An Old Friend Passes

Shelby enjoys a special meal I made for him on the 26th.

Sadly, I have to report that Shelby, the pro-zombie cocker spaniel passed peacefully a few minutes ago at the Avon Pet Hospital.  I was honoured to be with him when he slipped peacefully from this life and into the next.

This is being written from behind a veil of tears and in a state of an odd mixture of profound grief, and, at the same time,  joy for a friend who has found peace.




When you are born, you cry and the world rejoices.  When you die, you rejoice, and the world cries.   -Buddhist Proverb

Those of you who need to know what happened already know and I’m not going to get into that here except to say from the time I made the decision last evening, to the vacillating back and forth wondering if it was the right decision.  I didn’t get much sleep and there were many, many tears.

This morning I went out to clean off the car before taking Shel to the vet, I stopped before going back inside to collect myself.  When I was medic I always tried to treat the whole patient, not just the symptoms.  When I remembered this a peace came over me and I knew then that I had made the right decision.

Dr. Mall and Vanessa were fantastic.  The good doctor has seen Shelby several times and knows that I love him and how hard the decision was.  We talked, she explained to me what was going to happen.

Her compassion is amazing and Shelby and I were truly lucky to have her at this extremely difficult time.

While we waited for the sedative to take effect Shelby lay peacefully under my hand.  Tail wagging a bit.

The last sound he made was probably the best for me.  Peaceful snoring.

I remember when I first met Shelby back in 1997 in Cold Lake Alberta.  V had talked about getting a dog, and as I was about to leave for a month didn’t want to be alone (as cats are not as good company as dogs to dog people).

We stopped by the pound and they had one dog.  A sad little cocker spaniel someone had found wandering the roads near the base.  He had cherry eye which was, admittedly hard to look at, but that was fixable.  We took him for a stroll around the yard and we bonded almost immediately.   When we got home I took him for a walk to spend some time with him as I was leaving the next day.    He trotted along this old dirt road, he kept looking back to make sure I was still there.

He was an enthusiastic, exuberant part of our family.  Always wanting to be in the middle of things, when we went to bed we’d have to throw a ball down the stairs for him to fetch so we could get under the covers.   He loved running in the woods behind our house.   I’d get home from work and take him out back.  He was a smart dog and knew that if I didn’t clip his rope on that we were going, but he’d still jump off the steps and tense, look back at me, and when I pointed he’d be off like a bullet (often stealing the neighbour’s dog’s ball in the process)

He’s been a constant companion to me, and the tears I shed, and the grief I feel are not for him, but for me.   There is hole in my heart and the silence in the apartment is devastating.   But that will pass.

There have been dark times in my past, and Shelby has been my rock through all that.  Unconditional love, and someone who relied on me.

It is because of him that I am still here.

It hurts now,  and will for a day or two, but I will be fine.   Eventually when I look at Shelby’s pictures I will smile, and sometimes, yes I will shed a tear.

And really when you think of it, its really so little grief in exchange for so much joy.    This is one of my favorite South Park clip:

I am going to spend the day cleaning up Shelby’s stuff, and what remains of the accidents he had last night that I didn’t catch.

I miss him…and I feel very alone right now….but that’s okay, I’ll survive.    I’ve asked that his ashes be returned, and they will have a place of honour on my mantle.  I have a week to paint it.

Fairwinds and a following seal old friend.  You’ve been a great, good-natured dog.  I do not worry for your after-life.  I love you, and I miss you.

Last night he didn’t want to leave the office for the bedroom, so I stayed here with him and went hunting through my computer for pictures.   I thought I’d share:

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11 thoughts on “An Old Friend Passes

  1. Godspeed, gentle Shelby. You have been there, nails chattering on parque floors for so many evenings, the constant companion. The good dog.

    When you reach the next home, spare a moment to look up my Mischief and tell her I said hello.

    And D… For the record, Kipling is an asshole and he’s wrong. Life has been so much more wonderful for having given Your heart to Shelby

    And his life too. Blessed be.

  2. Sorry to hear about Shelby. You’ve written a very moving post in his memory, I’ve got the sniffles and my bf is giving me an odd look.

    I can never understand people who get pets and after a few months get rid of them like they don’t matter. To me my pets are members of my family. Even my pet snakes, even if they don’t come when I call them or look happy to see me, if anything happened to them I’d be heartbroken. A dog or cat can also spend more time with you than your best human friend, and they don’t care if you look like you got dressed in the dark or if you’ve put a few pounds on.

    I’ve only been reading your blog a few weeks, but you have my deepest sympathy. I don’t doubt you did the right thing for Shelby.

  3. David,

    So sorry for your loss.

    Losing a companion such as Shelby is never easy. The silence will be deafening at times but as you said, it will pass. May the hole diminish as you make room in your life for another precious life when the time is right for you and your family. I wish you blessings of peace with an understanding of your pain. Your decision to share your experience whilst in your grief, will no doubt be a source of encouragement for others.

    When my dog Graeson passed in October, I used a quote from William Faulkner for my post title. Your comment about so little grief in exchange for so much joy reminded me of the post ( Faulkner said “Between grief and nothing, I will take grief.” I would agree with you that the joy of having a companion such as Shelby in your life, far exceeds the grief that cannot be avoided.

    My thoughts are with you today David.

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