before our wedding, she went about 24 hours without doing anything. Because I wasn’t home. Neurotic, a little? Yes, she was. 🙂
But, she was a good dog. And she had a long life, a lot longer than we thought it would be. Back when we lived in that apartment(only for a year), we didn’t think she would make it much longer. With having to go up and down those steps all the time, her joints were bad. And she would never stay downstairs if I was up on the top floor(which is where our computer was and where I spent most of the day). Once we moved out to our house, she improved. There’s only a few steps from the porch to the yard, and our house is just a single level. But, over the last few years, she had gotten bad again. Would have trouble walking when she’d first get up, especially when it gets cold. And on Tuesday, I thought at first that’s all it was. Until it didn’t get any better, and really got worse. She could barely get up on her own, and I had to carry her outside and to her food dish, which she wouldn’t even eat out of. So, I don’t have much doubt that we made the right decision.
So long, Shadow. You were a good dog and a good friend. We’re going to miss you, but I know you’re no longer in pain. And I hope you’re able to run and play now like you haven’t been able to in a while.