VALE Shadow - our little guide and constant companion

 

Shadow 1/8/98 – 18/12/14

 

 

 

I have known for a while that this day would come, but that does not make it any easier. She was an old dog, but that does not diminish the sadness, it can not reduce the hole that is left by her passing and neither should it. She may have been a small dog, but her impact on everyone around her was much larger than herself.  

Shadow, a female Maltese, Shih Tzu came into our lives over 16 years ago. Daniel was celebrating his first birthday. We had a huge old dog called “Bruce” who had become tired and neurotic, though he still let the kids ride him around like a horse, he was getting quite cranky. He didn’t like to be by himself. The vet suggested a companion dog and I jumped at the chance. Pretty soon we had welcomed a new life in to the family and when this bundle of fluff came home she immediately clung to Bruce like a lifeline. She mirrored his every move,  slept in the curve of his hind leg alongside his massive tail and when he walked, she walked in his shadow – that’s how she got her name. She was always’s Bruce’s dog – his guide, his companion.

Growing up alongside a much larger dog for her first 6 years, gave Shadow the feeling that she too had a large stature. She never behaved like a yappy little dog, instead, she cruised around with all the confidence of a breed ten times her size. Of course, every family with a pet has many canine stories to tell so I won’t bore you with the details, but Shadow was an exceptional dog and touched the lives of many who met her.

Shadow cheated death on many occasions and was affectionately known as “old nine lives” because of her uncanny ability to escape early expiry. There was a time when she escaped from a locked pet carrier and leapt from a trailer travelling 100km along the highway. We were pulled over by a frantic motorist who had to convince us it was our dog. In total disbelief I left the vehicle, determined to show him that the our dog was locked in a pet carrier – see, here is Bruce and….alas there was no Shadow. Our family holiday had come to a hiatus. Hours spent combing the highway, distraught (while the kids were watching the Lion King series on the car DVD player). When night fell we abandoned our search. Days later, and many phone calls, advertisements down the track, Shadow had been found. It turns out, after this crazy canine had leapt from the vehicle, she rolled down the side of the road…shook herself off…was spotted by a motorist who was stopped in traffic, he just opened the car door and she jumped straight in. He took her to the Vet hospital at the university and she was kept there for observation. She was fine, she was tough and, it seemed to be that her adventures had only just begun.

This little lassie was indeed larger than life.  By the time we moved to Diamondvale she was on her own. Bruce had passed away shortly before we arrived and when we turned up in Stanthorpe, Shadow had assumed the role of top dog. Shadow assimilated into life as a B&B dog, like a duck to water. She observed my every move and recognised a pattern. Pretty soon she was doing the breakfast rounds like a pro. Our darling Shadow made every guest feel like they were the only ones who she adored. She had a way with people, this dog anticipated their every move. I guess she continued her companion role with the guests once Bruce was gone, for she cared for them in a way that you could never train a dog to do.

Perhaps her most remarkable feat was assisting guests to walk in to town. If you were lucky enough to be here in the prime of her life you would have been escorted in to town by this little fluff ball. She would literally bounce ahead of the guests and eagerly look back along the trail making sure they were keeping up. If they weren’t tagging along behind she would run back and make sure she had their attention. She was determined. They were going to town and she was going to guide them. If a bigger dog tried to menace the guests on the trail, Shadow would sort them out, these were her guests and they were going to town no matter what. This darling chaperon would even wait outside the shops whilst the guests had coffee and dutifully ensure their safe passage home.

Over the last few years she had started to slow down. Her heart was frail but her spirit was strong. She was always there for our guests. If a child was tentative about dogs, Shadow would take her time with them. Equally, she would allow herself to be smothered with affection by those who could not get enough of her.

This cute canine even tried to teach Cara (our other dog) how to show guests the trail and Cara does try, but is so easily distracted….. “Oh look a shiny thing…” I am sure some days I heard Shadow sigh as she watched Cara bounding off in the wrong direction to chase the scent of a rabbit rather than pay attention to the trail, but her patient demeanour never waned.

Even as she aged, she continued to relish her surroundings. She went for daily swimming excursions and often took herself along the trail, at her own pace. For Shadow it has certainly been a dog’s life. Stealing eggs from the chookpen, scabbing bacon bits from the guests, sneaking into the back room when there was a storm – she was a savvy dog. Right up until the end, she insisted on finding her way to the creek, she went for a swim and she lay under the shade of the enormous old gum tree.

There wasn’t a secret hiding place she didn’t know, a guest she didn’t love or a treat left behind that she couldn’t find. Hers was the life of Riley, a life worth celebrating.  I am going to find it hard to look out the back door and not see her scruffy face. It’s going to be harder to tell our lovely guests, who are more like family than visitors, that our little girl has gone. Though we all know nothing lasts forever – it’s nice to think sometimes it might.

May you rest in peace little Shad.

 

Posted By: Kerrin  18 December 2014 8:11 PM Last Updated By: Kerrin  19 December 2014 9:57 AM

 

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