Okay so I thought I'd write a blog post about something very close to my heart, my family pet Shadow. 11 years ago I was playing in the streets with my cousin, just as we did every day. In the corner of my eye I spotted this stray dog. Shy, timid, hungry, I was immediately drawn to her. Previously I'd asked my mother for a pet dog, only to be told I had to wait until my birthday, and then she would buy me a Yorkshire terrier.


But, I wanted this dog. I followed her with my eyes for a short while. Still focusing on riding my bike and playing games with my cousin, I spotted the dog eating from a fun of Tuna. I decided at this point that I would approach the dog as she seemed too facinated in eating scraps from the tin. I went to her, stroked her and spoke to her for a while. As I left to go get my bike, she followed me. She reminded me of my shadow. Always there behind me and thus I gave her that name. 

I had change, about 50p to be exact. I ran over the road while my cousin kept the dog distracted and rang my mum from the local phone box. "Mum, I've found a dog, can I keep it?" Her first response was a stern "No" but as I persuaded and bribed her with lines such as "But please, I'll pick up her poo and everything" she soon changed her mind. 

This was it, I finally have a dog. 

She was an obvious stray, skinny, collarless and frightened but she warmed to me and so I ran home and took the collar and dog lead off my beloved toy dog 'Scampi' and took it to her. I fastened the collar around her neck and walked her home. 

My mother put her in the Wendy Shed at first, to make sure she was used to people and that she was house trained. We laid down newspaper and wrote a sign out to stick on the window saying that we had found a dog in case anybody had in fact lost a beloved family pet. We also contacted the local police station in case anyone had reported her missing. At that time the rules were that if you had found a dog they had seven days to come and claim it back. 

I remember running home every day for seven days hoping that she was there, and that nobody had come looking for her.  My mums best friend Pam came over to look at her (she's an avid dog lover) and told us that she was around 1 year old. It seems that someone had gotten her as a Christmas gift and then thrown her out. 

I adored her, she was a beautiful black shade with a white tummy with flurries of ginger around the paw, mouth, eyebrow and other areas. She was unique, a mixed breed. To this day we never found out what cross she was. 


I'm getting emotional as I'm writing this. For 10/11 years I've had the best friendship with this animal. I taught her how to sit, and how to give her paws on command. She was a good tempered and loyal dog (although on occasion she would run off and while chasing her and screaming her name she would carry on running). I've shared a lot of my life with her. She's been with me through the hardest times, I'll never forget when I've gone to her crying and she's licked my tears away. She probably just liked the taste. But the fact is, she was my best friend and when nobody else was there for me, she always was. 

I've had so many memories with her. From the good to the bad, she's always managed to make me smile. I miss her so much. I never thought it would hurt this much to lose a pet. 

You're probably wondering how this fair-ytale of a friendship ended. Well, in October, my mother dropped her off at mine while she went on holiday. I noticed shadow had started to cough quite a lot. We all thought it was just something silly. A hair ball, a sore throat. When my mum got back off holiday a week or two later the bet told her it was kennel cough and prescribed medication. It want kennel cough and I knew it purely because if it was, Sansa would of contracted it too as it's highly contagious to other dogs. 

A week later and my mum took her back to the vets. 

It was serious. She had CHF. Chronic heart failure, and the reason why she was coughing was because her heart was no longer able to pump the blood around her body properly so that her body wasn't able to do it's job like it should of. She was slowly filling up with fluid and was in a sense, drowning in it. We took her to the vets again where she stayed in over night while they drained some of the fluid away. It still shocks me how fast this all happened. She seemed fine up until now. 

I became obsessed researching if there was a cure, or a way to slow down the process. Medication was the only option really. The pets on these forums lived from anything to a week up to five years. It was hard to say what would happen. 

She came back from the over night stay and she was well... Exhausted. She looked as if she'd had enough. I've never seen her this way. She was wheezing with every gasp of air she took. 


The dog I once knew had gone. The light from her eyes had faded. We knew it was probably in her best interests if we had her put down. She was crying in pain, it hurt me to see her this way, and so me and my brother said our goodbyes. 


I was going to i53 that weekend and felt like it was going to ruin the experience for me. I'd just be upset and crying all the time. Thankfully shadow had started to show a little improvement in her mood and so my mum decided that we should wait until I get back from the event. She enjoyed eating hot dogs and laying in the living room with my mum, while I was signing autographs in Coventry. 

I had fun at i53 (gaming festival in Coventry) but while I was there I just wanted to be at home with shadow. Spending every second I could with her. I can't tell you how much I regret going now. 

Monday, I took Dante to school. My stepdad tells me to come to the family home. She had gone down hill. She's been sick in the living room and pooped blood. Which by the way, she wouldn't of been caught doing. She was very proud of herself and the fact that she was housetrained. 

I remember once, walking into my bedroom and standing on a wet tshirt. I thought my mum had dropped it on the way to hanging it up. I shouted her and she had no recollection of the shirt. It turns out shadow had peed in my room, gone into the washing basket and tried to cover up the pee! Clever dog!

But yes, it was time. My mother thought she must of been in extreme pain. We all know what it's like to have runny poop, it does hurt. The fact that shadow had also stopped eating meant that her stomachs was empty and she would of been slowly starving to death. My mum booked the appointment for her to be put to sleep. 

I was really upset at the fact my mum hadn't asked for a home euthanisation. I wanted shadow to sleep surrounded by the people she loved, in the bed she loved. I realise now that my mum wasn't really thinking straight and she didn't want my little brother knowing or seeing that it had happened in the house. 

I sat with shadow. Appreciated every part of her. Her chunky black nails, her perfect paws, her rounded glistening eyes. I stroked her, talked to her and kissed her for what seems like a really long time. 


She was so happy at the time, she thought she was going on a walk because as soon as I picked up the lead she perked up, like she wasn't even ill! She wouldn't stand or anything before that but now she's up.. It made me feel worse because she didn't exactly look like she was dying. I was crying buckets on the way to the vets. Getting her out of the car was hard. I wanted to run away with her. We got into the vets and guess what? She's up to her old tricks and she'd somehow gotten out of her collar and started to run off a little, haha. I hated that the vets made us wait in the waiting room with everyone else who had perfectly fine pets. There's me there crying my eyes out infront of them. I bet they didn't know why either. 

We get into the vets room and it seems like he has no idea why we are there. Asking how she is and if her kennel cough had improved? I'd forgotten that she'd been to two different vetinary practices while she'd been ill. I saw the table, 'is this where she's going to die?' I thought to myself. It looked so lonely and cold. How many other animals have died on here? It just felt wrong. 

Anyway, he injected her with the first needle to 'calm her down' that didn't exactly work because she was stressed out and trying to get away from the vet. She was thrashing and stumbling around. I couldn't actually believe my eyes.

'Is this really happening?'

I wanted it to stop. She was making a strange breathing noise. Like choking, snoring and struggling sort of sounds. It was horrible and the sound still haunts me. 

He then inserts the next needle. It was a weird pink fluid. She was calm. He tells her she's a good dog. She lays down. I wanted to be with her y'know. Like where she could see me. Near her face kinda. But the nurse was in the way restraining her, so I was near her back end. Stroking her in her favourite spot (at the top of her tail). I feel like she couldn't see me or sense my presence and that's the only reason I wanted to be there. I only got to be near her when I think she'd already gone. She just stopped. Laid still, eyes open. Just there, on the metal table. Not moving. He checked her heart and said it had stopped. The vet left and I just held her and said sorry. I stroked her and tried to close her eyes. I was heartbroken at the fact it had happened so quick. In less than 5 minutes she'd gone from this happy dog who thought she was on a walk or something to this empty shell. This body on this table. 

I said my goodbyes and held her for a while. My stepdad then asked if I was ready to leave, I wasn't really but I couldn't stay in there all day, and so we left. It felt so wrong leaving her there. On that cold metal table, alone. I wanted to go back in. 

It hurts so much. I hate that vets. They didn't treat us right at all. As if we had to wait infront of everyone. Even afterwards they kept us waiting because the receptionist was on the phone. 

I got into the car and clutched the blanket that had been wrapped around her on the way down. Crying my eyes out. Asking myself if this was real life. I waited for my stepdad (John) as he was still dealing with the receptionist. I felt bad for him, he was visibly distressed but he was forced to wait at the desk to pay. He put my feelings first though and that's why he let me sit in the car. That was nice of him. We then drove back to my mums. I sat on the sofa just staring into nothingness for about 2 hours. I kept her lead in my pocket and took it home with me. It's with me now forever and I'll walk Sansa and Molly with it. 

I still feel guilty and upset about it. I have so many questions in my head like 'how long would she of lived for if we didn't euthanise her?' 'Did she know I was in the room?' 'Did she know she was dying?' 'I lead her to the vets, should I of?' 'Should I of watched it?'  I guess I'll never know the answers. 

My mum later told me that when she stayed at the vets over night to drain her, they'd done a scan and found a huge tumor which was pushing against her lungs and heart. The cancer was potentially spreading, I think this is why mum was so fast on deciding to have shadow put down. I don't think she could stand the idea of her being in pain. Mum said she didn't tell me about the tumor because she didn't want me knowing for sure that shadow would die, especially because I was going to Coventry. 

So that's it really. The tale of Shadow and how her life ended. I miss her everyday and I'd do anything to have her back. Although she couldn't physically speak, I felt as if we had a real connection. Kind of like a daughter, mother, sister, best friend bond kind of thing. 

I miss her each and every second, and I will for the rest of my life. 


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