Life in the Fast Lane


Growing Pains

By 6:51 PM , , , , , , , , , ,

This morning, my almost-twelve-year-old Labrador, Ph. Ch. Calvary Chosen One a.k.a. Shadow, passed away.

Four years ago, when he was diagnosed with renal failure, I knew that he was living on borrowed time. Soon enough, his human family would have to come to terms with the fact that he would soon join our beloved Ashley (his sidekick until she passed on in 2006) in Dog Heaven.

We were thankful that he survived that first year. Then the second year. Then the third year. Though he had little bumps along the way (he would lose his appetite, be under medication for a few days, then he'd be back to normal), he was doing well.

This last week or so, though, I knew something wasn't right. And as hard as it was, I had to let go.

So last Saturday, when he was being loaded into the van for confinement at his vet's clinic, I had a feeling that it would be my last time to see him alive. I stroked him all over, looked into his eyes, told him that I loved him, and said, "See you later, Shab."

"Later", though, would no longer be here on earth. But in the heavens someday.


I was a wreck today. I thought I had prepared myself emotionally for this, but I guess one is never really ready to say goodbye forever (or at least while on earth) to a loved one.

I couldn't focus at work, and so I decided to commiserate with my family members who had also gone/stayed home.

As silly and incomprehensible as this might be to non-dog/non-pet owners/lovers, when our furry family members die, we feel genuine pain. This is quite a difficult thing to grasp when you haven't experienced the love of and the joys that come with having a beloved "furriend".

Admittedly, pet owners/lovers can't explain the depth of the love they have for their pets. And as much as I try to explain the sense of loss that my family and I are going through once again (which, I'm sure, other pet owners/lovers can relate with), I won't be able to put it into words.

What I can say, though, is that we mourn because we were able to feel unconditional love. A kind of love that does not complain, does not demand, does not impose; a kind of love that easily forgives and forgets, is filled with unbridled joy, and always looks forward to your return at the end of each day.

We mourn because these pets did not ask that they be brought into our lives; we willingly took them in. Once helpless, forever dependent on us for their day-to-day survival. We had to learn the language of their eyes and movements to determine whether they were happy or if something was wrong. Despite this language barrier, though, a two-way love would always find ways to connect us.

We mourn because there will never be enough time to love and be loved by them. Eight years, ten years, twelve years? Those years are but a second compared to our own lifespans. Yet they fill our lives with so much joy and laughter (and sometimes, tears and bouts of insanity).

Right now, I'm obviously still sad, and it will take some time before my eyes stop watering involuntarily; before the sharp jolts to my heart settle into a dull kind of pain. Whenever I jog around the neighborhood and remember the countless walks I would go on with Shadow, I'll remember — at first, with a weight on my chest; later on, the silly things like how he would need to pee on every tree, lamppost, and tire in sight.

Eleven years and nine months will always be too short a time, but I wouldn't trade these years and months for anything else in the world. 

Shadow five years ago.

Enjoy diving into the lakes of Dog Heaven, Shab. 

Maybe when I see you someday, you will have finally learned the art of actually dropping whatever you retrieved, instead of me having to run after you.

I miss you, goofball.

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  1. Hi Tina, I just read this now..although I've been seeing your snippets of Twitter posts, I wasn't sure what happened.

    I'm really sorry to know Shadow passed away. I know what it feels to lose a beloved furriend.

    My condolences, dear. I'm praying God continues to comfort you. =)

    1. Thank you, Molly. Appreciate your taking the time to read this and post words of encouragement. :)

      Trying to let in the good with the bad now and cope the way I'm sure my goofball would want me to cope. That, plus His grace, will be sufficient.

      Have a blessed day!


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