Shadow was one of the truly beautiful souls. A gentle giant. Written words won't ever do justice to his life and what he's meant to me. I wish I was a poet so that I could illustrate how amazing his soul is.
Shadow came into my life because of Dusty, my yellow lab.
Dusty was diagnosed with PRA or progressive retinal atrophy - in short, his retinal cells were dying and he was going blind.
I had seen videos of blind dogs with their own seeing eye dogs and I decided that Dusty needed his own companion to help him navigate his life as a blind dog.
Dusty needed a gentle companion. One that would be tolerant in case Dusty stepped on him, or got close when he had a treasured treat. One that would be kind under all circumstances. I researched different breeds for hours and days on end and decided a Newfoundland would be the perfect companion for my precious boy Dusty.
I scoured the rescues and applied for dog after dog and either got no response or was rejected for one reason or another. As Dusty's eyes continued to decline, I decided to buy a puppy from a breeder and the search was on for a good reliable breeder.
It was fate that I didn't get a rescue dog, because I can't imagine a better fit than Shadow, at least for me. I found a breeder in upper Michigan. She just had a liter and I described what I wanted, so I put my deposit down and was the proud new guardian of red boy from Raven. (red was the collar he had and Raven was his mother)
It was an 8 hour drive each way to the breeder. I went up two times to see the baby and meet the breeder to make sure it was a good choice. It's easy to see from the pictures that I was already in love. Smitten from the first time I saw him and held him.
At 8 weeks old, it was time to take him home and introduce him to his new big brother. My mom took the long drive with me so that it was easier to care for him on the long drive back.
He got to meet my dad first.
Shadow and Dusty became great companions. Dusty was patient with Shadow's puppy antics.
As all puppies do, he got into all sorts of trouble. Rolled in so much stinky stuff and was continually getting baths in the laundry room sink.
Shadow grew fast. One minute I could hold him and carry him and the next he was huge! He became the gentle companion that Dusty needed. If Shadow was chewing on a bone and Dusty stepped on him, Shadow would just look at him with an expression of "oh hi".
Shadow loved to run and swim
and roll in the grass.
He loved the snow.
And he LOVED Christmas. He learned from an early age that sometimes presents under the Christmas tree were for him. He'd sniff the gifts out and if there weren't any there for him, he'd throw himself on the ground and you could hear the "humpf" coming from him. But don't feel bad, he ALWAYS got Christmas presents. I learned early on, I could only put them under the tree on Christmas morning when he was outside. He always knew...I'm not sure how...but he'd come in and run to the tree and he was so excited to get presents. Last Christmas, in our new house, I found him many times lying under the tree waiting for Santa to come and bring him his presents.
About 6 years ago, he started having a strange walk. He would hike his back leg up. I took him to the vet and after seeing a specialist, he was diagnosed with neuropathy. They thought he may have nerve sheath cancer. He started going to physical therapy at Tops Vet Rehab. At first it was twice a week. After he could no longer do the underwater treadmill, he started going one time per week. He loved the attention he got from the therapists and it's because of the therapy that he lived as long as he did.
Over the course of his 13 years of life, he lived in 7 homes. He has had 6 "brothers and sisters" and has helped me through the passing of 4 of them (Dusty, Max, Spencer and Caesar). He is survived by Holly and Rocky.
Shadow was my rock and my companion for the darkest days (and nights) of my life. He was not only a gift for Dusty but a gift for me and everyone that came into contact with him. He attracted so much attention with his beautiful black tresses and his 155 pound size (at his prime). People would just smile when they saw him.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and my words are not flowing to describe his life in a way that demonstrates how amazing he was...so I hope the pictures show how much he was loved and how much love he gave. It was hard to pick just "a few" from the over 1000 images I have.
You are forever in my heart. Until we meet again my sweet boy. I love you.