Saturday, February 26, 2011

Of Dogs And People

                             Of Dogs and People                    

 February 26, 2011

I lost another of my best friends today. Shadow was almost 16 years old, and ancient by the standards of his species. He had been doing well up until about two weeks ago, when he started going down hill very quickly. Yesterday, he was having a problem emptying his bowels. Although he was almost completely blind, he kept going out the dog door all night, trying to relieve himself. This morning, he left the yard, through the electric dog fence, which must have caused him a great deal of discomfort. He crossed the road and went into the woods, probably to die. We noticed that he was gone almost immediately, or we never would have found him. My wife, Sheryl, charged into knee deep snow, down a hill and through trees and wetlands to save him. We had called my daughter, but she did not want to risk losing Shadow while we waited. When Danielle and Alan got here, both Sheryl and Shadow had to be rescued.  Alan carried Shadow up the hill and into the house, where we dried him off and wrapped him in a blanket to warm him as best as we could. He moaned in pain and shivered uncontrollably while we did our best. A call was placed to the vet, and Shadow, after a goodbye hug and kiss to me, his friend of 16 years, made his last trip. The vet, Dr. Jack, has known Shadow since he was a puppy, and sadly confirmed what was already known: Shad was beyond medical help. Laying in his  mom's arms, Shadow slipped peacefully into the light, with Danielle and Mom hugging and kissing him, and telling him how much they loved him. He will live on in our hearts and memories until we, too, draw our last breaths. Shadow will be cremated, and his ashes, along with his son Chance's, will be buried with me. You have not known unconditional love unless you have had a dog in your life. They will lay their lives down for you. They will comfort you when you are in distress, and they never stay angry with you. 
  Some human friends could learn a lot from a dog, but I am afraid that they are incapable of showing the unconditional love of my canine friends. Not all people, mind you, but a few. A dog would never, ever, cut you off forever because you have disagreed with them about something. Real friends do not have to agree on everything. The fake, phonies, and frauds will smile at you and  tell you how wonderful you are, until they do not agree with you about something; then, they will cast you out of their lives like so much garbage. If you are on facebook, one day you will see that one of your 'Friends' is completely gone, and you won't know why. You must have said something or disagreed with something that they said, and have now become dead to them. I don't need friends like that, and I'm sure none of you do either, dear readers. A dog would never do that to you.
  Rest In Peace, Shadow. I will join you one day, and we will walk down that country lane in the light together, perpetually in the the Spring sunshine. I love you, my friend.