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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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13 months an angel

My beloved Shelby ….

I miss you like it was just yesterday that you left earth. I miss you every second of every day – still. Yet I love, appreciate and find happiness with the “new dog”. She makes me laugh and smile and I feel your spirit pulling further from me and I long to have you come back. I long to have you visit. I long to feel those velvet ears, kiss those sweet cheeks, drink in your senior dog scent. I long for lazy nap filled weekends. I long for our road trips to the beach and wherever. You always loved riding in the car and just “going”.

I long to relive our first days in New Orleans. I don’t long to relive your many ‘bad’ dog moments (trips to the ER for the chocolate, red vines, etc. that you consumed).

I long for the memories to be the present again. I know all to well you can’t “live in the past” or the saying that says “don’t look back, that’s not the way you are going” but looking forward to simply too scary right now. Shelby, I am lost without you by my side. You were the strong one. You were the one that had all the answers.

I don’t know where I want to be. It’s been a long time since I have felt this lost and this incapable of making decisions about where I want to live, work, exist… this life… Shelby… it isn’t working right now and I don’t know how to fix it. So my angel, please send me some strength to make things right. Or some sort of message so that I know that you are OK and that all will work out OK and I will come stronger than ever.

I miss you, my angel. I posted your video a year ago today. I still can’t get through it without massive tears but sometimes a good cry is a healthy way to cleanse the soul. I love you. Please know that I love you more than my own life and I will forever miss you every single day and I long for the day we are together again. And even though I have the new dog that you sent me, we talk about you every single day! Thank you for helping guide her to be a “good girl” and leave all the “bad dog” things in your court!

Love of my life … and our favorite place!

SNUGGLES!1! Saturday naps were the best!

BFF’s for life .. just a girl and her dog.

San Diego after our mini vacation. She was in ‘time out’ for running off.

By our home… the beach lifestyle … just two girls out for a walk on the beach!

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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



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St. Patrick’s Day – Shelby style~

OMG the pain of missing my best girl is getting the best of me. They say it gets worse before it gets better and that is definitely 100% TRUE! Holy monkeys do I want to crawl into bed and cry and  cry and never come out.

This was my Facebook Status one year ago today:

It feels unreal that we simply didn’t know what was coming our way.  Was I blind? Was I stupid? Was I in denial? Or did the cancer really come on with a vengeance just three weeks later … after our last spring break together … and take my sweet angel from me? Did Shelby wait and hide her pain/illness because she knew somehow that we had spring break coming up and we were going to be together for a LONG week, all day, every day? She and I were so in-tune that I almost believe that to be true.

I miss dressing my best girl up. SUCH a good sport! Always. We aren’t even Irish but it was fun to ‘dress her up’ and take her photo. She looks angry but she loved it. She always got so excited when I would pull out her costume box.



I’ve been dreaming, a lot, about Shelby lately. She isn’t leaving me sparkles or pennies but she’s coming to me in my dreams. Sometimes happy dreams. Sometimes sad ones. I swear I woke up this morning, my face wet with tears. Can you cry in your sleep? Does the pain ever really stop? I stare and stare at her photos … willing myself to remember what those ears felt like, the kisses to that sweet little nose and cheeks. I loved kissing Shelby’s cheeks. I loved resting my face against her face and feeling her fur against my skin. I loved smelling in her scent and looking into her eyes and seeing more love than I knew what to do with. My best girl. My partner in crime.

Stay close to me, Shelby. I am relying on your strength. I cannot believe you’ve almost been gone from my arms for 12 months; one year. I promise I will make you proud. I promise I will celebrate your life next month. I promise I’ll share my french fries with little Jasper Lily like I used to with you. I promise I’ll let her be a dog and not watch her like a hawk all the time. Because you ran, you played, you LIVED life and you still got cancer. And you had no regrets about your time on earth. I am making peace with the regrets I have/had around your treatments … but I always know that every decision I made was made with the utmost love and compassion for you. If money was all it took, you would have lived forever …

I love you Shelby Lynne. Always and forever and to the moon and back for all eternity.

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11 Months an angel

How can it be possible that it has been 11 months since I have felt that soft fur against my face, kissed those velvet ears, had the best snuggles in the world? How is possible that in one month, I will be honoring you with your one year angelversary? How is it possible that it hurts as much today as it did last Apri? How is possible that I might never heal fully from this loss? Is this simply my new reality? Laughter with a healthy dose of raw pain every single day? They say if you love hard, you grieve hard. That is so true.

One year ago we went to the beach. You were not feeling 100% after your last chemo but you loved the beach so we found a shady spot and you basked in the breeze, sniffed the air and relaxed. A calm always came over your body when we were together at the beach. I couldn’t have known that it was going to be our last month together. I am glad I didn’t know that. I am glad that we were able to spend those hours at the beach together, snuggling, cuddling and you – always – asserting your independence.

I am painfully aware – more so this past week – how precious our time on earth is. Too many friends have lost their beloved babies this year. I know you are busy welcoming them all over the rainbow bridge. Another dear friend, one of your Tripawd buddies, just learned her dog has another cancer and it is the same as yours. Life is cruel and unfair.

Our time on earth is short. You did have an amazing 13 1/2 years and I am forever honored that we spent them together. It is never enough time but the lessons you taught me in our last year together remain etched in my mind. Be more dog. Live in the moment. Be thankful. Be kind. Be loving.

So today, I honor you a little bit more. I hope you don’t mind that I am shedding several tears for you, my love … But today really hurts my heart. The next four weeks will be hard as I relive our time in my mind. But I know you will be at my side and you will guide me.

I love you forever and ever, sweet Shelby Lynne. I love you to the moon and back and for all eternity. Don’t be a stranger. Your mama needs you. Kisses, smooches, cuddles and love … you are the love of my life. I miss you. 

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Happy “Tri” Day Shelby Lynne

In honor of National “tri” day on 3/3 a little shout out to the “love of my life” and the cutest Tripawd I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Shelby … you embraced your new reality like a champ. You never missed that 4th leg. I remember the first morning after your amputation when I called the vet to see how you were doing and they told me you had been outside walking around and having your breakfast. Not even noticing that anything was different.

I had to run to keep up with you on those three legs – you were speedy like a puppy again.

You lived EACH and every day of those four wonderful “pain-free” months to the fullest. You didn’t let your new look identify you. You were always the “same. old. shelbylynne.”.

So on today, 3/3, I honor you and your legacy… your spirit lives on in everything that I do. I think about you every single day. Your lessons while you were still here and the ones you continue to give me guide me to be a better person and to truly embrace EACH day as the true gift it is. You inspire to me to “be more dog”.

I miss you Shelby Lynne. I was shopping this weekend and saw three different pieces of art that had our tagline – “I love you to the moon and back” … I know you wanted me to see those. I have never seen those on a poster before.

I love you Shelby Lynne. Until we are together again….my best girl, my best friend, the true love of my life …

Cutest Tripawd on the block!

Tripawds Rule! Yes, they do!

Mother’s love …

Beautiful Face…. same. old. shelby. ALWAYS!

SO happy to see Shelby play!

Sitting normal … didn’t miss that rear leg – at all!

And she rests … my love. My life.


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Happy Valentine’s Day to my little angel

Happy Valentine’s Day Shelby Lynne! Mommy misses you very much. You were always the BEST date a girl could ever ask for! You didn’t bring me flowers or chocolate but you always showered me with love and affection and that always lasts much longer.

I am not one of those ‘anti-Valentines’ girls … it really is “just another day” and I think one should love year around. Not just on a day that Hallmark says we should.

And you did love year-round, Shelby Lynne. For over 13 years I was blessed with the best and most unconditional love a girl could ask for. We had a love story like none other. Our love story continues in your spirit and in photos. As we inch closer to your one year angelversary, I see so many more photos I took of us kissing, snuggling (SNUGGLES!!!) and in my arms. You always fit perfect. From DAY one I could and would hold you like a baby and you became jelly in my arms. People would remark on how you propped your arm around me and let me hold you. Like a baby.

You wanted to be in my arms as much as I wanted you there.

So Happy Valentines to my one true love … the love of my life! You will definitely be more so in my heart tomorrow.

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10 Months an angel

It beyond pains me to write that …. it makes me realize that in 2 short months it will be one year since you left your earthly body and joined the others in heaven as an angel. I miss you so much Shelby. I keep thinking the pain will become less and for the most part, it has but it still shakes my inner core. Daily.

This was a double-whammy weekend for me. Yesterday was the 18th year anniversary of when my daddy earned his wings. I know you are BOTH looking out for me all the time. I know you have met up and you are best friends. He would have loved you here on earth so I know he adores you in heaven.

Yesterday I reconnected with my college roommate and she has a memory like non-other. She reminded me of when she came to visit in New Orleans and you ate ALL the snacks out of her bag. She remembered how you instantly became her best friend and snuggled with her on the couch.

It’s Mardi Gras season in New Orleans. You were the epitome of Mardi Gras, with your beads and boas. Such a beautiful girl all the time.

I still remember the “Mystic Krewe of Barkus” when we spray-painted you blue and you were a “blue suede show” since the them was Elvis. That paint took forever to come off in the bathtub (it was non-toxic, of course). My then boyfriend and I walked the parade with you with beads thrown at us. How patient and what a good sport in those little booties that I know you hated. Nothing was as funny as watching you walk like you were trying to shake them off. They brought me endless entertainment for months / years to come.

I remember our 2nd Mardi Gras when you ate an entire package of red vine and were vomiting and pooping at the same time and I had to navigate through parade traffic to get you to the ER vet. They pumped your little belly and gave you a saline patch and you looked like a camel with a hump. And I refused to leave your side – even then. Anything for you my baby girl.

Oh Shelby Lynne… no signs this month. Have you forgotten about us? Do you feel replaced by the little black and tan dog in my home now? She will never replace you. She will never be the “true love of my life”. I love her and she brings me much joy and I know you sent her to me to fill the void since you hated to see me sad and crying. I miss you so much. Life seems to move soooo slow when I think about the days and months and hours I have to count until we are together again.

I pray for some strength to take me through these next couple of months – that I know will be so incredibly hard for me. I plan to be in Seattle and Oregon right before your one-year anniversary. I want to take some of your ashes with me and leave them on the beach in Cannon Beach. Remember how we used to go there as a respite from the busy life in Seattle? I’m bringing the little black and tan dog but I know she won’t have as much fun as you. The beach forever remains our thing. It is where our two souls became one and secured our bond for forever.

I hope you are happy … I hope you are playing and laughing and smiling … and I hope you never forget how much I love you and I miss you. You are forever the love of my life. I love you, Shelby Lynne, to the moon and back and for all eternity.

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