My dearest Shelby … how is it possible that six months ago you earned your wings? Why does it feel like so much longer since I have snuggled those ears (perfect ears) and kissed that little nose and hugged your booty and held you in my arms?
My girl, my sweet angel, I miss you so terribly much. I know you are playing over the bridge and your legs are perfect again! I know you watch over me (maybe if you could not visit at 3 a.m., that would be fantastic as the click, click from your nails on the floors wakes me up).
Thank you for sending me that penny when I got off the plane at SeaTac. I KNEW it was from you. We had such an amazing life in Seattle, didn’t we? Our bond became stronger than ever. You were in the prime of your life. Still, always on your leash since you were still a flight-risk. I ran around Greenlake this past weekend and thought of you. Remember how we used to walk/run around the lake and you would run alongside me and jump up and grab my arm? We called it you sharking me! And how we hiked down to the lake through the bunny forest.
I found your baby album when I was home this weekend. Mom (aka your grandmama) said it didn’t exist but I knew it did. I found your first photos at home, photos from our first road trip, our first parades, your sweaters and way, way, way too many photos of you with the Easter Bunny. And all the cards that grandmama would send to you. I swear, you got more mail than I ever did! I did such a great job of documenting the early years of our life and then I kind of slacked off and then picked up when I got my first smartphone. You then became the most photographed dog.
We talked about you – a lot – this past weekend. Talked about what a good girl you became but boy oh boy were you a naughty girl for many many years! I say, strong-willed and spirited. In your album, there is also you Canine Good Citizen certification, your certificate from your graduation from dog obedience and your Visiting Pet Program card. You loved being a visiting pet. How could you not? You always just wanted to give and receive love. You were good at it. You were happy in my home from almost day one, I think. You picked me that day at the shelter.
Oh Shelby … what a life we had. Never did I think you would bring me so much joy and save me in so many ways … and you continue to save me, as an angel. I feel you within me daily. I dream about you more and more. I miss you more and more. Some days the pain is so raw that I can’t help but cry but most days it is just a dull and constant ache. I think about you first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. I think about you all day. I wear the necklace I had made in your honor and it gives me the chance to talk about you when people ask me about it. I hold it in my fingers many times throughout the day and will myself to feel you within me.
I cannot believe six long months have passed. So much has changed. Yet so much has stayed the same. I doubt that I will ever fully recover from your loss and I admit I don’t want. I want the pain to remain in some aspect as it reminds me how strong our love was because if I didn’t hurt as much, then it didn’t happen.
This is your birthday month. In a couple weeks, you would have been 14. I always thought you would live to at least 15. You left earth at 13 1/2. Too young. Too soon. But you needed to go and I get it. You fought the most amazing fight. So today, I will try and celebrate you and look at your baby album and will those memories to come back to me (I have horrible long-term memory issues) but what I do know is that face – in all those photos – is 100% and your personality shines through each one… they could have been taken yesterday or 13 years ago – because you are happy in all them!
I miss you my girl… always and forever and to the moon and back!