Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Shadow - Life Lessons On Love

Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. 
To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, 
where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.
Milan Kundera

Shadow came into our lives at a time when I just had experienced a number of significant losses.  Both my Grandmother and sister had passed away within a week of each other and a few months later, my family decided to add Shadow to our family to lighten our lives.  She was a typical, high energy puppy but what I remember the most from her puppyhood is her intuitive understanding that I was in pain and her compassion towards me.  She would wrestle and nip at the others, but for me she was my cuddle buddy.  That never changed.

A really companionable and indispensable dog is an accident of nature. 
You can't get it by breeding for it, and you can't buy it with money.  
It just happens along."
- E B White

Shadow was a unique pup.  It wasn't so much that she thought she was human as she was convinced we were just overgrown, weirdly-shaped dogs.  Her life was about walks, hanging with her pack, treats.... and walks.  And she saw herself as in charge....of everything.  About four years ago we added another Weimaraner rescue dog to our lives.  Shadow embraced Cleo as part of the family and provided security and comfort to her.  Kiyomi, her Samoyed cousin, was welcomed into the mix a few years later.  She did have her fears (and they were intense ones).  Water and riding in cars were the big ones, but once we bought our cabin on the lake she started to challenge herself and explore the new, big world.  We loved having her blaze the trail on our daily walks.  And she loved learning to play hockey on the frozen lake.

Until you have loved an animal, part of your soul 
will have remained dormant. 
- Anatole France

Her death was sudden and unexpected.....such a terrible shock.  In the past week I often felt that her death somehow diminished my world but now I remember with love all she had to share.  Shadow loved her family and she was excited and curious about the world.  She would have done anything to protect those she cared about.   She led us into adventure and reminded us daily of the importance of family and friends and taking pleasure in life.  She liked to have fun.  I will take those life lessons to heart and really ask myself, "What would Shadow do?".

It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. 
And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. 
If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become 
as generous and loving as they are.