Shelby has crossed the Rainbow Bridge

April 8, 2014 will remain etched in my memory for all eternity. I knew it was the day I was going to say goodbye to my soul mate, my best friend, Shelby.

I went over the vet (ER) where I was prepared to battle to stay since they wouldn’t release her to me for safety reasons. But her favorite nurses were there and they put me in a room. The doctor on-call came to speak with me and I explained I had plans to transport Shelby that afternoon to the beach by my house to let her transition peacefully. She asked me if I wanted to spend the day with Shelby in the room so that was easy. They brought lots of beds in (for her and me). I had snacks with me (they did offer to order me food if I wanted it) and we made it a doggy-hospice. They brought me my girl, who was heavily sedated due to another a.m. seizure but assured me she was comfortable and in no pain and we could wait the day.

So on the floor I went. I layed on Shelby. I smothered her with my love and my embrace and I talked to her. At one point, I put my head down next to her, held her paw and read my book. Time stood still and yet it moved so quickly. Her oncologist came to check on her and say goodbye. We cried together. She told me she couldn’t have seen this coming (the brain bleed) – it is so incredibly rare for them to get it in the brain too and up until it was too late, Shelby had no symptoms of brain issues. A fighter until the very end!

At one point, Shelby’s breathing slowed so much and she was quiet and I freaked out – was I too late? But the nurse assured me that she was in such a deep and comfortable, safe sleep that her breathing slowed. We woke her up (she was pissed for sure) but I wanted to see her face. When I went to eat some baby carrots, she kind of cocked her head/ears in my direction (she was no longer able to lift her own head) so I grabbed her some baby food and she lapped it up. And water. My best friend showed up to sit with us and help me transport Shelby. There was no way she could travel without being held – there was no way she would ever come home; all day, I knew this in my mind but my heart wouldn’t believe it.

The kindness extended to me from ACC (advanced critical care) was like nothing else. I am forever grateful for them allowing us to spend our last day together. They could see our bond was like none other and that I would have done and had done everything for Shelby.

As we drove to the beach, I cradled my girl in my arms. My best friend carried her to a grassy spot in the shade and we set her down. Within seconds, her breathing calmed to a level I hadn’t seen in a long time. She could smell the fresh air, the ocean breeze, the grass… she was in her element. Our favorite thing was to just be outside … getting fresh air. Our LA life allowed us this luxury more often than not. We were there about 1/2 hour before the service that was going to help Shelby transition showed up. They were so kind. They told me how pretty she was. How sweet she was. But they could tell it was her time. They didn’t rush me but I didn’t want to belabor this. I took my girl into my arms and I whispered in her ear “see Shelby, mommy told you she would ALWAYS be there for you and I have made good on my promise”. I kissed her. I told her that I loved her. I told her I was proud of her. And I told her it was OK to go. It was over pretty quickly and I held her in my arms. I looked into her eyes the entire time. She was never alone.

Yesterday was one of the most painful days of my life. It would have been so easy for me to have just said goodbye over the weekend but I wanted to honor Shelby’s dignity. I didn’t want her (if could be avoided) to die in a sterile hospital room. I wanted her to be where she loved the most. And I wanted to be there with her. But it was definitely time. She declined so quickly, no longer able to walk, lift her head, open her eyes… there was nothing there. It was the absolute right decision but the hardest thing I have ever done. I am in shock. I am grief-stricken and while the rational part of me knows that this is part of the process and the incredible pain I feel now is testament to the love and bond that we had. She was and remains my soul mate.

My apt is empty. Yet it still smells like her. Her toys from yesterday, smell like her. My clothes from yesterday smell like her. I can still feel her here. Thank you to the Tripawds for allowing me to share her journey with you. Thank you for embracing us as a member of your family. It is your love and support that will help me heal until I see her again.

Like I have said, I have been a mom for 13 years. It feels weird not to have anywhere to be, anyone to feed or walk. I don’t know what to do with that kind of freedom. It scares me. What I wouldn’t give for one last kiss, one last snuggle, one last ‘selfie’. The hardest part is that my phone is FILLED with photos of my girl. My apt has tons of frames. Her basket of toys is staring at me. I need to explain to our housekeeper why Shelby is gone. There are people in our neighborhood who have seen us walking that will wonder and ask. But right now, I am going through the motions of existing. I am eating because I am told to. I am going where I need to go on a schedule. I can’t make any decisions for me right now.  I am a zombie.

So I leave this blog post with some photos of Shelby’s last hours … because while they aren’t the Shelby I want to remember, they are part of Shelby’s story. My hope that that I can continue to use this blog to remember the wonderful things about Shelby – to continue to always celebrate her life. Because Shelby would want happy memories. She hated tears. They made her uncomfortable. So for Shelby, I will try celebrate her amazing life. And amazing it was … She was so strong. I have spoken to her today but I am sure she’s super busy playing with all the other puppies (like she was known to do and ignore her mama) but she will send me a sign that she’s still with me.  So loved .. that girl. So loved.

Shelby Lynne – October 15 2000 to April 8, 2014. #shelbystrong 

snuggled up with her babies
Nappy time with my girl yesterday


One of my friends sent me this …
From the archives … from 2012. This is the real Shelby after a romp at the beach, with her paws in the sand. My beautiful, happy, loving girl. I will miss you angel but you will never leave my heart.



Author: mom2shelby

Mom to 13 year old Shelby - Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. A rescue dog that was born in New Orleans. Shelby is a spirited, smart and happy little dog who loves to run, play, go to the beach (we live in LA) and ride in the car! She is my best friend and the true love of my life!

11 thoughts on “Shelby has crossed the Rainbow Bridge”

  1. This is surely a love story if I have ever seen one. You did everything possible for Shelby and the dignity you gave her by allowing her to pass in the place she loved with you is absolutely beautiful. I understand the empty house, the toys, the pictures, and right now they are part of the sadness; but, eventually you’ll be able to look at them and smile at the memories. Shelby had a great life. She was 91 in doggie years, that is amazing! I know it doesn’t make it hurt less, but when I start to get really sad about my Jake it helps for me to think about it like that.
    Thank you for sharing Shelby with us and please please continue to do so. Shelby touched so many of us. Your love for her personally touched me. I had lost a lot of faith in humanity when I joined here (its one of the hazards of my job unfortunately) and seeing the love you have for Shelby (and the compassion everyone on here has for their pets, and each other) has completely restored my faith. There are many of us who have been where you are and understand the emptiness. We all understand the days where the tears just never stop. We’re here for you.
    Lots of hugs and love.
    Elizabeth, Angel Jake and Tanner

  2. Alison,
    You did everything you could do. You gave her the greatest gift her dignity. I know times will be tough and even though right now you are just going through the motions there will be a time that you can look back and smile. Don’t rush putting away the toys, the blankets etc. Take your time. There is no certain time that is right for anyone in grief. You can’t judge what you need by what someone else does either. No one can say you shouldn’t do this or that. You take the time that you need. You gave Shelby a great life. In time you will see what you have learned from this journey. It took me almost 8 months (and yes I had Snickers & Jazz) before I realized what I learned from Sassy. I am still realizing little things. There may not ever be another Sassy or Shelby in our lives but we can give another piece of our hearts later on. That is in your time and there is no right or wrong time frame for that either.

    I have tears running down my face as I read this part of your journey. You honored her by writing about it right away I couldn’t do that. Hurt too much. My heart breaks with you

    Hugs & lots of love
    Michelle & Angel Sassy

  3. Alison,
    Wow, I am so sorry. I’m glad I read this at home so I could cry my eyes out. You have been one of the most devoted dog moms I have ever seen. And to have her final time where you did was amazing. So get out that bottle of wine and celebrate what a wonderful puppy you had the pleasure of knowing.
    Penny, Hank, Blink and Spirit Maggie

  4. Alison, also find I can’t write now because the sobs just won’t let me. I want to…Iwant to so badly..but now apparently is not the time.

    I’ve been so toched byyour whole journey, your whole union of souls, but the grace with which you’ve handled these last days with her just leaves me crumbled. To have such a beautiful transition to her next open doorway…to have her in one of her favorite spots and with her most favorite human who she loved sooo much….to give her this enviornment to cross-over from…to surround her with your eternal love ….you hav always been her “Earth Angel”.

    It’s senseless to try and write more right now…I think the tears will short circuit this stupid tablet.

    I…we…love yoj and Shelby so much and have been touched by your love for each other.

    Let me say this right now loud and clear…SHELBYSTRONG WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN HERE…EVER! Do you hear that Alison? NEVER FORGOTTEN!

    We shared in the glorious joy and happiness of you nd Shelby…a d now we share your grief.
    And yes, this deep unbearavle grief you are experiencing is the price one pays for sich a great love story.

    Sally and Happy Hannah

  5. And Alison, the pictures are very comforting..she looks so content…so at peace…s pleased for a life well lived and so well loved.

    And yeah, the vottom o e with those “jack ears” and hapy smile…sweet.

  6. I’m new to the blogs here and just found Shelby’s story, at it’s end. I’m so very sorry for your loss. My Tripawd, Steve, must have heard me crying because she came into the room and meowed at me. She doesn’t like sadness, she wants everyone to be happy.

    I don’t know if you watch (or have even heard of) Pit Bulls and Parolees, but the matriarch of that show always says the same thing when someone experiences loss of a pet, and I think that it’s the most beautiful and simple thing. I share it with everyone, and I hope someone has the peace of mind to share it with me when I go through a loss. (Paraphrased, of course)

    Shelby left you because she knew that it was time to make room in your life for another friend. It’s hard to see it now, and you may not be ready now, but when the time comes and you meet that new friend, make sure you thank Shelby for bringing that friend to you.

  7. Such a sweet, sweet love story’s end….but only the one here on earth. We know Shelby’s spirit and love remains and is strong. It’s in your heart, here with us, in photos, in stories, and memories. I look forward to all the tales you’re going to share with us. I look forward to many photos and selfies of you two. I’m a bawling mess right now, reading this. It’s just so touching. The care she got – from you and ACC. The love she got! Her ending, as the hardest thing you’ll ever do, was one of the endings we all hope for – for ourselves and our furbabies. Many here wonder if the time came too soon or too late. In Shelby’s case, it was perfect. I hope you don’t have to wonder. What is cruel is cancer. I know that poem that’s sent around when one of our warriors passes, but I still feel that cancer does take them too soon. I’m angry at that. I guess what we all try to do is deal with the hand that was dealt. I applaud how you handled Shelby’s diagnosis and her last few months. Courage! Fight! Love! Support! Accommodation! And really, I’ve said it again and again: her last day and moments were beautiful. A real testament to your love and bond.
    HUGS, Alison. We’re here for you.
    ~ Katy & Jackson

  8. Oh Alison,
    Did you hear the Oaktown Pack howling for Shelby’s passing? Would that we could all create such a beautiful transition for our beloved family members. Shelby was truly a lucky girl to have such a dedicated and loving mama. And you are truly blessed to have known the kind of love you shared with Shelby. That love will never die, Shelby will remain in your heart, and those of the Tripawd Nation, forever and ever.
    Wishing you peace and sending you all our love,
    Martha and the Oaktown Pack

  9. My thoughts are prayers are with you. I didn’t know much about Shelby’s journey but reading this last post just shows how much you loved her and love her still. She is at the rainbow bridge now, happy and pain-free! Thank you for sharing those beautiful pictures of such a hard emotional time. Shelby looks so content with her babies…

    (Honestly I did a double take when I looked at Shelby’s picture. My JJ is a Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix and their faces are so similar. )

  10. Beautiful photos and truly heartfelt words from the best Tripawd momma in the world. No love could ever be greater than the one you and Shelby shared, and that kind of love never disappears.

    I do hope you continue to write about your life together, there is still so much to learn from Shelby. Her spirit will always live on.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *