4.8.14 – 4.8.18 – Four Years an Angel

Four years an angel! So much has happened since Shelby’s last angelversary. I re-discovered my passion for racing and running. I took that part of my heart and soul back and am moving toward new goals (bigger than ever before). I traveled to the east coast to meet many of the wonderful people who supported us along our journey from diagnosis, to amputation to passing to grief. We have lost others (too many) to the same bloody cancer – hemangiosarcoma – and others to other cancers and old age. Life goes on.

But does it? It most certainly does but those left behind have to work the hardest. I feel like this past year, I have really started to “heal” and by really heal, I don’t mean that I don’t miss Shelby. Of course in a perfect world she would still be by my side with her same silly antics. It always amazed me that as a tripawd- she could still dash around the apt as I tried to put her leash on her. She had some speed. She could still get into the trash and make a mess. And she could still sit on my lap – perfectly posed – surveying the world around her from her ‘throne’.

Shelby was about 25 pounds so definitely not a small dog but she always seemed small in size but large in personality. She was smart, she was crafty and she was the alpha for sure. I always say “who rescued who”? One of my first memories of Shelby was when I met her at the shelter in New Orleans. A little dog with no name that had come in as a stray. I got in her cage and she crawled into my arms and my life – basically staking her claim. How could I not take her home?

Shelby was happy from day one. She was always happy. She always smiled. I miss that so much.  She licked my tears when I was sad. She would place her paw near or on me to let me know she was there. She was always up for a good snuggle/cuddle. She knew how much I loved her and I knew how much she loved me.

The memories have started to fade … at least most of the bad ones – the 8 months or so that we were fighting cancer. That is good! I can better remember the good times now. The trips we took. The runs we took. The best – before I was really a runner – would be running around Greenlake in Seattle and Shelby would run along side me and jump and try and bite my arm. I have no idea what that was about and to this day, it brings a smile to my face. People would look at us as I would try and shake this 25 pound crazy dog off my sleeve. Or watching Shelby see a cat on a walk and the fur on her back would go up like a mohawk and she would do her “Ferdinand the bull” impression, back kicking grass and dirt thinking she was a bad-ass. Or the time I put a slice of pizza on the table and got up to get a  glass of water and that pizza was gone. In a second. And no guilt shown.

Shelby was fearless… she had no guilt ever with any bad choice she made. Trash all over the floor? She was proud. Curtains destroyed? Pride. Tunneling out of the bedroom by eating a hole in the door? Found her on the couch like a champ.

She was mischievous and curious and happy. And the true love of my life. My soulmate. My heart dog. She taught me so much about love and accepting love and joy.

I miss her so much – truly – but I am also truly happy with who and where I am in my life right now. I have made it through so many “firsts’ without her by my side and I am not broken yet. And I won’t be. I believe with all my heart I did everything in my power with the knowledge I had at the time to do the best for Shelby from the day I rescued her from that shelter. When I find myself feeling guilty about the love I have for Jasper Lily, or the fun we have, or rather, the fun Shelby and I never got to have, I pause and and remember, my co-pilot resides in my heart at all times. She IS experiencing the joy, the adventures, the journey. And above all … she would want me to smile and be happy! Life indeed does go on and today, I choose peace and joy instead of sadness. Because that is what the love of my life would want for me. #loveofmylife #fureverinmyheart

Our last 48 hours together … bond as pure as you can find.
Shelby’s ribbon on the tribute leash. It took me a while to make it but I am so glad she has one now.
My love!
One of the first photos ever of Shelby!
Beach girls! We loved the beach!
Our first Yappy Hour in New Orleans! She always let me hold her like a baby. From day 1.
And how I will always remember Shelby … fearless, queen of the world, happy (ears up) and smiling! Love of my life.