When I was young, all I ever wanted was a dog. For years, I begged my mother, who was a single parent, to adopt one. Finally, for my twelth Christmas, my mom finally gave in and we adopted our puppy Shelby, a sheltland sheepdog/terrier mix. With much trepidation the three of us began our new life together. In the beginning, Shelby was a terror, who treated me more like a brother or sister than anything. She would consistently rip the noses off of my stuffed animals, run around the house out of control and always wanted to play rough. Shelby barked all the time and seemed to hate most people. But as she grew older and our love for one another strengthened, she became a family member. We shared many life changes, my mother getting remarried, a move, me going away to college, all of which she handled with such patience and kindness.
She loved to chase deer, run up the large hill in our backyard, lick the icecream bowl and lay under the covers. Shelby always looked with love and always seemed to understand my emotions at anytime. In the mornings she would come in my room and would patiently sit and stare at me to wake up so that we may enjoy our day together. Whether it be going for a car ride, lounging by the fire, or laying in the sun outdoors, Shelby truly enjoyed life.
And while there are no real words to express the love that she overwhelmed me with and the laughter she always invoked, there are also no real words to describe the emptiness my family feels after losing such an important family member.
In October, at the age of 12, Shelby passed away. Her last day on earth was spent laying on a large bed we had made for her in the living room and each of us, my mother, my stepfather and myself took turns laying by her and telling her what a difference she had made in our life. I recounted the stories of both of us in our younger years, all of the times we shared, good and bad. I cried, she cried. I told her that I would miss when we would lay out together in the sun, I would miss me sharing ice cream with her, I would miss taking her in the car with me, I would miss her cuddling, I would miss her greetings and goodbyes whenever I would come and go. I cried, she cried. I told her she was the best dog that ever walked the earth and that she gave me so much more that she could ever realize. I cried, she cried. At the end of our talk, she closed her eyes and I closed my eyes and we slept. I prayed for Shelby, I prayed for Shelby's pain and I prayed that Shelby would feel all the love I had for her. I awoke with Shelby staring at me patiently with love in her eyes. I held her paws, kissed her snout and told her I loved her.
I will always love and miss her and will hopefully see her again some day.