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20 months an angel

I cannot believe Shelby has been an angel for 20 months. A year and a half (a little bit more). Almost 2 years. This will be my second Christmas without Shelby and while it does get easier, the pain is still there. The memories we shared bring me smiles as I pulled out ALL her Santa photos for display. Each one has a special place in my heart as each dress, each antler, each Santa hat. Each costume forever remains locked up in a box under my bed. I can’t bear myself to remove them and I don’t know what else to do with them.

Holidays with Shelby were the best. That dog was SO spoiled! No dog has ever gotten more toys, more bones, more cookies!!! We LOVED (well maybe mostly me) going to Petco or Petsmart to get her photo taken with Santa. It wasn’t the holidays until that was done – and she always had the perfect “I am sooooo going to murder you in your sleep” face. No matter what.

And the Christmas walks on the beach. In her new dress, spreading holiday joy.

I hate the holidays. I have for years. I hate that time between Thanksgiving and New Years with every fiber of my being and I work really hard NOT to show my “Grinchy” side. But with Shelby … I had reasons to smile, to laugh, to feel joy.

Last year was really hard; not only because Shelby had passed but because it was the last month of the last year we had spent together. This year will mark the first full year I spent without my faithful soul mate. It has been a long year. A lot of questions left unanswered. And a lot of soul-searching left to do.

Sunday on our walk, Jasper led me to a shiny penny. I wouldn’t have seen it if Jasper hadn’t stopped and sniffed and then I looked and three more… brand new sparkling pennies!!! From heaven. Shelby always sends me pennies when she knows I need her the most.

I feel fiercely protective of our bond and preserving that bond. I know no one thinks I have forgotten Shelby but sometimes, an hour goes past and I don’t think about her. She is everywhere – on my desk at work, my walls at home, my screens on my phone and computers. It is impossible to forget her. But maybe I just see her all the time, it is like she never left. Of course she is forever in my heart and with the tears and laughter, I feel the pitter patter of her little paws. And if I close my eyes really tight and breath in really hard, I can feel and smell those velvet ears against my face.

As I get ready to say goodbye to 2015 – I look forward to positive energy in 2016. I made it! One whole calendar year without my soulmate, the love of my life, my one and only best friend. Her spirit resides in my heart for fur-ever and I remain guided by her wisdom, her love and her amazing capacity to live each day for the greatest gift that it is.

Love that face so, so much!

Her last Christmas dress …. one of the best, ever!

Santa was always so good to her! Spoiled!

Beach Living – Beach Girls!

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Northern CA Tripawds Gathering

What an amazing weekend – it was fun, cathartic and healing! It was SO amazing to meet so many people who have traveled this journey and survived! My Shelby’s spirit was definitely there and I was so happy to meet Golden Shelby – the Petite Princess! They were one of the first to welcome us on this journey and their initial kindness and outreach to me restored my faith in humans. In the pits of deep depression and sadness, their kind handwritten note (and wine) made more of a difference to me than they will ever know.

Jasper and I drove up Friday and then drove out to the party Sat. We were early so we walked around the park – taking full advantage of the sights and being full of gratitude for our health.

In what seemed like the perfect way to start the day, we saw Shelby and her wagon! And to the party we headed. Before I knew it, more than 4 hours had passed and we had shared amazing stories of fur-babies passed and new fur-babies and relationships that only strengthen with time.

I am posting these photos on Shelby’s blog since without Shelby Lynne… I would never had had the honor to meet these wonderful, caring and loving people. And over 19 months since Shelby earned her wings, this community continues to lift me up, support me, let me cry and remind me that I am getting stronger.

This is a place I never feel judged for missing Shelby. Where there is no time limit on grief. Where Jasper and all her quirks are relished and we are reminded that Shelby brought us together. Because without Shelby, I would not have this community of support. So thank you Shelby – for bringing me light and sunshine on dark times and for sending little Jasper Lily to ensure I would have a travel buddy to explore places outside of LA – where – for one brief afternoon – I could escape my current reality and just be in the moment and “be more dog”.

We can’t wait till the next party!


All checked into the hotel room!


Very cold (39!!!) so it means sweater time!


Checking out the park pre-party.

Checking out the park pre-party.

Pre-party cuddles (it was really cold).

Pre-party cuddles (it was really cold).


Shelby in her wagon!


Obi snuggling on Elly!


Elly and Obi


Austin looking regal and handsome!


Tripawd Hannah


Elly getting braver!


Obi and his little tongue!


Bernie Bin Laden and Linda (white in the front).




Puggle cuddles!




Shelby in the front


The one, the only, BERNIE Bin Laden!




Jasper in front of Shelby’s wagon!


Jasper hanging with the big dogs!


John and Shelby!


Jasper checking it out!


Elly and Obi (*and mom Karen)


Jasper giving me the stink eye on John’s lap!


“Someone” partied too hard!


Good night sweet Jasper Lily! So proud of you.

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19 Months an angel

My darling Shelby … I miss you SO much. With each month that passes it just means it’s been even longer since I have kissed those velvet ears. I find it odd that I can be two steps forward and three steps back in this journey. I know the grief of your passing is something that I will live with forever. And that is OK. We love hard and we grieve hard.

I was out of town this year on the “Day of the Dead”. I thought about you and wanted to honor you in some way but it wasn’t possible. But know you were in my heart ALL day long!

Right before I went out of town, and had to leave Jasper for the first time (which was the hardest thing I have done in a really, really long time) was so thankful to get the shiny penny from you. And the other coin that we found on our walk. Thank you! Thank you for sending me TWO signs that you were OK and that I was going to be OK (and so was Jasper in her first long boarding situation).

There are so many ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda’ moments that go through my mind. It’s such a waste of energy to live in the past and I strive to live more in the present. Which is why I think leaving Jasper was SO hard on me. I never want to miss one minute of her life as I missed too many of yours as I was learning about myself, growing up and trying to figure out who I was and where I wanted to be in life. I am a work in progress!

We walked down by the beach today. It’s still “our spot” as Jasper tolerates it. She prefers the woods.

And finally, today I was driving home and was behind a car from Tennessee. I rarely notice these things but today I took note. They were from “Shelby”. That was my sign! Thank you my love … I know you are always with me. I strive to do you proud!

I miss you. I love you. I love you to the moon and back and for all infinity! My best girl. The love of my life. My soul-mate. XOXO


My beach girl!

My cajun pooch with her alligator!

Jasper with the coins you sent us! We love you!!!

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Happy Birthday Shelby Lynne!

Happy Birthday my best girl! You would have been 15 today. Somewhere along the line as you started to get older, I had in my mind that you would live to 15 (not the 13 1/2 you made it too). When you were 8 or 9, people said you were getting to be a senior even though you had showed NO signs of slowing down and still looked and acted like a puppy! I told people, Shelby will live to 15. She’s a little dog and little dogs live longer.

But alas, we all know how the story ends and that we  cannot control what the universe has in store for us. So I hope with ALL my heart they are celebrating over the bridge for you today – complete with your tiara and cupcakes and lots of sprinkles and glitter.

Little Jasper looked up at your “shrine” last night and I know she was sending you love and birthday wishes because I know she  can feel your presence. I don’t always feel it but I know she does.

But I know you are ALWAYS with me. So I hope you heard me sing to you this morning, and tell you “happy birthday” and that I loved you and missed you.

Enjoy your special day that I had picked for you when you picked me all those years ago … I love you, my little princess… cuddles, snuggles, hugs and kisses … to the moon and back and for all infinity!


The year I put a candle in your dinner!


Your birthday montage!!! All the amazing times we shared!


Baby 2

One of the first photos I have and only ones of you as a baby!

I love this face!!! I miss this face…. one of your first photos back in 2001.

Your birthday gift a few years ago! Love those little ears!


Comments (4)

18 Months an Angel

I actually had to stop and count on my fingers how many months you have been an angel. I miss you, sweet Shelby Lynne. Every minute of every day. BUT today we celebrate you and your life and your legacy since today is the “8th”.

Thank you for the quarter (you big spender you). I have a little jar with all the items you have sent to me, pennies, dimes, the dollar … I won’t spend them but save them so I can always see how much you love and still think about me. It makes me feel closer to you.

It is your BIRTHDAY month so I hope they celebrate BIG up over the bridge. You always loved your birthday (like your mama). You got a special dinner (sometimes with a candle), lots of presents and lots of cuddles.

I see your beautiful photo on my Tripawds calendar right now… your sweet little smiling face as you balanced so well on three legs. You did SO amazing as a Tripawd. I am forever proud of the strength and courage with which you fought that ugly cancer.

Never was I SO happy to play tug of war with you. This was a couple months before you lost your leg but well into your cancer treatment.

But I miss you – that is the theme that permeates my life right now. I do love the little dog you sent me to bring me smiles instead of frowns and the life that she and I have built together. Sometimes we still act like strangers and two lost souls trying to find our way in this world but then we come together and remember that you put us together because you knew we needed that love and support.

So today, we honor you, little Miss Shelby Lynne and all the lessons about strength, courage and love and living in the moment that you taught us. I strive to remember the happy times. I strive to remember the fun that we had.  I strive to never lose sight of the battle we fought and how we beat those odds – if even for one month longer than what they said – we beat them. My soulmate, my angel, the love of my life. You taught me SO much and I feel your paws on my shoulder all the time. I feel your energy by my side and in our home. I love you! I miss you. I honor you.

I miss that beautiful face!

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Running with the Spirit of Shelby by my side

For the first time in almost 2 years, I laced up my running shoes to run an actual race – not just run on my own for fitness and general health. I haven’t felt the desire to train for anything since my last marathon over 2 years ago. They say when tragedy affects your life, your priorities change. Before Shelby got sick, running was a way of life for me; it was my zen, it was fun, I was always motivated to run faster, further, stronger. I dedicated three marathons, trying to break 4 hours and qualify for Boston. I did it in winter of 2011 and ran the Boston Marathon in 2013. Everyone knows what happened at Boston that year and I was determined to re-qualify to get back there and run that race without the same ending.

But in the fall of 2013, Shelby was diagnosed with cancer and all the training I had done for a fall marathon just kind of fell by the wayside. I didn’t care anymore. I ran that marathon in Salt Lake City but my heart wasn’t in it. I only wanted to get home to Shelby. So I didn’t qualify – I don’t even think I broke 4 hours. I simply didn’t care.

For the next 8 months, I ran to stay fit and to compensate for the wine I was drinking to manage the stress and sadness surrounding Shelby’s illness. While I knew we were beating the odds, I knew deep down our time on earth together was limited.

After Shelby passed, it was almost 2 weeks before I went for a run. It was too much time in my head – alone with my thoughts. Shelby passed on the beach by our home and I couldn’t bear to run past that spot which limited places I could run since I’ve always run by the beach. I could barely make it through a short run without massive crocodile tears and feeling like I would pass out from the crying and emotional pain. Eventually, I got through it and I was able to resume my normal running routine – a couple days a week, no more than 5 – 12 miles at a time and for fitness. No need for speed. No desire to train.

I put together training schedules and lost interest in them all. I am by no means out of shape but I am far from my peak levels of fitness. When did a 14 mile run become so hard? When did it become acceptable for me to bargain my way (in my head) out of running the entire distance I planned to run? When did I become lazy?

Yesterday, to support a friend for charity, I laced up my shoes for a 5K. It’s only three miles (well 3.1) and I run 4 – 5 miles before work a couple days a week so hard could that be? It wasn’t the distance or difficulty level – it was the pride thing. I used to be fast. I used to blaze through a 5K in no time. It’s almost not even worth getting sweaty for less than 25 min. So I went all out. I fired up my legs and said no matter what – I was going to run the whole thing and run it fast. I was going to get it done. And I did. And it felt great. To be surrounded by other runners, competing, racing, running … and for the first time in over two years, I pushed myself and I did it.

I completed the 5K in a little over 22 min and placed 2nd in my age division. (it was a small race). And I felt inspired. I felt like this was something I could do again. I could get this part of my life back.

I know I have a long way to go before I can even thinking of running another 3:35 marathon but that I even want to think abut it is a huge plus.

So I thought about little miss Shelby a lot yesterday. I felt her spirit riding alongside me on the run. I felt connected. And then I had an unsettling dream. I dreamt that Shelby was alive and well but not living with me. She was living with a former acquaintance of mine and she was older and doing well, recovered from her broken leg. I asked if she missed me and thought about me and he said she did. But she saw that I had moved on with Jasper.

My heart broke and I woke up sobbing. It doesn’t make sense. The grief shouldn’t be this intense still. Does my desire to run again mean something? Does having Jasper in my life mean that Shelby thinks I’ve moved on? The mind is the most powerful thing and it can work for and against you. I woke up unsettled and 6 hours later, I still feel “off”. I need my spirit girl to know that she is still the love of my life and her strength DOES guide me daily.

The thing about this journey – while we say the pain lessons – the life we are left with is every changing. I am a work in progress for sure … one step forward, two steps back. Inspired. Hopeful. Optimistic. And still grief stricken…

Santa Barbara 2013

Just love!

The Love of My Life

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17 Months an angel

Dear Shelby,

It’s been a month since I last updated your blog. I miss you. This time of year will always be a bit rough for me since it was when we got the definitive diagnosis of your hemangiosarcoma cancer. I remember when I couldn’t even pronounce this cancer let alone spell it and sadly, it quickly became part of my normal vernacular.

You have been gone 17 months! It feels like a lifetime since I felt and kissed those little velvet ears. I look at photos of you and just miss that sweet little face SO much! You always “got me”. And as time goes by … I realize even more how much the “alpha” in our relationship you were. Little Jasper Lily definitely knows that I am in charge (yet that doesn’t seem to stop her from making some bad choices but she always feels guilty).

Thank you for placing that shiny penny under the rock this weekend. You knew I would find it and think of you! Always sending me money around your angel-versary.

A lot has happened over the past month; as you know we went on the trip up north to Portland and your favorite place, Cannon Beach. It was a great trip and I hope you enjoyed the ride. We thought about and talked about you – a lot! You would have loved that journey.

I am so thankful you found me a great little traveling companion in Jasper Lily. The world would be perfect with the both of you but it has been so much fun getting to know Jasper and seeing her grow. I know you are helping guide her.

It’s almost football season. We LOVED to watch the Saints together. My little Cajun pooch!

There is just so much I always miss about you and how much more healing I need to do … I don’t know that I will ever completely heal and that is OK. I focused last year on Jasper’s issues and getting her to a good place and now it’s time to work on healing me. I moved your photos to one wall and we call it “Shelby’s Corner”. It warms my heart and soothes my soul to look at your corner while I am sitting on the couch.

I am hoping that since last year, I survived all the “firsts” … this year will be easier … I know what to expect, I know what we went through and as much as I do love little Jasper Lily (and I really do), I will always think of my soul-mate, my heart dog, the love of my life!

Mommy misses you … be good sweet girl and remember, I love you to the moon and back and for all infinity!

“Shelby’s Corner” – her photo montages (complete with her paw print). On top of the bookcase, her ashes, her tiara, and all the cash/trinkets she has sent me.

Future’s so bright! Such a patient dog.

Who Dat??! This princess loved her Saints!

Our last trip to Santa Barbara right after her diagnosis! It was a tough trip on the both of us but we always loved our road trips! Kisses for my one true love.

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16 Months an angel

My darling Shelby …

I miss you, sweet angel. I miss you every day of my life. I wish you could / would visit me in my dreams but you must be busy over the bridge. I found your shiny new penny you left for me last weekend on a long walk with Jasper. It was so bright there was NO way I could miss it. It shines like you always did.

We’re going on a road trip so I’ll be on the road on your angelversary. I remember our road trips. We had SO much FUN! You always were so excited to go. You would embrace each ride in the car with excitement – never fear – even in the end when our trips were more often to the vet.

We would walk, talk (well, mostly me) and relax. I miss those days. Jasper is getting better at the beach. She still is fearful of the car but she’s embracing the coast more and more. But it still is “our” place. I still think about you each time we go down there.

Things have been hard, Shelbs. I feel lost (more than I should) and I don’t know where my place in this world is. I don’t know if I love LA anymore but it is where I said goodbye to you so I don’t know if I can leave. I don’t know if I am strong enough to start over – again. I am getting to old for this but somehow “this” isn’t the life I was meant to live. It simply cannot be. I am definitely more sad than glad most of the time. It has been a rough couple of years and I think that is all wearing me down.

I think if I had you by my side, things would be easier. I adore little Jasper and I thank you for sending her to me. She has come out of her shell and I could not be more proud.

I wish you two had met … I could imagine you two together … you would be the best of friends for sure. You would love and mentor her. She would snuggle up with you. In a perfect world…

Well, my sweet girl, I need to run. You are in my heart … the 8th of every month will always be “Shelby Day”. So … forever and all eternity, I love you to the moon and back and for all infinity. I know you’re coming on the road with us … enjoy the ride and toss me a penny if you have the time. I love you Shelby Lynne!

XO – your mommy!

#timehop Oh how in a perfect world I would have both these cuties by my side. I know Shelby would have mentored and loved on Jasper and helped her become fearless. And Jasper would cuddle up with Shelby as her “protector”. I love how both my girls love(d) the stairs at my apt to just sit and watch the world go by. #missingmybestgirlalways #shelbylynne #jasperlily #lifeisbetterwithadog #mygirls #beachliving #loveofmylifeontheleft #whorescuedwhoontheright #justlove #wasjustmeanttobeadogmom

Alpha girl!

My favorite face in the whole world! I miss you!!!!

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15 Months an angel

How is that it’s 15 months and yet it feels like yesterday? And how is that Shelby ALWAYS knows to visit more around her angel-versary?

I found a penny over the weekend … on the beach. Jasper and I were walking and since Jasper usually knows where to turn to go up the hill to our home, I was surprised when she stopped in her tracks and refused to move. Surprised that she wanted to keep walking on the beach that she barely loves (at least not as much as Shelby did). So we keep walking and there it is – a penny – in the sand! Jasper helped guide me to Shelby’s message.

Pennies from Heaven

Walking home with the penny firmly in my hand, I swear I felt that paw on my back. And I was just coming off the 4th of July in which Jasper was beside herself and I was missing the days of fireworks when Shelby was fearless and afraid of nothing. Shelby wasn’t afraid of the many vets we visited. She didn’t mind the exams. She took it all like the strong champ that she was.

Then last night I was outside w/Jasper and again, another penny. And then the pennies I found all over the place last week. I feel like Shelby is showering me with pennies… telling me that it is OK and that she is always with me and that she still loves me and that she is OK. She knows how much I miss her and those velvet ears. How much I miss our cuddles, our road trips, our experiences. We had the best life together. And those memories bring me comfort all the time.

I think about the life lessons I have learned from Shelby. About how to be more dog and if you don’t like something, move or change. How every day that we wake-up is a gift. And every day can and should be met with optimism, laughter and joy.

And then I think about what the number 8 means … the 8th of each month will forever be etched in my memory as the day I said goodbye to Shelby. It was also the day she lost her leg. And the day we found out about her cancer. And we took each day with hope, optimism and strength. Because our love will never die. Our love lives on forever – in infinity. Which, if you turn the number 8 around, it is.

So today (and every other “8th”) will be known as “infinity” day. The day that our love shines the largest and our spirits are molded together as close as they possibly can.

I love you, little Shelby Lynne. I talk to you every day. I miss you every day. But I also smile every day for the amazing time we had together. You brought me more joy in our 13+ years together than most people know in a lifetime. I honor your soul, your spirit, your memory in every action, every step,  everything that I do.

So today…. on infinity day, remember my special princess that “mommy loves you to the moon and back and for all infinity”.

Dog park days!









It’s a dogs life! #beachliving

Car rides were the best!

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14 months an angel

Oh my sweet Shelby … do you feel how much I miss you? Will June always be the hardest month for us? Will those memories of you breaking your leg ever leave my conscious?

I am so tuned in to how I can “block out” painful memories and yet when I woke up this morning and remembered it was the “8th” and the “8th of June” I was all too aware of what that mean. Two years ago on June 8 you broke your leg and thus began our long journey to where I am today – sitting without the love of my life and my best friend.

Fourteen months ago, you earned your wings. I released your tired body from the fight that you would have fought forever for me and that if money could have cured you, you would have lived forever … but I said goodbye on the grassy park at the beach.

I walked past that park this weekend with the new little dog. I wanted to look for a sign or something from you. There was nothing. But I now realize you were busy over the bridge greeting and getting ready to greet two new tripawd heroes/warriors – Charley and Nixon.

I ran this morning, like I do almost every morning. It clears my mind, sets my intentions for the day and soothes my soul. It’s often dark but I can always see clearly what is in front of me. No matter how much I try to use music to drown out the thoughts in my head, they are still there. I long for a day when I can completely clear my mind of any doubt, regret, pain and just feel joy for the time we had together.

But today, I felt different. I was better able to see what has been hard to see (even though I have said it, I haven’t believed it). That your breaking of your leg was a blessing in disguise. It brought me to Advanced Critical Care. It allowed me to be even MORE connected to what you were feeling (and not feeling) – perhaps that is why I knew instantly something was horribly wrong when your spleen became inflamed and didn’t just say “I’ll wait until the morning”. Maybe that broken leg months before your spleen was removed was our early warning sign that something internally was amiss – even if we didn’t find it. And perhaps, your breaking your leg and my finding this website, this forum, this group of amazing people, was another blessing in disguise.

How could I possibly know that I would need and rely so heavily on people I have never met and dogs that I have never met? How could I possibly know that I would think I could handle the pain alone but in reality, 14 months later, it still hurts like it was yesterday?

The universe works in mysterious ways … I look at photos of you now and sometimes it feels like a stranger looking back at me and I stare, stare, stare and long to feel that connection and other days, it’s like you are still there. I expect to see you when my eyes open in the morning from a deep sleep. I will fight so that your spirit, your memory, you earthly journey lives on forever. I will love you till the day we meet again and then I will love you even more!

I miss you every second of every day …. I think about you all the time and yet I am able to love, laugh and smile …. and I am strong. And that is the final gift that you gave me. I vow every day to count my blessings, be thankful for the time I have here and enjoy everything – I vow to “be more dog”. I love you Shelby Lynne! Always and forever … to the moon and back and for all eternity!

Shelby … New Orleans, 2001

Our first photo … those smiles!

13+ years later and we were both still smiling … “love of my life” …

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