An intergal part of the family
Shadow, a humongous, drooling black lab mix, with overgrown feet and an clumsy personality.
Shadow was part of my children's lives for 13 years. He was the most quirky and annoying pet we have ever owned. He was also messy, bossy and slightly dense. I can only list some of his utterly hilarious behaviour because it would take an entire chapter in a book to really flesh out his exploits.
1. Shadow grew up with cats.
They could cuddle up beside him or lay on top of him and he barely raised an eyebrow. He tossed mice and fish around like a cat and sometimes he played more like a cat than a dog.
2. Shadow could not stand to be left out of any activity. Thus the name Shadow.
For example, every week, we collected day old bread, distributed to families in need and of course fed our own family. Any extra went to the pigs. This jealous dog would dash in to the pigs' feeding trough, grab a bun or long french loaf and dart away as the pigs charged after him. In a perfect doggy way, he would bury the stolen treasure. Then Shadow would sit, with his back to his stash and guard it. The funniest scene would be in the winter. Although the french loaf was only half buried, Shadow seemed confident that his bread was invisible. He sat and pretended that he was innocently looking around and enjoying the scenery and not guarding illegal, stolen goods. This little act never failed to make us laugh and shake our heads.
3.Although Shadow had webbed feet and loved to swim, he was reluctant to get wet, at first.
The only way to persuade him to swim in the lake and cool off was to cast a bobber with a fishing rod and reel it in as fast as possible. At least once every 20 casts, Shadow would manage to snap up the fishing bobber. It was hilarious because he would keep diving in after that stupid bobber till he was ready to drop.
4. Our dog's curiosity caused Many Mishaps.
One night when a porcupine shot 30-40 quills into his face and nose, Shadow could only sleep with his face hanging over the top step in the hall. It took hours of patiently sneaking up while he dozed and pulling the quills out ONE AT A TIME. We tried to restrain this monstrous beast many times but he always shook us off .
5.Then there were the few times, a skunk sprayed him at close range and he rolled the stench into the kitchen floor. Have you ever smelled fresh, Strong, skunk spray? Our eyes teared, heads ached and our lungs burned. The entire house reeked for days after!!! I even tried washing the floor and Shadow with tomato juice. What did work was liquid Tide.
6.Shadow hated thunder storms.
If he was alone in the house he would jump through glass windows and doors or scratch frantically at screen windows or doors smashing, ripping, and destroying wood, frames, what ever prevented him from escaping.
After every thunderstorm rampage, Michael would yell,
"That's it!! This dog has to go!!"
Our older "kids" would shake their heads, smile and say,
"Dad, really, Shadow is part of the family and you just can't get rid of family no matter how poorly they act."
Michael would then sigh heavily, glare at the miscreant, and demand,
"Go lay down, you bad dog."
Suitably chastised, Shadow would slink away and keep a low profile for a few days.
7. This carnivore snuck up and snatched what ever the kids and I were picking from the garden: corn on the cob, green beans, strawberries, raspberries and then eat the vegetable or fruit.... He could not stand to be excluded.
8. Shadow loved to sleep on beds and couches .
I really do not think he realized that he was not a lap dog! The trouble was when he tried to hop up on the furniture to cuddle, he would inadvertently dislodge people, almost pushing them off the couch. When ordered off the furniture, he would slink away with the most pitiful look on his face till one of us laid down beside him on the floor. Then he was content.
9. It was a mad dash to open the car door and slam it quickly before Shadow could jump in for a ride. He really liked car rides.
10. Shadow wasn't a great guard dog, even though he barked loudly enough at every tiny mammal. Our resident fox, literally out classed him . When Michael spotted our friendly, chicken eating fox trotting towards the barn, he called for his faithful dog. Rather than chase the fox, our dog started running circles around the garage with his nose right to the ground. The fox had laid a false trail for Shadow!!
Michael yelled at the dog again,
"Shadow, the fox ran over there."
Shadow tore across the yard, dove into the bushes, did a u-turn, ran up the hill to the barn, down again, then raced after the fox. If this dog had used his eyes instead of his nose, he would have headed straight into the corn.That clever fox hadn't even been frightened nor in a terrible hurry as he laid his scent down because he knew exactly how to fool out dumb dog.
11. Sometimes the boys used guns to either shoot or simply frighten predators. As soon as Shadow saw a gun, he became excited, agitated and loud. The boys needed their wits to sneak out of the house while other siblings distracted our great hunting dog. It was always very dramatic.
Why did we put up with all this nonsense? In spite of his annoying habits Shadow was a member of our family. And the fact is, you just can't simply discard family members because they are annoying, messy, bossy,....