It’s time to share another "Tuesday’s Show & Tail." Angela, over at West Virginia Treasures, has been hosting this special time for several months, and it is always a lot of fun to see all the interesting posts of the people who join in! This is the 36th week that Angela has hosted this meme to share about past or present pets, animal friends we’ve known, or interesting stories about animals. If you’d like to join, here is the link to the Guidelines.
Today… if I can get through it… I want to share about my old Shadow. He was a very special dog (but so many have been) that we got originally for my son, Mick. We first saw Shadow at an old Safeway Grocery store in March of 1990. He was in a shopping cart with a BUNCH more brothers and sisters. He was the skinniest of the bunch, and looked like he was mostly head (as do most animals who are starving) I couldn’t take all of them home, but decided we would try to save him as he was in the worst shape of them all.
He was part Border Collie and probably had some German Shepherd and/or Queensland Healer in him. He was TOTALLY smart, and learned very quickly. Of course, with good food and a lot of love, he grew into a very handsome, healthy dog and, since we moved out here a few months after we got him (one of the reasons that I knew we COULD get him) he and Mick had lots of room to roam. Mick lived on, and for horses, and they spent many hours riding the hills around here for miles with Mick’s brothers.
One day, when Shadow was a year or so old, I heard what sounded like a horrible struggle outside about 6 a.m.. It sounded like someone was being strangled. I jumped out of bed and ran outside (without my glasses), tripped in a hole and crawled to where the two dogs were struggling. Our other German Shepherd, Midnight, and Shadow had been playing when she got her jaw tangled in his choke collar and it somehow twisted around her jaw she couldn’t let go and it had tightened down on his neck and was strangling him while threatening to break her jaw.
I was yelling to try to wake one of the kids and praying desperately when suddenly one of the links broke! ( a TOTAL miracle as those were heavy, welded links) Midnight ran dripping blood from her mouth, and Shadow lay on his side, not breathing, his tongue blue, and he had already soiled himself. I gave him CPR ( I worked with little special ed. children, so had been taught how) Within a minute, he started to breath again, and we laid there, side by side, me petting him, crying and thanking God, and him gasping until he got his breath back.
His neck was cut and swelled up quite badly for several days, and Midnight had lost one of her front molars, but they both survived. From that time on, if Mick wasn’t home, and after he graduated and left home in 1996, Shadow was literally, in my shadow, until he got to the point where he could no longer walk and started to be in pain, at the age of 17. I took him to the vet and was with him as he went to the “Rainbow Bridge.” Mick drove out and buried him in our front yard, under the trees in his favorite spot.
Besides her Mama Mist, Shadow was OC’s favorite, and she followed him around and looked up to him totally. He was great with everyone and with other dogs, too, once he was told they were "ok." The only thing he feared was gunshots. I remember one day, the neighbors were practicing shooting out in their side pasture, and I heard a bang at the front door. I looked up and there was Shadow hanging from the flyscreen that’s on the upper half of the screen door. He reminded me of those old Garfields that used to have the suction cups on the feet that you could hang on windows… poor baby.
I wrote a poem about/for him the evening we buried him:
Goodbye My Shadow
3/90 to 7/9/05
That silver muzzle is no longer here
To nuzzle my hand as I shed my tears.
Old friend I will miss you so
As through this life I continue to go.
I remember your big head at six weeks old
Attached to that tiny body of bones.
We took you home and fed you up
And you became a sturdy pup.
And then when you were one or two
I shared the breath of life with you.
You’ve been my Shadow from that day to this
And you’re loving presence I greatly miss.
Today I freed you from your pain
I hope that my loss is your gain.
I looked to throw you a treat tonight
But no trusting eyes greeted my sight.
Later I reached to scratch your old ears
Then couldn’t hold back the flowing tears.
I know you’re in a better place
And smiling again with your doggy face.
By Linda Brock © 7/9/05