Readers: A cold germ is going around over here, and, unfortunately, I have caught it. Sigh.... And I am not quite recovered yet from my calf/ankle/foot injury!! What else can go wrong? Hopefully, this blog post will not be foggy.... Like my head!!
I always think about and remember Shadow Sunshine, my beautifully unique "blond" furred German Shepherd/Golden Retriever cross at Christmastime. She was euthanized on June 15th, 2010. I have an entire decade worth of memories filling her stocking, purchasing treats and dog toys, celebrating December 25th with my mixed breed. I recall as though it was yesterday our final Christmas together. Shadow had been showing tell-tale signs of aging: Deafness, stiff joints, senile behavior. I somehow knew within my heart that this would be our last. So I took complete advantage of it. Shadow no longer played.... Spending money on tennis balls seemed useless. Instead, I filled her stocking with treats. Nothing else. She ingested each treat. Less than six months later, Shadow died. I was right. My intuition did not steer me wrong. Last Christmas, three months after adopting Rose, I was struggling with grief. It came upon me suddenly, like an ambush during some war. This was a Christmas of colossal firsts: My first with Rose. Our first sans Shadow. I had bought Rose a fuzzy red and white Christmas stocking. Purchased her gifts. Yet somehow, the memory of Shadow's last Christmas haunted me. I missed her so much!! It felt selfish and wrong to be experiencing such an intense longing for Shadow.... When I have Rose!! Honestly.... But I could not help myself. There were tears, sorrow, plus heartache. We drove downtown to do some shopping during that time, and I was really depressed. I wept in an antique shop. While looking at merchandise. Snuck off to a Jack-In-The-Box restroom during lunch to compose myself. Then, we discovered this quaint little store. It was decorated for Christmas. Everything looked so nice!! On display, there was this small tree. An artificial one. Hanging on its branches were various glass dog breed ornaments. Naturally, I was drawn to the Golden Retriever, "half" of Shadow. No. I thought. Move on. I coached myself: Time to move on.... Be in the "now". Walk away from that tree!! Walk away I did. Then suddenly, a tiny voice inside me said: Go back. Go back. Look for the Beagle. I walked over to that artificial Christmas tree once more. And.... There it was!! A glass, glittery brown, black and white Beagle!! It was flawless!! Plus, the ornament may as well have been custom-made!! Black on its back, a white chest, this adorable brown-colored furrowed forehead.... Just like Rose!! I purchased the ornament. Its tag read: Beagle: Dogs selflessly give humans their unconditional love and loyalty. Beagles are one of the most popular scent hounds because of their energy, willingness to work and sweet dispositions. They make great family pets and truly enjoy their status as "man's best friend." Wow. Minus the "energy (and) willingness to work" part, that describes Rose extremely well!! Loyal. A sweet disposition. Loving. I will treasure forever that sparkly glass Beagle ornament. One glance at it reminds me of so much. That first Christmas without Shadow. My emotional meltdown. Healing. And everything that Rose blesses me with!! She is an incredible one-of-a-kind, friend to me!! A four-legged "kindred spirit". Different, like myself. She is amiable, submissive, and easy to train. Sneaky, strong-willed, plus sometimes naughty. I love it all!! She is a beautiful, amazing creature!!