He was born 9-20-01, in the days after the surreal tragedy of 9/11.
He seemed at first, to CJ, to be just another black lab puppy. He would become so much more in the years to come. More like an Angel in a dog’s form…he would bond to her like no other animal she had ever known or called a pet…so loyal, faithful, and compassionate. So unlike a regular dog, he was to her, EXTRAORDINARY; other-worldly, actually.
He seemed to understand, in his gentle way. He loved her unconditionally, as he did everyone who loved him.
He would have a wonderful, full life working the hunts each fall with Daddy. He would accompany Mommy and Daddy anywhere he could, always by their side, as if to act as guardian angels do.
He was fondly called Mommy’s “baby bear” — because Daddy is her big teddy bear. She would pronounce him the kingly Prince of her heart.
As the years peeled away, his face and paws had begun to gray…CJ fretted at the thought that ‘someday’ he would have to leave them. It would be among the saddest in her life, the day that would take her Shadow away.
She would whisper in his silkiest of pup’s ears, not to go now. Stay with me. Just a little while longer…whatever will I do? How would I go on without you here each day?
More years passed, his hips were worn and he was slowing down. He was losing weight in spite of having a snacky whenever Mommy would toss it…in the final months, that was quite often.
She had tried so hard to get ready; the time was coming soon, she thought. Still, he held on, so happy to see Mommy and Daddy each day.
In the mid-weeks of June they were going on a quick vacation across the country. Tears rolled off her cheeks and onto his nose as she bent to hug him and kiss him before Daddy took him and Hunter, the other lab, to the boarding kennel. Before she let go of him, she asked him not to leave her while they were away — she wanted to be with him when the time came. He set his chin on her shoulder and was very still for a moment. CJ felt that he understood the wish. He was happy.
It was a moment of understanding and a farewell of love. It was the last good moment they would have.
The day they returned, Daddy went off to the kennel to get him and Hunter. But — moments upon their entry to the house — Shadow began to go into a serious respiratory arrest and was unable to stand or catch his breath. Alarmed, and unsure what they could do to help, Mommy and Daddy hurriedly carried him to the truck and raced to the Vet Emergency Clinic.
They knew in their hearts it was the end. They tried to prepare themselves in the quiet ride over.
Once inside, they explained that no heroics were wanted to save him. They would have to be brave…
..they were led back to a room where the nurse had already inserted an I.V. line into his paw..he actually seemed calmer and more stable…Daddy and Mommy petted him, Mommy crying uncontrollably. This was her baby bear. How could it be time? Now?
The dog looked into her eyes when she kissed him…yes, it was time.
The doctor administered the shot, and in an instant, her precious Prince of her heart…was gone.
Daddy and Mommy remained with him for a few more moments, each with heavy hearts and tears in their eyes. She buried her face in his thick neck fur, sobbing and telling him she loved him so much.
He was the best dog. Ever. No other could be what he was to them. He was very special indeed.
And now he was gone.
But…he did as Mommy had hoped…he waited until they could be with him.
Such a wonderful member of our ‘family.’
He is missed most terribly. He will always run and play in her memories. She will carry him always within her heart. Until she can see him again on the other side.
Mommy loves you Shadow. Rest in Peace. Wait for us on the other side, okay my prince? We’ll see you then…