This is Shandy. My parents let me take the day off school when we got her, because I was so excited to meet the newest member of our family – I was 13 at this point, we had an older dog named Sheba, and two cats, Munch and Pip, and we were getting a puppy to add to our clan. Dad was meant to bring home a German Shepherd mix for Sheba to mother, as she was a Shepherd/Whippet mix. So, Dad finally comes home with this little bundle in his coat and we’re so excited to meet the new pup. He kneels down to the floor and out of his jacket flops this little white bundle of fur with huge ears and long legs.
“What happened to the Alsatian-looking pup?” Mom asked as I cooed over this adorable ball of fluff.
“I went to pick one,” Dad smiled, “But then this little one started walking towards me – she picked me. I had to bring her home.”
Initially we were going to call her Snowy, because of her white fur, then it was Sandy, but then Mom decided to call her Shandy – because she was half Alsatian and half Labrador. Sadly we lost Sheba to illness only a few months later, and (through hilarious circumstances involving my dad, the pub and a bloke named Steve) a little while later we got Lady. Our family was complete.
While Lady was smart and good with most situations, Shandy was derpy and a nervous wreck most of the time. She would get so excited she didn’t know what to do with herself. She was also emotionally in tune with the people around her – whenever me or Mom were down, she knew and would snuggle in as close as possible to comfort us.
The one thing that will stick in my memory most is the day I lost Mom. I’d been at the hospital for six hours and finally came home, bringing my Other Half with me. Of course I cried at the hospital, but I held myself back until I was on my own – I let the dogs smell Mom’s scent on me from the hospital, and I bawled my eyes out, I howled like a wounded animal in grief and despair. Lady whimpered, but Shandy joined me in crying for the woman we loved.
Shandy and Lady were my reasons for getting up in the morning and for carrying on with life. I had to be there for them, I had to give them a better life in their senior years – and I did my best for them.
I was there the moment Shandy came into my life, and in January this year, I was there the moment she left. I held her as she passed, and I felt my heart break as she did.
My heart hasn’t been the same since. My Shandy was a beautiful, caring, stupid, wobbly, loving girl and she brought joy to our lives. Everyone who ever had her slobbering over them would agree that she was one in a million – I still think about you every day and I would give anything to have your cold wet nose waking me up in the morning.
You were a good girl.