A Final Tribute

By Liz, trying to get used to a too-quiet home.

Hi, readers. If you’re friends with me on Facebook or follow my author page, you’ve probably heard the news by now that I lost my best little friend – my Shaggy dog – almost two weeks ago. 1186683_10201309783920922_2105305374_n

I’ve lost many furry friends over the years, most recently two of my long-time cats back in January, and it’s always hard. This was different, though. She was my first dog as an adult, and —I know everyone says this about their kids, furry or otherwise, but bear with me—she was the best dog ever.

Shaggy and I had an immediate bond when we met after she arrived on the transport from South Carolina at 10 months old. Plus, she was the most adorable little girl. She had the sweetest personality, and the most expressive face I’d ever seen on a dog. And those eyebrows, right? I was instantly in love.

She was the easiest dog, too. She loved people, other dogs, and even (mostly) the cats. As a puppy, she was very curious about the cats and wanted to play with them. Or harass them, in some cases. She tried her luck with a few of them, but ultimately it was Pumpkin, my sweet orange boy, who put her in her place. Pumpkin wasn’t enthralled by her antics, and he let her know it. One day when she was playing a little too aggressively for his liking, he took his big orange paw and put it on her head, and put her right down on the floor. He made her stay there for a minute, then walked away and went about his business. IMG_0759 2

His point was well taken. From then on, Shaggy gave him a wide berth. She would even hesitate to chase her toy if it landed too close to where Pumpkin sat, in fear of invoking his wrath. There were, however, a few cats who let her get away with more. She focused her energy on them. Soon, she learned the best part about cats was their food, and made it her mission in life to try to steal their wet food. This was a tradition that carried on her entire life, through diets and ultimately, her doctor’s recommendation that she stay away from anything salty. Which made it even more of an exciting challenge for her to try and break the rules. IMG_3426 2

I’ve been blessed to be able to work from home for the past four years, which meant I got to spend a lot of time with her. We spent a lot of hours in my former basement office together, where she of course had her own special bed and purple rug. Or playing with her favorite toys, or walking around the town green or later, in our new neighborhood that she claimed as her turf from day one.

One of my favorite things about her was her genuine love for people, and her desire to be adored. She pranced through life – the halls, the elevator, the streets, and everywhere else – demanding that people stop and talk to her. If they didn’t, she got very indignant about it. She’d turn and look at me as if to say, What the heck is wrong with them?

Granted, most people couldn’t resist her charms. Even the woman in our building who was afraid of dogs began to allow Shaggy to travel in the elevator with her, and even had conversations with her. Shaggy seemed to know she had to behave a certain way with that lady. No matter how much she wanted to climb her leg for a kiss, she sat very nicely in front of her and let her talk, hoping that one day she would give in and pet her.IMG_4687

A friend of ours who did Reiki regularly for Shags said it best: Shaggy was a lightworker. Over the years, she visited hospitals, nursing homes, schools, libraries, and brought smiles to many faces. She made friends everywhere she went. Even when her health began to decline early this year, she was still the happiest little dog I knew.

IMG_2660She loved food of any kind, treats, sharing smoothies with me, playing with her pink flamingo toy, and snuggling in her fluffy purple blanket. She was my sidekick and my constant companion for a long time. I could tell a million more stories about her, but really, only one matters – how much we loved each other, and how much she meant to me.

We were so blessed to have shared nearly a decade together.

Readers, is there a friend past or present for whom you’re extra grateful? Tell us in the comments below. 


51 Thoughts

  1. Liz, you know how heartbroken we all are for your losing Shaggy. I’m not a dog person, and she was one of the few dogs I’ve truly liked. Thank you for sharing all these memories and for blessing you with her love. They will certainly stay alive for you. I have many friends for whom I’m grateful, and am heading into day-before-son’s-wedding right now, so I can’t list them all – but you are in the top ten. Hugs.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. It’s always so hard to lose a furry member of the family. I have a small core group of friends that I am so thankful for. I really don’t know how I would make it through life without them!

  3. Aw, Liz, I’m so sorry for your loss. Shaggy was a sweetheart. And a sweet soul.

    I’ve gone through this loss a number of times, as have all of us slaves to furbabies. It’s never easy. Saying goodbye to my sweet Sammie girl and later to Skye tore my heart out. I tear up just thinking about it. I wish I could slow down time now for Kensi. How did she get to be eight years old already??? I know the day will come, but I will be utterly devastated when I have to say farewell to my little calico social media darling. So, I put it out of my mind and enjoy every day, every moment with her.

  4. So well written. Sorry for your loss. I have my best boy pug Jack. He is the love of my life!

  5. You couldn’t have described Shaggy more beautifully. Shaggy’s eyes with those long lashes were irresistible. I’m so glad I knew her. I loved her and I love you.

  6. Our furbaby will soon turn 14. He is the apple of our eye and has been from day one. We think he came to us are just the right time and has always seemed to have the goal to love unconditional to those that need him the most.

    When we first got him, he took up immediately with my Dad. Although Dad had always loved dogs, there was a special bond between those two. They were napping buddies and he was always up in Dad’s lap. Sadly, jsut 6 short months after Snickerdoodle came into our lives, my Dad went to his heavenly home. That’s when he went to live with my Mom full time so that she wasn’t alone giving her comfort, company and someone to focus her attention on. After 6 months, she said it was time for our baby to come home – which he did. He was always excited for our daily trips to see his Mamaw.

    Then advance a couple years when Mom had a nasty cancer surgery and came to live with us with the beginning of Alzheimer, he once again concentrated on the one that needed him the most showering love and attention on Mom. Even as the memory failed, Mom never forgot Snickerdoodle.

    After taking care of my parents for years in a “job” that I loved and hated to give up, Mom also went to her heavenly home. My world chanced and I was lost on what to do with my time. There was Snickerdoole saying it was my time. He’s always available and can sense when I need him close. He can make me laugh and keep me busy playing with him, cooking up a batch of his favorite meals (chicken gizzards) or going for long walks. He definitely was sent to us for a reason and continues to fulfill his purpose – giving lovin’ to those that need it the most.

    He’s getting very hard of hearing, has has cataracts which make it just as apt to walk into the wall and through a doorway, and he’s now on two shots of insulin a day, but there’s nothing we wouldn’t do for our special little furbaby to make his life comfortable and to make sure he knows that he’s loved unconditionally. We know that some day he will have to cross that rainbow bridge and our only comfort will be knowing that he will be met on the other side my those that have gone before that love him just as much as we do.

    My heart goes out to you in the loss of your furbaby. May your memories give you comfort and knowing that you gave him the best family there was.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  7. LIz, weeping now. I can’t tell you how much I sympathize. The basset hound on my book covers is our late rescue, Lucy. I lay on the vet’s floor and wept when she passed, crying so hard that the vet began to cry. I’m fighting to keep one of our current rescues, Wiley, in good health.

    You’re a fabulous pet mom. Your furbabies are lucky to have you.

  8. Happy that I got to know Shaggy a bit through your post. You were both SO lucky to have each other! I understand how much this can hurt, since I have similar memories, stories, and pictures of my Boo Boo, who has already been gone over five years. I wouldn’t give up that time of my life spent with a dog for anything, even remembering the 5:00 AM walks outdoors in the snowdrifts of Upper Michigan:)

  9. I’m so sorry for your loss, Liz. I loved seeing your posts on Facebook of Shaggy wishing me a good morning or whatever. I could always see how much she meant to you. Jax is like that for me. We rescued Jax at 6 weeks and he came out of his crate and turned around and laid down in my lap, claiming me as his human. He’s such a happy pup, always happy to see us when we get home, always happy to have visitors, always protective of his house and his family. I couldn’t ask for a better furbaby. He really helped me deal with depression when I wasn’t able to get pregnant. I no longer have that deep despair every month…I look into that face and see such love that it erases all sadness from my head. All we can do in return is love them for as long as we have them, and know that we gave them a great life, as you did with Shaggy. Hugs!

  10. That was a wonderful tribute to Shaggy, Liz. I wish I’d met her. I’m sending all my love your way.

    Your post of course brought up memories of my Scout, another best dog ever. I hope they are playing together at the Rainbow Bridge.

  11. Sweet Shaggy made me smile so many times over the years. Her love and goodness just jumped through the screen and you couldn’t help but feel happy! My furbaby Mika is 17 1/2 years old. My husband found her when she was 5 weeks old, wandering in the street. She is our heart.

    Sending hugs.

  12. Liz, what a loving tribute to Shaggy. I’m so glad I got to meet her and you are so right – those eyelashes and eyebrows were the cutest ever! I wish I had words that will make you feel better, but all I can do is send hugs.

  13. I understand completely. Rufus was my partner, my buddy, my best friend and my service dog. When I lost him, I lost a part of myself. I knew I would never be able to get another dog. I just knew it. Well Rufus and my gentleman angel Sammie (I had him for 21 years) had other plans. Tyler was put in my life. When I rescued him, he rescued me. He is an odd combination of the best of both Rufus and Sammie. I hope you are able to find some healing like I have.

  14. So very sorry for your loss.
    I know we’re supposed to love them all equally ( human or furry), it’s just not true. In the last 3 years I’ve lost 4 dogs, 3 to old age/dementia & 1 to cancer. I loved them all with all my heart. But, Coco, a papillon mix, was the best friend I’ve ever had in my life. And I’ve had pets my whole life. We adopted Coco at age 3 from a coworker who got sick & couldn’t keep him. He was thrust into my arms with the words “Here, bond with him”. The poor dog had cobwebs stuck in his fur. I lost him at 18 two years ago. He was the most perfect boy in the universe. Smart, he understood every word I said.He loved cats & kittens, but not puppies. His passion was chasing lizards. I trained him to carry them home & pay with them there.When he got to old to catch them I caught them for him. He would not go for a walk with my husband. When my neighbors called an ambulance on me ( I thought I had the flu, but it was internal bleeding) he tried to attack the EMS. Had a hysterectomy & back surgery. Was released from each the next day. Went home & walked my Coco. Very slowly, but I walked him.I’d of done anything for him.
    I know you’re hurting, & I’m truly sorry .

  15. I’m so sorry for your loss. I always loved seeing pictures of Shaggy. I have one close friend that I hang out with that I am grateful for. My two little fur babies are the ones I’m most thankful for. They help me get through the day. We lost a cat in 2007, Callie, who was 18 and she was my best friend and got me through some difficult times. The two I have now turned 11 this year so hoping they are around at least as long as Callie. Hugs. 💜

  16. Such heart warming stories, one and all. We’ve had some amazing cats in our lives. The most recent one who crossed the rainbow bridge was a true companion. He would always meet us at the door. And I swear he understood English. He was very talkative, and had a large vocabulary. We got to recognize which sounds meant what. He was great fun to have a conversation with.

  17. so sorry for your loss. Shaggy sounds like a wonderful dog! I lost my poodle Cocoa about 10 years ago-I got him as a puppy about 2 months after my Father passed away. He helped me deal with my grief over losing him. Every so often Cocoa comes to visit me in my dreams & I know I will meet him again at the rainbow bridge. They give us such unconditional love & affection.

  18. So sorry for the loss of you wonderful Shaggy. Our furbabies become such an important part of our lives it is so hard to say goodbye. This past June, I had to say goodbye to my Bigg. He was a Jack Russell Terrier and was 16 years old. His health had been failing over the last 6 months of his life, but I still had a tough time making the decision. Our vet came to our house and all the kids were here to say goodbye. I know he and my Rags will be waiting for me with my husband at the rainbow bridge.

  19. Liz, so sorry Shaggy is no longer with you. Hardest day of any pet owners life. When we lost our Radar two years ago, the Australian Dooddle puppy we’d gotten to keep him going longer took it the hardest. Seamus stopped eating and was clearly miserable, prompting us two months later to get him a sibling, sister Fiona (same mom and dad, different litters.). These two are so entwined, playing together, wrestling, sleeping on top of each other. It makes my heart glad to see them together.

  20. Liz, I don’t know if you’ll ever read this comment (because it’s more than a week later), but I have to say how much I love this beautiful post. I was especially touched by the Reiki practitioner’s description of Shaggy as a lightworker. Oh my goodness. So true. Thinking of you and giving thanks for Shaggy’s amazing life. ❤️

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