Last night our family companion and one of man’s best friends, Shadow, left this world. He blessed our lives for nearly 14 years and our hearts are a little hollow today with our loss. He was a “gift” in more ways than one. He was a Christmas gift to Taylor and Emily the year 2000. Although he was born in October, he officially became our keeper in December. Born a Chihuahua, he was small in stature but that little body was filled to capacity with heart. He was a shining example of the canine creed to always take care of your adopted family. He did it with every ounce of his soul.
We were blessed to be able to hold him quietly in our arms, snuggled in a blanket, thanking him for his love, and telling him how much he was loved and would be missed. He lived a healthy life and only of very late did he show the signs that he was preparing to leave us with a lifetime of memories. He was the oldest of our three dogs, and although it might seem that having two other wonderful dogs to fill the void, we might be spared some sorrow, that assumption would be wrong. His absence and memory will always have a special place in our hearts and family.
As all dog lovers know, it is often seen that we humans are being compassionate by opening our homes to our canine friends, when in fact it is we humans that benefit from their unconditional love and caring during their short time with us. They get us into routines that are wonderful distractions from the world around us. They are always ready to share a wag of the tale, jump into a lap, and remind us of how important relationships are to nurture. For just a moment we are part of their world which is so much less chaotic because it simply revolves around sharing affections.
I hope I was worthy of Shadow’s kindness and love. I tried to be as good a friend to him as he was to me. We exchanged our goodbyes last night which were extremely hard but are cherished compared to the alternative of not being able to say goodbye. As my heart and our collective family heart aches today it is also fuller for being part of Shadow’s family.
To know the love of a dog is to know pure love. They depend on you for their every need but what they are willing to give for that kindness is priceless. Every human heart should know that love. It is worth every ounce of sorrow and tears their loss brings. He will be missed.