Dear Shad,
I wanted to tell you how much we all miss you. We are grieving so much. It’s been weeks now but we still look for you everywhere. We turn around and expect you to be there. Fossil misses you too. He has separation anxiety now , barks, but won’t run to the front door like he used to with you pounding ahead of him.
You were only seven. It wasn’t long enough. You were such an incredibly stoic boy. You were born with a deformed leg and a club foot, helped with operations so you could weight bear again, but your leg always troubled you through the years. You were handled by so many people and we tried so many avenues to keep you as well as we could.
When you started limping we thought it was the old problem again. The CT showed you had bone eaten away but we were hoping it was infection from the metal plate like once before. The remaining metal was taken out, a biopsy was indefinite. Then you had further biopsies and the diagnosis was an osteosarcoma. We were still hopeful for a little time with you. But not long after that when you had still an open weeping wound on your leg and the vet came to dress it, you got out of your bed to run to the door when the bell rang. You stood there patiently while it was rebandaged and then really you had just had enough. We never saw you walk normally again.
You were so so stoic and even when your bad leg was fiddled with over the years you never growled once. You would raise your head if it was really bad and that was it. But those last few days you cried if we weren’t right next to you comforting you and for four days and nights we kept vigil with you. You were never alone and we hope you knew how much you were loved. The only time you struggled to get up was when you had to toilet as you were determined to go outside.
We knew it was time. We were with you at home when it happened, touching you, and telling you how much we loved you. We didn’t want you to leave us.
I know I wasn’t first with you. Your dad was. But as soon as you got back from your walk you would run to me in my study and bury you head in my lap and as much as your body between my legs as would fit and let me know that you loved me too, and everything was good for you because we were both there. In the morning I would put my arm outside the bed and you would rest your head on my hand so I could rub that sensitive spot under your chin that you couldn’t reach. Sometimes I would just reach over you and give you a body hug and you would just lean against me and we would rock together back and forth. You had enough love for both of us.
When we had older foster dogs you were so gentle with them – although sometimes running down the hallway you would get a bit too much speed up and jump over them. When they decided to sleep between your legs, or even stole your bed, you would just accept it. You loved your food but you would always politely wait till your guests finished before you went near their plates. And when Fossil and you were scatter feeding you had such a great sense of smell that you would find the food first but happily let Fossil dive in to eat it.
You truly never met a person or dog you didn’t like, and were amazed and hid behind me when a small dog barked at you. You did hate water though and washing you was absolute hell. You would just resist by using y our weight (57 kgs at your peak) to not participate. We thought this was perhaps because of all the hydro you had over the years to help strengthen your back end. You always hated it.
We’ve always had big dogs and know so many people are frightened of them. But no one was frightened of you. Children always wanted to pat you – they said you were Hercules from Hairy McLary.
You were such a big placid boy but every now and then you did your zoomies. We wish we had a video of you – for those few minutes you were this whirling dervish – Fossil would hide under the table – and then you went back to your bed to sleep again.
I’m sorry for the promises we made to take you different places that we didn’t get around to keeping, because life got in the way. I’m sorry that your life was so short when you had such a big heart and so much love to give.
You were a big dog and you took up such a big space in our house, and in our hearts. We miss you so very much Shad and we won’t forget you. Ever.
Love you Shad.