The Most Loveable, Annoying Pet

Shadow was a slobbery, drooling dog, a big black lab mix with overgrown feet and an overgrown personality.

An integral part of my children’s lives for 13 years. he was the most quirky, amusing and utterly annoying pet we have ever owned. I can only list of his odd and utterly hilarious behaviour because it would take a n 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 when 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.

 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 Hilarius 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.

In 13 years this rampage happened TOO many times and after every incident, 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 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 dog snuck up and snatched what ever the kids were picking from the garden and eat it- corn on the cob, green beans, strawberries, raspberries…. 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  but our resident fox, literally “out foxed” him When Michael spotted our friendly, chicken eating fox trotting towards the barn, he called for his faithful dog. Rather then 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 looked up, 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 a dog.

11. Whenever Shadow caught a glimpse of the gun we were forced to use sometimes to scare away predators, Shadow 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.

When I asked my family for Shadow stories, everyone laughed with warm and humour as they remembered their beloved pet. In spite of his annoying habits he WAS a member of our family.

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