A very sad start to the New Year. We noticed Shadow was gone the evening of the 28th. He had been here that day, but that evening, when I shut the hens up for the night, and brought in some firewood, he was absent.
It was not unusual for him to take off, but he always returned. All day Sunday, still no Shadow, and I was very distracted by thoughts of him. I just had a bad feeling. I had a dream that night, that we were looking out our windows, looking for him, and I saw his eyes looking at us from the darkness in the woods.
Monday morning, still no Shadow. Logan and I ran into town and when we returned, Deac’s dad was there working on his house here. He was walking towards us and I could tell something was wrong. He, or rather Kaiser, his Giant Schnauzer, had found Shadow in the woods, behind his house. I was crushed. He was just laying there, no signs of trauma, but obviously had been that way for a day or two. All we can think is that he was either accidentally or intentionally poisoned, and I do not even want to consider the latter.
Shadow came to us. We were not seeking another dog. But nearly two years ago, he was abandoned here. He loved kids. He approached the kids and played with them, but when an adult came out, he took off. Once I realized he had no home, we put food and water out for him. He would hide under the trailer, and we went out and talked to him, trying to coax him out for a treat, but he would just sit there and wag his tail, and not budge.
One day, Logan and I went for a walk, and Shadow came bouncing out. As Deac pointed out, Shadow never just walked, he bounced or swaggered or trotted. Shadow followed behind us, I extended my hand again, and he finally accepted it. He allowed me to scratch him behind the ears. It took a long time, but eventually, he accepted us, and trusted us.
He greeted me every morning with youthful enthusiasm. He rolled on his back for belly rubs, he began ‘guarding’ the home. He had finally claimed this place as his. He found his pack. He was never aggressive to anyone or any other animal, though, he loved to chase squirrels and he fetched a baby rabbit once. Thankfully, he did not hurt it. He was just carrying it in his mouth.
We set him up with his own house, and it took awhile, but he finally claimed it. Deac’s dad gave him a heated bed last winter to keep him warm.
His vice was car chasing. I just knew it was a matter of time before he would get hit and so we made plans to fence the perimeter, making it harder for him to bolt out in front of cars. Unfortunately, we never got that done, but that was not his demise after all.
Once we got chickens, I was concerned because he is such a playful guy. But he took to those chickens, and watched over them, hung out with them, like he was born to do it. I was pleased that I had the perfect guardian for my hens.
Now, I feel they are vulnerable. Their protector is gone. I don’t think they miss him, but we sure do. Every time I step outside, I expect to see him greet me. Every time we walk to the mail box, I still feel like he is by my side. He loved to take walks…he got sooo excited when we would walk. I wish I had taken one more walk with that sweet, little guy. Shadow was the blessing we were not even asking for. Rest in peace, sweetie. You were loved. And you are missed.