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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
She 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.