Our world is a little quieter, and our carpets are a little less furry, as Shadow, also known as Yaddo, has left us.
It started with an episode in the middle of the night where he became distressed and listless, a trip to the Emergency Vet revealed fluid around his heart and while a cause could not be determined it was most likely caused by a tumor. We brought him home to spoil him rotten, hoping for the best but preparing for good-byes.
Good-byes came just a few days later, same circumstances, same trip to the vet, although this trip had a brief stop for cheeseburgers. When you offer an Elkhound a cheeseburger and they do not take it, you know it is their time. It was his time, who knew a heart as big as his could give out. It was not an easy March for us, but we are healing.
When you adopt a senior you know time is limited, and I have learned that you just have to embrace every day. It is easy to get caught up on keeping them healthy, or keeping them safe, but you cannot forget the fun, the love and the laughter. With a senior dog, with all dogs really, it is about quality, not quantity, and I am proud to say we made every day we had count. Shadow had lots of walks, lots of cookies, lots of cuddles, and lots and lots of laughter for three glorious years. Could he have been trimmer? Yes. Better behaved? Undoubtedly. Could I have done more medically? Probably. But could he have been happier? No, I don’t think he could of. Well, no, he would have been much happier if we left him raid the recycling bin and eat the cat food whenever he wanted to, but there are limits, this is not anarchy.
Shadow was a constant reminder to stay humble, be creative, and laugh. Because if you did not laugh at his antics your other option was to yell, or to cry, and laughing was so much better. He would generally laugh along with you, Shadow never took himself too seriously either.
I have no words of wisdom on handling grief, no poems, not even flowery prose. I just encourage everyone to hug their dogs a little bit longer, to feed them that extra piece of cheese, and try to find the humor in even their naughtiest behavior.