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4.8.14 – 4.8.15 – One Year An Angel

I don’t even know how to start this post. I cannot believe an entire year has gone by since I last felt those velvet ears against my face. Listened to that soft snore. Snuggled up with the love of my life. Kissed that face, those paws, that booty…

It’s been a long year. It’s been a challenging year and I have felt the inner strength of Shelby time and time again. When I didn’t want to go on, I felt her angel paws pushing me forward.

It was a long summer … filled with happy new memories but still that bittersweet ache of missing beach time, happy hour time, late night cuddles. Summer also brought a new fur-baby home to get to know and to love (something I struggled with and still do on occasion).

Fall came quickly and I survived the first anniversary of what would have been her 14th birthday – October 15. I celebrated with cake and wine and in true Shelby fashion, glitter and tiaras!

Fall also brought the memories of extensive ER visits, the cancer diagnosis, our last trip to Santa Barbara, chemotherapy visits… It was also mixed with the celebration of a marriage of two of my dearest friends and a nice long trip to Seattle over Thanksgiving with the new fur-baby.

Winter came with the first Christmas without Shelby – desperate to create new happy memories and rely on Shelby’s strength, I put up a mini tree for the first time in years. Santa Photos at Petco simply were not the same without the beautiful outfits and doggy antlers.

January marked what would have been Shelby’s one-year ampuversary. I couldn’t believe a whole year passed. So much felt different and yet so much felt the same.

As I relived the past four months of her life as a Tripawd, I felt her guiding me, directing me, healing me… Shelby comes to me in my dreams. Not as much as before but definitely often. I feel her sitting next to me on the couch or on the bed. I know it is her and not the new fur-baby since I can see the new fur-baby on the other side of the room. I feel Shelby’s spirit in our home daily and I know the new fur-baby feels it to. Thankfully it spooks her less and she growls less.

Some days the waves of sadness are over-powering, still, after a year. I think about Shelby the most when I am alone in my car. I talk to Shelby every single day. She is the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing at night. I know she hears me talking to her. Sometimes when I am sleeping so soundly, I wake up and am startled to see the new fur-baby and not Shelby on the bed.

I am thankful that Shelby guided me to my new fur-baby, Jasper Lily. Her little antics and quirks brought laughter back into my life. Her willingness to accept and love me – with all my baggage – warms my heart and soul. Dogs love without abandon and it is a trait I desire to have. There will never be another “love of my life”. There doesn’t need to be. When you’ve had the greatest love and spent 13+ years with your soul mate… how can anything possibly get better?

I do cry less … maybe not every day. I have given myself a full year to grieve and take in all the emotions that come with grief – the highs and lows.

Last week, I was on vacation in Cannon Beach, OR at our family’s cabin. When I lived in Seattle, it was the location of many weekend get-aways with Shelby. So to honor her and the love we both have/had for the beach, I brought some of her ashes with me. I waited till the tide was low and walked out to a rock. I said a simple good-bye and told her how much I loved her and missed her. As I opened the bottle, filled with her remains, I struggled to keep myself composed, reminding myself that this was just a shell; that her true spirit lives within me every day. As I set her free, I watched her ashes float away from me but slowly. As if they didn’t really want to leave but knew they had to begin their new journey. The very next day,  I found a single pink shell on the beach. The only whole shell I found the whole trip. It was from Shelby.


Shelby, Cannon Beach 2004


Shelby, Santa Barbara, 2010


Shelby, Cannon Beach 2004


Shelby – 10.15.00 – 4.8.14 (as written in the sand last week)


Perfect pink shell found on the beach


Shelby’s final resting spot, Cannon Beach, OR, 2015


Shelby, Santa Barbara 2011


I have given myself this year to grieve, the mourn, to feel every bit of the pain associated with such tremendous loss. I have been guided by the universe and Shelby. I know that we have experienced all the ‘firsts’ and that time will move on, as it has. My heart and life will never be the same. My eyes are still terribly sad when you look deep into them, all the little tear lines remain (although I’ve been told they are starting to heal). They are my badge of honor. They remind me of the price we pay for loving so hard.

I have no regrets when it comes to our cancer journey. I have made peace with the self-doubt and questioning of my choices. I know that I released Shelby in the right fashion when she made it crystal clear to me. I can look back on her photos of our last 48 hours together and finally see it … see what I couldn’t see at the time … that she was sick and her body was tired and she was ready to be released. I could see what the doctors who lovingly guided me to the final decision could see when I could not.

Our story doesn’t end though … not today, 4.8.15, a year after her soul left earth. It just began it’s new chapter. Because a love like ours has no ending … a love that is true and real and filled with such intensity never leaves the soul. We remain #shelbystrong

I love you, Shelby Lynne, to the moon and back and for all infinity. I miss you my sweet angel and I know you will always remain by side, when I need you most. I thank you, forever, for the gift of strength, compassion and kindness. Forever in my heart, the love of my life. I thank you for the most amazing, wonderful, spirited 13 1/2 years we shared together. And I know our eternal souls will meet again.

Baby Shelby, 2001



Shelby as a baby, 2001


Shelby and mommy, Long Beach, CA 2012


Shelby and mommy, Santa Barbara, 2010


Shelby and Mommy, 2013




  1. 4myty Said,

    April 8, 2015@ 8:34 am      Reply

    Allison, thought of you first thing this morning. Knowing how hard this day would be. Did you take JL to the beach with you to release Shelby’s remains? I am asking because there is a single law print right above your footprints. Right by the 10. That shell, definately from Shelby. I seem to always find a sign just when I need it most. When I am feeling so, so sad. Shelby knew you needed this concrete reminder that she has not really left you. She remains by your side and tucked deeply within your heart. Hugs, from Lori, Ty and Gang

  2. Michelle Said,

    April 8, 2015@ 8:41 am      Reply

    Wow Alison. What a beautiful tribute to your soul mate Shelby. You definitely know how to make the tears flow. Thank you for sharing your feelings on this first angelversary of Shelby.
    You are right this just started a new chapter of your life. Yeah these angelversaries are always tough and always will be. But Shelby is still with you. You feel her presence and even little JL feels it to. Let her guide you and you will know the right answers.

    Thinking of you today. Lots of hugs

    Michelle & Angel Sassy

  3. 4myty Said,

    April 8, 2015@ 8:42 am      Reply

    sorry, a single paw print. my typos, Sally has nothing on me.

  4. harmony Said,

    April 8, 2015@ 9:09 am      Reply


    What a soulful, beautiful tribute. Just like Lori said, I’ve been thinking about you all morning. I love your narrative of Cannon Beach; such a beautiful, peaceful, intimate place for her release. And the pink shell! That brought chillie-bumps.

    xoxo to you my friend.

  5. Christine Said,

    April 8, 2015@ 10:04 am      Reply

    I posted earlier this morning on your St. Patrick’s Day post… I was thinking about you this morning.
    I remember last year…. the day before my daughters birthday, the day after my best friend’s birthday.. was Shelby’s day….
    Congratulations… you made it. You done good girl! You are stronger than you make yourself out to be…. and that is because that girl’s tail is thumping in your heart!
    Beautiful post…. shall always be remembered…. and a perfect place to let Shelby free… and the pink shell!… perfect!
    Christine.. with Franklin in her heart♥

  6. benny55 Said,

    April 8, 2015@ 10:53 am      Reply

    Dear Sweet Alison…this is lpvely and the pictures translate love and happiness. And no, the journey Shelby has with you continues on in a different form and in a different way…but it is never ending!

    My heart aches for you and I am crying right along with everyone else as I read this beautiful tribute.

    The pictures of Shelby at the beach….the magnificent rocks that guard her resting spot and the Sea Gull paying life affirming. She is part of the sea and sand she loved sooooo much…and she is part of you always.

    I lpve the photo of her standing in the golden sun just soaking up all the nature around her. You will always find her in nature…she will always be a part of it.

    Shelby just loved being in your arms and hugging you! The both of you are full of such joy! Soul mates indeed!!!

    Alison, thank you for continuing to share Shelby Lynne with us. We all fell in love with her too and we miss her earthly presence too! We LOVE hearing about her and seeing her photos. Don’t ever stop!

    Sail on silver girl…sail on by…….

    I hope you are wearing a Tiara today and a whole kot of bling and sparkle!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Wrapping you in Shelby’s love…and our love too!

    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle too!

  7. Tracy and Bailey Girl Said,

    April 8, 2015@ 11:53 am      Reply

    This is so beautifully written. What a tribute to Shelby, what love and I felt it too reading this. I understand everything you are saying some are hurtles I need to get over yet. Our girls are enjoying a new journey. You are beautiful!
    I am bawling now I made so many friends on tripawds and read every story. I need to come back but I keep trying and I just cry.

    Thinking of you and Shelby on this anniversary.

    With love and tight hugs,
    Tracy and my Angel Bailey Girl

  8. bcullom Said,

    April 8, 2015@ 12:02 pm      Reply

    I wrote on your facebook tribute too, but I wanted to read your tribute blog today… have such a way of conveying every emotion and thought regarding Shelby and your wonderful life together, it makes me cry. (I wish I had a way with my words like you do.)

    Although Shelby’s last year or so, took you down this unwanted path and eventual overwhelming heart break, you know that she is still always there with you guiding you, and that will never change, and the life you shared together can NEVER be diminished by her passing, ever.

    Keeping you in my thoughts,
    Much Love,
    Bonnie, Angel Polly, and new crew

  9. fetchon3 Said,

    April 8, 2015@ 12:05 pm      Reply

    It’s a lovely, lovely tribute to your little angel. Shelby! Dearest Shelby! We know the pain and I’m living it now with you. It’s astounding how time flies and how some parts of us “get used to it” while other parts never will. I know what you mean. Oh, boy, do I… Sending you HUGS, Alison, and many pink sea shells.
    ~ Katy, with Jackson on her heart

  10. rica55 Said,

    April 8, 2015@ 12:49 pm      Reply


    This is such a beautiful post. You really know how to perfectly describe your feelings and everytime I read what you write, I can picture Shelby guiding you.
    I know it’s been a tough journey – I can’t even begin to imagine how hard. I know you will never get over the loss of your Shelby – and no one would ever expect you to. But you honor her so much with these words and also by accepting the love of another doggy.

  11. Gary Said,

    April 8, 2015@ 2:48 pm      Reply

    I’m sure she’s always walking with you. Canon beach is such a special place, I’m glad you saw that as the place for her final resting place.

    PS NOLA misses you.

  12. penny4weims Said,

    April 8, 2015@ 9:00 pm      Reply

    That was a lovely post on Shelby. I’ve been to Cannon Beach and it is beautiful and a peaceful resting place for your girl. As always wonderful pictures of the two of you.
    Penny and her Gang

  13. Codie Rae Said,

    April 8, 2015@ 9:20 pm      Reply

    Oh Alison, I can only echo what others have said. Such a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to your soulmate, your heartdog, your one and only. You have moved through the past year with bravery and grace, always surrounded by Shelby’s love. I am sure Shelby has thoroughly enjoyed watching your relationship with Jasper Lily unfold. That little girl sure knew what she was doing when she sent you JL 🙂 Thank you for sharing your journey, and Shelby, with us.
    Martha, Codie Rae, and the OP

  14. BartsMom Said,

    April 9, 2015@ 12:37 pm      Reply

    Beautiful tribute to your angel…soul mates like Shelby are rare and you two were lucky to find one another. I am sorry your heart is hurting…mine hurts with yours.

    Darcy & Angel Bart

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