by Kristi Riggs
(San Antonio, Tx. United States)
SHE MADE MY LIFE BETTER.
My first reaction was...she doesn’t have any hair!
Thoughts were whirling through my mind in disbelief, that hidden under Kyle’s jacket was a 'baby' girl with ears that were bigger than she was.
She was cute as puppies go, but she didn’t have any hair! No fluffy puppy fur that made her look twice as big as she really was. I just wasn’t sure about this? I had grown up with fluffy dogs and didn’t know if I could ever like a dog without 'hair'. Yet here she was...the newest member of our family.
Like her? In thinking back, I realize what an absurd thought that was! How quickly I misjudged that precious puppy, and oh how quickly she stole my heart. What a gift she was for almost twelve years. She was without a doubt, the sunshine in our family, the unconditional love that knew no limits, the one that taught us to live each day with joy.
Shelby Lou, you had a personality bigger than life itself! You were so very kind and gentle, and had a way of making people smile. While you must have recognized that there were some people who didn’t understand the love that a dog can offer, you were valiant in your efforts to teach them about the unconditional love that those in fur possess.
You knew that a person could learn a lot from a dog...especially one like you. I know that you earned a place in the hearts of many, and taught them what a gift it is to be nudged by a wet nose, greeted with a wagging tail, or even 'kissed' upon the cheek.
You were patient beyond belief through all the years with 'my' kids. I think this is why you let them crawl all over you and 'dote' on you throughout the day. If the time came that you would rather they leave you alone, you would simply look at me with those big brown eyes (in a way that only YOU could) that said, “I know kids are special but can we play later?”
There were so many children that loved you and for many, YOU were the one that taught them about the special relationship that can come when you are loved by a furry friend.
There are so many things I will miss about you Shelby. In the past week I have had to deal with the reality of your not looking to me to feed you, to lift you on and off the couch, to put you in bed with me at the end of the day... but above all, looking to me for the love and attention that I gave you so freely.
Shelby, you were so brave and loyal this past year thus enduring your aliments in such a way that we often didn’t know you were struggling. However, Tuesday, November 19th, your eyes spoke volumes to us, and we knew that for all that you had given to us, it was our turn to give to you.
The tears have stained my cheeks for a week now and yet I know, that in the end, our love for you is what helped us let you go. No more pain. No suffering to endure.
Shelby, there is without a doubt an empty space in our family. It is felt by all of us, including Chloe. Her devotion to you is seen daily as she often looks out the window in hopes of seeing you coming up the walk, or goes in search of you in another room in the house. She mourns the loss right along with us. You were her side-kick, her partner in crime. How I wish here was a way to explain to her that while your heart and spirit never gave out, your body grew ill. I know that she will always cherish the 'sister' she had in you, and will forever miss you.
Shelby, thank you. Thank you for being you! Thank you for all the smiles and laughter you brought to our family. Thank you for the comfort you always offered, for serenading me with your trademark snore as I fell asleep each night... and for the way you adored your family. I will always treasure YOU!
It is in my heart that your life is forever engraved.
(A.K.A. Big Momma)
February 2, 2002-November 19, 2013
Thank you for your wonderful remembrance of Shelby. Your letter is truly one of the most beautiful I have received here through my website.
As I was reading your submission, I couldn't help myself. I started to cry!
Beagles!!! They are a breed apart. Such loving, intelligent, funny, little dogs. The perfect companion for anyone...especially kids!
I understand Chloe's sorrow too. I have experienced the same kind of bonding with pets in our house.
Most recently we lost one of our old Siamese cats. He was almost 20 years of age and had lived a perfect, healthy life, but finally his time came. The day he left us, one of our old dogs who had been especially close the cat, just quit eating. It seemed that he had given up too. We struggled to keep him going for several weeks. I had to hand feed him, and take him for four or five walks each day. Just him and me. No other dogs. Just him and me. I talked to him while we were walking. I tried to explain to him that we needed him still. I told him over and over how much he was loved.
Eventually after a few weeks he started to eat on his own again, and the ' survival instinct ' kicked back in. He is now back to his old self. For that I am very grateful!
The emotional bond between animals is profound!
Kristi your heart will heal in time, and you will remember Shelby without the accompanying tears.
As we know, our beloved pets are waiting for us all... Over the Rainbow Bridge. When my time comes, I will look forward to meeting them all again.
Shelby Lou is waiting for you too.
Bless you Kristi for your kind and loving heart!
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