Shep. My first and my favorite. Loyal friend to the end.
As I try to honor Shep's memory, I am finding it very hard to find the right words. How can I do justice to such a great dog when words simply do not exist that will capture what she was all about, what she meant to me?Shep was my rock. She was the cornerstone of my world for 13 years.
Shep grew with me and I grew with her. She was my constant companion, coming with me almost everywhere I went. She expected it...it was just the way it was. But with all the privileges that were hers, Shep never took anything for granted. She never abused her special favors. Shep was... (again, words are failing me) ...a humble queen. We really had a mutual love and respect for each other. Maybe it's because she had this perfect temperment, confident but with no time for airs. But I was able to be Shep's leader and her equal at the same time. We were buds.
Shep let me make my "first-dog-owner" mistakes without having to suffer too great of consequences. She melded herself into my lifestyle, with all of my imperfections, and was content. As she got older and became less able to enjoy all of the same experiences of her youth, Shep seemed to accept it in her usual style. I would look at her carefully during her final months, wondering if she was still happy. But as soon as we'd get outside and she started running around in her cart, smelling other doggy smells, trying to go into the neighbors' house, wanting to greet other dogs walking down her street, even still pulling on her always-necessary leash because there was a whole world outside that she could still explore...I was reassured that she still was enjoying her life. As always, Shep could be content in a less than perfect world.
There will never be another Shep in my life. And I would not want another
one just like her, because then she would no longer be the very special memory that she is to me. I will never forget this dog who had become an integral part of my identity for more than a decade. I never want to lose the feeling that she is a part of me, that we do not exist separately but as a team.
My Shep, my dear, sweet Shep--I honor you now with all my love. Forever, to the end.
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