I remember when we first met our beautiful fur baby girl. She was tiny. She had a stripe right down the middle of her head. I knew she was the puppy for us, even before she opened her eyes. We spent time with her almost every week, right up until the day we brought her home. The first night was hard. She was a bit upset from leaving her mum and litter mates. She had a basket next to my bed, but I picked her up and put her with us. About 10 minutes later she peed everywhere.
She was a mischievous little pup. Always playing. Always running. She had to be in the middle of the action. We had to put a cat collar on her with a bell so we knew where she was. Her fur brothers were no match for her once she grew taller then them. They would try to push her around but she soon learnt she could step right over the top of them.
Every day I would take her for a walk. On the way back we would walk along the beach. She would bounce in and out of the water. Jumping over the waves. I swear she would swim to China if I let her off her lead.
She was a friendly girl. She always wanted to be with us and her brothers. Try and separate them for any length of time and a chorus would start in the back yard. The glass sliding door was her nemesis. She was always in a hurry and ran most places. She soon learnt to put the breaks on when she would get near the door. I don’t know how many times she hit her head on it! Poor girl would rebound and be left sitting on her bottom, stunned.
Every toy, no matter what it was, was a fetch toy. She was obsessed. She would play all day if she didn’t get so puffed. She would end up laying down in the grass for a few minutes, then she was up and ready to go again.
She hated storms. If there was one she would hide. She would hide behind us, run up the hallway or climb all over her dad so he would protect her. She may have been a blue heeler but she had no interest in cattle. I could say to her ‘where are the boys?’ and she would run off and I would hear her bark a few seconds later. She would round up her fur brothers and bring them back. If they didn’t listen she would go off her tree at them.
As she got older she started to lose her sight. But that didn’t stop her. She was still a bulldozer. She would still manage to find her ball to play. We got her toys that made sounds as they bounced so she could find them.
In winter we noticed a change in her movement. So we started her on monthly injections for arthritis. It would send her loopy on the first day. It was like she was stoned.
She had a thing from a young age, that every time she vomited she would pass out. So we delayed having her desexed because of the anesthetic risk. We had to bite the bullet and get her done though, when we moved into our forever house. The neighbours seemed to have difficulty keeping their dogs in their yard. The only way I could keep our girl quiet after surgery was to put on Disney cartoon movies, or the Simpson’s.
When I would do physio she was right by my side. If I was doing floor exercises she would come and stick her face right in mine, making sure I was ok. She would play the whole time and distract me from the pain. And the cuddles. Oh man the cuddles. She knew that she couldn’t sit in my lap because of my leg, so she would push herself into the space between them and put her head on my chest. If I tried to do anything she would stick her paw on my hand or on my tablet or phone. It was like she was saying ‘excuse me… I want pats’.
Watching her play with her fur brothers was always a laugh. Chasing them. Then being chased. Running around like complete loonies. She was so smart. She learnt to sit, drop and high five. And if we said ‘other one’, she would quickly change paws. If I told her to go toilet she would go and sniff out a good spot to go. If we said car, she was there saying let’s go. She knew when we were at the kennel for a holiday, she would do her excited bark noises. She did that every morning too when I would say I needed a coffee, because she knew she would get something to eat. If she needed to go out when we were in bed, she would whimper and stick her paw on me.
Her sight deteriorated over time. It was literally the blind leading the blind here. She learnt what careful was, and come around. Or other way. I would ask her if she was a good girl and she would wag her tail. If I asked if she had been naughty the tail would stop and she would look at me as if to say ‘how dare you imply that I have been naughty’. If she was and I told her off, she would put her tail down and slink away. Only to return a minute later and insist on a pat. I would tell her good girl and she would go get her toy. All was forgiven. No grudges.
But then last week things changed. Her cough wouldn’t go away and she wasn’t interested in food. She went to the vet and got put on more meds. But she couldn’t play anymore. She would get her toy once and bring it back to go again, but she coudlnt. She would leave it. We knew something was wrong. To the vet again for an xray. We found out she had a tumor in her abdomen. And all through her lungs. Our girl was really sick. They said a week. Maybe 2. That night we took her and her brothers out in the car and she hung her head out the window. We gave her chicken nuggets as her first people food and she loved them. She ate maybe 10! That night we cuddled on the couch then she slept between us.
The next morning she wasn’t doing well. She was uncomfortable. But she ate more nuggets. Then all of a sudden she wasn’t ok. I called hubby who raced home. I sat with her on the patio and told her she was a good girl. I loved her. I cuddled her. I tickled her ears. I told her she could do what she needed to and I would be right there. We bundled her into her favourite coat and off to the vet we raced. I cradled her the whole way. I held her tight against my chest. I told her I loved her. I told her she was a good girl. I kissed her. And all of a sudden, I felt her last breath. I felt her stop and she was gone. I cuddled her right to the end. I never wanted to let her go but I had to. Now we are waiting for her to be reunited with us when her ashes come home. We told them she had to wear her coat. She loved her coat. If she saw me with it she wanted it on. If she saw me put them on her brothers she waited for hers. If she heard me undo the velcro strap she was right there waiting.
My heart is broken. I feel like part of me is gone. There is an ache that won’t go away. My eyes sting from tears. I see things that remind me of her. I do things and expect to see her next to me or feel her run into me. My lap is empty. I have too much room in bed and on the couch. I feel a sadness that will not stop. Night times are hard. That’s when we would cuddle the most. Putting food in 2 bowls instead of 3 hurts. I’ll be ok and all of a sudden a wave of emotion hits and I’m overwhelmed again. I cuddle her brothers and appreciate the time I have with them. I feel guilty that I miss her so much, but then I wonder if I miss her enough. I have a bond with each of my fur children that is different. I love them all in their own ways. They have been watching me. Checking on me. They know that I’m sad.
I miss my best friend. I miss my baby. I miss my cuddle buddy. I miss her climbing up on me and snuggling in when she knew I was in pain. When I was having a flare up. When I was struggling. I now have to learn to do it without her. I know that in the darkness there will be light again but right now I’m broken. I just want to hold her. To thank her. To play with her. I will spend my days with my boys and appreciate every moment. It is unfair that dogs don’t get to live as long as we do. But they pack so much in to their lives. So much love. So many laughs.
A dog is not a pet. They are a member of the family. They are important. They fill our lives. They fill our hearts. They take a piece of us with them when they cross the rainbow bridge. No matter what they are there for us. They don’t care about looks. They just want to be with you and be loved.
Thank you Shelby for loving us. For being a cheeky girl and even being naughty. Thank you for listening to me ramble and all the cuddles when I was hurting. Thank you for being our bebe. We love you Shelby girl. You will forever be part of us. Forever loved and forever missed. Time for bed beautiful girl.
#CRPS #complexregionalpainsyndrome #depression #anxiety #furbaby #rainbowbridge