It was a nice, quiet Friday night at home. I was curled up on the couch with a cup of hot tea, my book, The Tenth Circle
by Jodi Picoult (awesome book), watching Ghost Whisperer
(lame-oh) and enjoying my evening.
Shadow started pacing in front of the couch the way he does when he wants an invitation. Not that not getting an invitation has ever stopped him from getting on the couch. Yes, he's terribly spoiled. We let him get on the furniture and he even sleeps in our bed.
Shadow loves when Jim sits on one end of the couch and I sit on the other. He'll then climb in the middle and allows us both to pet him. We always joke around about who gets the butt-end of the dog versus his head.
I was the only one on the couch when he climbed up last night, yet he still gave me the butt end. I coaxed him around so I could pet his head. As he turned around, he gave a strange yelp. I thought maybe he stepped on his own tail as he's been known to do that. Jim had mentioned earlier that he seemed kind of lethargic. Well, Shadow snuggled in with his head now on my lap. After just a few seconds, he cried out again. I had never heard him cry out like that before. Jim heard it in the basement and came running up the stairs when I used the phone intercom to call him.
This was shortly after 8:00 p.m. on a holiday weekend, so Jim took him to the emergency vet. He didn't get home until 11:30 p.m. Our poor baby hurt his back somehow. He was having severe muscle spasms when the vet examined him. She took x-rays and didn't see any damage, slipped disks or otherwise, so she thinks it's muscular. She sedated him for the x-rays, so he was really groggy when Jim brought him home. In fact, he wouldn't get out of the car. He was in the back seat of the Tracker and wouldn't budge. He didn't even react when I tried to tempt him with his favorite treat. Finally, Jim had to get behind him while I stood in front of him and coaxed his paws up into the passenger seat. Once Jim got him on the seat, he was able to pick him up and bring him in the house.
He can't run or jump for the next 2-4 weeks. He's also not supposed to jump on the furniture or climb stairs. We live in a two-story house with a basement that really makes it a three-story house, and he is constantly running up and down both sets of stairs. Jim has to carry him upstairs at night and back down in the morning. Since he weighs 90 pounds, this is not an easy task.
He is, however, very content right now. He's lying on his bed in front of the fireplace, his favorite spot. It's 50 degrees outside, but we turned on the fireplace because he loves it. See...he's spoiled. He's also on a muscle relaxer, a pain medicine, and an anti-inflammatory. If he could talk right now, he'd say, "Cool, dude."
This was very scary for us because it was the seventh anniversary, to the day, of when we had to have Jim's cat, Cuddles, put to sleep. Shortly after that, my cat, Sam, got sick and also had to be put to sleep. We got married at the end of March. A few weeks after we returned home from our first honeymoon (aka Spring Break), the kids at Jim's school found a stray puppy. One of the other teachers was involved with dog rescue, so she took him home. Jim mentioned him that night after he got home. We were in the middle of building our first home and decided to wait until after we moved to get a new pet. The next day he brought the puppy home. He's just a sucker for a stray.
Shadow was the ugliest puppy. He was so ugly, he was cute. He was terribly stinky, so we took him out back and gave him a bath. I got an old towel and Jim handed me the wet dog. I held him in my left arm swaddled in the towel like a baby while I rubbed him dry with my right hand. He was that little. Our friend, the dog rescuer, told us he'd be a medium-sized dog, around 30-40 pounds, based on his ear and paw size. His fur was this ugly gray color on his back, but his belly and legs were yellow. The gray looked like a cape, so we named him Shadow for the old-time radio detective, and also because he followed us everywhere.
In less than two weeks, his ears and paws sprouted. His ears were so big that he looked like a bat. He started to grow and grow and grow. The vet determined he was part yellow lab and part german shepard. As he grew, the gray moved down his back and the yellow took over. At one point, only his tail remained gray. Then just the tip, and then he was all yellow. He has the build of a shephard, but the coloring of a yellow lab. He's smart like a shephard and learns to follow commands well, but he's playful like a lab. For his first three years, I just prayed for him to lie down and stay still.
At almost seven, he has calmed down, but he's still very playful. He loves the snow and loves to chase a laser light in the backyard. He loves children and is very good with them. He takes a few minutes to get acquainted, and we have to watch him so he doesn't give their entire head a big lick, but he then settles down and will play. He loves to play tug-of-war. It's funny because he judges his opponent before he decides how hard to pull. He's played with a two-year-old and let the two-year-old win. When he plays with me, he pulls a little harder. When he plays with Jim, he pulls with all his strength. I just love how he adjusts to each person. He's been sat on, prodded, poked, and had his ears pulled and not reacted at all. Jim has been desensitizing him for years so that he wouldn't react if his ears or face are touched. He'll be such a good companion for our child.
A couple of updates. First, Kelly at Pass the Torch
made her goal with about 30 hours to spare. Yay!!!! And that rocker is mine. Thursday when I first saw it there were about 10 in the store. Today, I went to get it and they were down to two, including the floor model. They still had about four of the caterpillar version left. It was cute, but not as cute as that butterfly.