Your Pet Loss Diaries

'Kylie & Shadow'

About Shadow

Shadow my 10 year-old German Shepherd.

When did you lose Shadow?

December 29, 2009.

At which stage of pet loss grief do you feel you are currently at?


Kylie and Shadow's Story so far

Shadow and I started our journey when he was 10 weeks old and I was 13. We got him the day after our previous dog died, and I was not ready for another dog. I had nothing but disdain for Shadow at first, since I was still grieving for my other dog. I had little knowledge that this puppy was going to give me countless memories, unwavering love and loyal companionship for the next ten years.

Shadow got his name because we thought he was a "shadow" of our previous dog. In retrospect, the name wasn't very fitting because he completely shined.

Shadow lived on a piece of property that the finest dog parks would be envious of. The world was his to explore and he never even knew what a fence was and a leash was only for going to the vet or other places in the car.

Weighing in at around 100 lbs. We weren't surprised when Shadow had some joint issues around 8 years old. We handled it with drugs from the vet and the whole family started preparing themselves for what would undoubtedly be his last few years. I cherished every moment with him and he continued to amaze me with his intelligence and love.

Right around xmas of 2009, we were treating him for an infection he had in all four paws - probably something that was brought on by his allergies. He was starting to get around less and less and it was so difficult to watch my dog struggle to navigate through the snow when going to the bathroom outside. It was hard to tell if this was due to his arthritis getting really bad, his infected paws or something else.

Then he started turning the corner. The meds were finally working on the infection and he seemed to be getting back to normal. My constant worrying at work was eased by messages from my family saying that Shadow was getting around better and was barking at night again. The same day I received one of those messages, I also received a call later in the day from my brother. Shadow was having horrible cluster seizures and not even the drugs the vet administered were easing them. They thought they would have to put him down. They thought he probably had a brain tumor. I rushed to the vet, begging them not to do anything. The whole way there I convinced myself there must be another option, the vet is wrong.

Then when I arrived at the vet's office and saw my dog, I knew what I had to do. I told him he was the best dog ever, that I'd always love him and that we were taking him home. Then I watched my best friend die. On a cold December night, we buried Shadow in our backyard. I think I was too numb to even feel the cold.

The dog hair that was once such a nuisance to clean in the house, is now is a constant reminder of our missing family member. I know I'll always miss Shadow, but I await the day where my memories of putting him to sleep are pushed behind the 10 years of gifts he gave me. I will always treasure those.

Your Pet Loss Diaries - 'Kylie & Shadow'

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