Monday, February 6, 2017

IT'S ALWAYS HARD TO SAY GOOD-BYE

Our family said our good-byes to our doxie granddawg Shadow last Wednesday, Feb. 1. If you've ever lost a beloved pet, then you know how hard it is when that pet has to be put down because of health reasons. Shadow had turned 16 in January, and had been in declining health for some time. He could no longer see well (cataracts), had poor hearing, and his back legs had stopped working, for all intents and purposes. Our daughter and son-in-law made the heart-wrenching decision to have him put to sleep because they couldn't stand to watch him suffer any longer. He probably had cancer, too, because he was sick half the time and wouldn't eat, and he was in pain.

My husband Clark made him a wooden casket and painted it white; he bought Shadow a soft fleece blanket to wrap him in after it was all over; he cleared out a place in our woods across the bridge he'd built over our creek, and dug a grave for Shadow on a little hill overlooking the creek. He bought red mulch and white marble chips to adorn his grave. Lastly, since the grave is on a hill, he built a wooden
surround on the lower side of the grave.

We went to their house to stay with the grandchildren while Holly and Philip took Shadow to the vet appointment. Beforehand, we all held him, told him we loved him, shed tears, and say good-bye to him. That was far harder than I ever thought it would be! Shadow had been their firstborn, and he was brought home only a few months after they married in 2000. Shadow was there when each baby was born, he experienced the family's moves to different states (NC, MA, TN, and GA), and endured having three cats brought in as siblings to him. They came to love each other. Then last year, Bruno the boxer joined the menagerie, and they came to an agreement of sorts: "Don't bother me, and I won't bother you." Shadow didn't want Bruno messing with him or his toys!

Shadow stayed with us when they went on vacations--he and our doxie Duke were good buddies. Shadow had put up with Duke as an eight-week-old "whippersnapper" when we first adopted Duke, teaching Duke that ALL toys were his, no matter who they belonged to!

But I digress. When Holly and Philip came home after that vet visit, Shadow was in his casket in the back of the van. It was over. We all realized we'd never see him again after sixteen years of hearing his bark over nothing, seeing him argue with the cats, and giving doggie kisses to all of us. We all drove to our house where he would be buried, since their yard didn't have a place for such. Since our daughter Bethany and hubby Kurt couldn't come from AZ, they ordered the grave marker, which consists of an engraved, large rock (it will arrive soon):
Shadow
"Little Man"
2001 - 2017

Once Shadow's little casket was buried, Clark covered the grave with the red mulch and marble chips, and the grandchildren made the shape of a heart out of the red camellias from our bush. 

Below are photos from last Wednesday:
The grandchildren saying
good-bye to Shadow

Holly and Philip, aka
"mama" and "Daddy,"
saying good-bye
Image may contain: 2 people, dog
Clark and me saying good-bye; Shadow
gave me a kiss on my nose!
Our doxie Duke saying
good-bye
Grandchildren decorating
Shadow's grave with
camellias from our yard

Finishing touches

RIP, Shadow
01/22/01 - 02/01/17


Some may wonder why we went to such lengths for "just a dog." In our family, our pets ARE family members, and Shadow was well loved--but he gave love back in so many ways. He was a special doxie, very intelligent, and he rode herd over the other animals (and kids!). He always made his presence known (as doxies do), he was comical, stubborn, protective, and food-oriented. We miss him so much, but are all the richer for having shared years of our lives with him. He was my inspiration for Sarge the doxie in THE DACHSHUND ESCAPADES, and many of those stories really happened. He lives on in our hearts.

Dachshunds . . . you gotta love 'em, even when they're no longer with us.



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