February 5, 2009


Five years ago today, I lost my best friend. What a miserable memory. I can honestly say that I have not been the same since.
Shade. She came from a less than savory breeder somewhere north of Iowa. She was shipped via an airplane and became another member of our family. Her hunting days eventually came to a halt after an especially difficult season. Once she officially retired, Shade became my best friend. She slept on my bed. The softness of my ears soothed my bad days. She was intense in her loyalty towards me. She loved nothing more than being with me. She was my constant companion. She was my shadow.
Her favorite task was retrieving, stick mostly. She'd roll in dirt and lay in the sun. When it was time for her to be heard she'd softly yip. It sounded like water dripping from a faucet.
Shade developed bone cancer. My dad brought her to Ames, Iowa to be treated by the veterinary staff at I.S.U. Since treatment would only endure the inevitable, I ended up spending the next three months as close to my companion as possible.
The one evening my friend finally talked me into going out with her was the last night I could have spent with Shade. Instead I went to a sleep over and upon returning home the following morning had to hear that a difficult decision had been made. Our veterinarian was going to wait for our family after his office closed. On the ride to his office, I sat with Shade's head on my lap. Stroking her ears, tears welled up in my eyes and my chin quivered. Her passing has been the saddest memory in my life. I've never witnessed life slip away, so easily.
Today, I can only vaguely remember how happy she made me. I know the feeling was there, and I can't say I have felt something as strong as it since.

The Rainbow Bridge poem is meant to give our beloved friends a safe place to wait for us.
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

1 comment:

Piper Jacquelyn said...

AWWW. Shade!! Such a nice entry, Cass. As you know, I totally understand what it's like to be there with them when they pass. RIP Shade! PS...let's go adopt some dogs this summer.