I was feeling a bit nostalgic tonight and decided to go looking through a few old boxes of photos. Little did I know it would turn into a tear-fest upon finding some old pictures of my childhood angel, Shelby.
As a puppy (walking with me at Easter)-
Hanging out with me and the neighbors Lab-
Proving what a tolerant, WONDERFUL dog she was-
Technically she was a mix, but you couldn't tell by her structure and temperament. There she was all GSD. Loyal, loving, devoted... would do ANYTHING for her people. Her only giveaways were her size (being only 45-50lbs at her heaviest), and color. I'm told that such a thing as a 'gold sable' exists... but I'm not so arrogant as to assume she was some rare variety of a purebred. She was a mutt, even if her Shepherd blood was clearly dominant.
We took her in as a stray when she was just a pup. She lived with me and my family in a time before leash laws, on a huge, secluded piece of property. The best years of my life were spent with her. In many ways, she defined my childhood. I LIVED for her.
Eventually a time came when we could no longer be together. My mother and I were forced to sell our house, and move into a tiny apparent. We didn't have the room to properly care for her, so she went to live with my grandmother. I still got to visit her from time to time, but tragically our distance eventually led to a deterioration of our relationship.
YEARS later, when we finally moved back into a house, Shelby came to live with again. At the time I was a selfish teen, who in her absence had grown arrogant and self-involved. I was annoyed by her, constantly complaining about her smell, and her increasing incontinence.
Eventually a time came when she could no longer walk. We had to help her stand, and escort her to the door, or the bed, or her food bowl. It was decided that, so as to spare her further pain and discomfort, we would help her to the bridge.
When the day came, I didn't know what to think. I was the one that had been elected to see her off... and I wasn't at all eager about it.
I'd always just assumed that she'd be around forever... and in my selfish years had taken her for granted. Now I had to be the one to tell her goodbye for the last time.
The pain and the love I'd had for her hit me all at once as I watched her grow still from the first injection. It felt like I was being run over and over again by a train. Right as the vet was about to give her the final injection, I threw my arms at him, forcing him away from her. I screamed at him, refusing to let him near.
I was escorted out. Because of my selfishness, she had to die alone. I will never forgive myself.
I cried so hard my nose bled. I upset two vet techs so badly that they, too, had to leave.
Her ashes sit on a bookcase in my living room to this day... but her memory lives on in my heart forever.
R.I.P. my sweat angel. I hope one day I'm worthy enough to see your face again.