The Simple Life: Me and My Shadow
By Trish Morgan
For the News Tribune
Sixteen years ago, my oldest son TJ brought a yellow ball of fluff on a leash to my home, and introduced me to his brand new puppy.
This little dog immediately took to me for some reason. Crazy, really, being that I have been a cat lover all of my life. What this pretty puppy ever saw in me I never could figure out.
He was named Dre, and came into the family at the perfect time - because in less than a year, a little brown-eyed baby boy named Kamden would come into the world and make a nice, well-rounded family.
Throughout the next ten years of Dre's life, his favorite things to do were running and playing fetch with tennis balls, taking walks, escaping from his leash and taking off as fast as lightning, and coming to my house. I would give him doggie treats, play "blanket" with him, and I bought a million doggie toys with squeakers in them. He could get that squeaker out in 10 seconds flat! Dre also loved to play in the snow...walk in the snow and catch snowflakes, and jump and roll around and get all snow covered. He had a way of making me laugh so hard!
When Kamden and Dre turned ten and eleven, here comes along a beautiful, curly-haired little baby girl named Ava - another little person to play with and romp around the house! As it turned out, Dre's family was complete, along with several cats to tease and chase.
Fast forward to this past weekend. Dre, now 16 years old, would find that his wonderful life would come to an end. On Saturday afternoon, when I stood up to go downstairs, as ALWAYS, Dre stood up to do the same. He walked to the top of the steps and fell over each of his two tries.
He suddenly could not hold himself up. Words cannot express how horrible it was to see this happen. He was perfectly fine one minute, and then in another moment - his back legs would not work. Poor baby was quivering with fear. Both TJ and I evaluated the situation, and decided to call the family in to say goodbye.
Those kind of goodbyes. Just so, so hard.
My sweet little shadow. The boy who followed me from room to room, stood up when I stood up, laid down when I sat down. My shadow was always worried where I was going and what I was doing. My boy adored this old cat lady. It didn't seem to matter to him. He thought I was special. He thought I was everything. That shadow of mine.
Oh, to see my grandchildren cry over their dog. To see my son cry out those 16 years of love and life that were lost on Saturday. To spend hours crying myself. At least I had a special someone who listened and tried to make me laugh throughout the evening. I'm so thankful for the beautiful people and animals God places in my life.
What do I miss the most? Those big, round, dark brown eyes. His shiny and wet black nose. Dre's gentle nature and the way he loved all of my cats the way I did. Then of course, the companionship. He was with me almost all of the time. Many nights, I would fall asleep in my recliner, and Dre was right there on his blanket in front of the fireplace. And, could he snore!
I miss the way he looked at me, the way his eyes and his face showed true devotion to his mistress. I miss how, whenever he found an opportunity, he would steal Ava's chicken nuggets and French fries. He loved those nuggets! I'm sure I will continue to find tufts of his blonde fur around the house for many months to come. And, I'll cry from time to time, too - for my shadow runs free at the rainbow bridge - playing and waiting for the day we see each other again.
"None of us know how much time we have left on this earth. What is left in the end are our actions; the memories you left behind and how you made people feel. What you want to leave behind is for people to remember you with love." UNKNOWN AUTHOR
Just a dog? Nah. Me and my shadow...remembered always as it should be.