Shadow was the most quirky, amusing and utterly annoying pet we have ever owned. A drooling, big black lab mix with overgrown feet and an overgrown personality, Shadow was an integral part of my children’s lives for 13 years.
This dog 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.
Shadow could not stand to be left out of any activity.Thus the name Shadow . This carnivore snuck up and snatched what ever the kids were picking from the garden and eat it- corn on the cob, green beans, strawberries, raspberries…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.
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 hilarious because he would keep diving in after that stupid bobber till he was ready to drop.
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 .
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.
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 a family member, 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….but only a few days.