Life without the beastie

I hate pets. No, make that—I love pets. Better yet, let’s leave out the word pets and call it sharing a life with another species, in other words, a miracle.

She came to us about three years ago, shedding like a sheep due for shearing, quiet, confused at the change in residence, and with an apparent dislike of children. Oh, and did I mention she was elderly? She was a nine year old dark Belgium shepherd/Akita cross. One big hairy and magnificent beastie.

The longer we shared our lives with her the more I appreciated how difficult it must have been for her previous owner to hand her over. But he did, and even though he thinks we helped him, we know the truth.

We knew, right from the get go there wasn’t any big effort going to be made to make her do our bidding. She had her ways and we had ours and somewhere, somehow, we’d mesh, given enough time. Well, there never is enough time, is there?

We learned that sniffing was her passion.  Walks weren’t for exercise,  they were for exploring, learning and lord help us, peeing everywhere. But I suppose she had tales to tell for the ones that followed.

We learned over time, she didn’t dislike kids, she just felt they had a place and in her face wasn’t one of them. Let a kid squat down or bend over too close and boy, did they get a face full of bark!  Luckily our grandsons are smart devils and they waited for her to come to them and know them before getting too close.

Shilo, or Shirl as we got in the bad habit of calling her, thanks to a forgetful little old lady who couldn’t remember her name, was a joy—from her habit of giving a sudden deep bark for no apparent reason (we were seriously considering Depends for awhile), to her spare, short, single loving lick for no reason (kinda like her bark – only she knew why) to her absolute body shaking joy when the little old sheltie from new door came out. How she loved that little fellow and how he treated her  with a friendly distaste. She’d run over there and stand over top of him (okay, so that would annoy most little fellows) and I swear she was always smiling as she looked back at us…

Our time with this magnificent beastie simply wasn’t long enough. Three years is but a mere heartbeat when it comes to love and in the end, we came to understand the expression,

“The best place to bury your old dog is in your heart”

We have.

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