Losing a Pet is Never Easy
It’s just weird without Shadow. He’s been around for so long, it’s a challenge to not expect to see and hear him.
Eleven years ago, we picked him up from a loving home in Sumter. Mark worked with a nurse who’s cat had given birth to kittens. Shadow was the last fur ball chosen, and he could fit snugly in the palm of my hand. So many times in that first year, Shadow would suddenly fall asleep and purr when he found himself in my hand. When he got a little more width on him, I’d sling him over my shoulder and he would hitch a ride around the house while I vacuumed, dusted, and picked up the house.
Our backyard in Sumter was his jungle. The chain link fence was the border between our yard and a dense growth of trees, bushes, and weeds. Shadow was the king of the jungle and made many friends while patrolling his lot. After we moved to Greer, Shadow became the first cheetah in our neighborhood. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he was a mere house cat. The five houses in our subdivision were spread out among one hundred lots, and Shadow enjoyed roaming his territory. As houses were slowly built over the last eight years, Shadow would temporarily take up residence a few hours a day in the empty wood framework when the workers left. He had a hard time understanding why he wasn’t welcome when the home owners slept in his playhouse.
Shadow accumulated the title of Dog Bully. He would perch on the edge of our lawn and watch the parade of walkers, runners, bikers, skateboarders, and animals with amusement and curiosity. He was a master of the theater. Families would often enjoy Shadow walking toward them, falling onto his side in the smack middle of the road, and turn over with his paws in air. A moment later, you could hear a pathetic “meow?!” as children and adults were drawn to caress and talk softly to the Thespian. When a dog entered the scene, Shadow became three times his size and his demeanor transformed into a ferocious predator, no matter what size the canine happened to be. Shadow never met a dog he couldn’t scare away solely based on his performance.
Inside the house, Shadow loved sunning himself in the living room. When the boys went to school, Dylan’s bed became his loft as he caught the sun’s rays and then his cave when he wanted to disappear underneath it. Miles can remember bringing Shadow home, but Dylan equates home with Shadow. It was probably hardest for Dylan when our fur ball left us for Heaven, but we all miss his presence and his company. Just as his life with us was a treat, his passing was a gift, as well. I love that my boys were able to love a member of our family, grieve for his passing, and experience abundant life after the transition. There's beauty in experiencing the circle of Life with your family.