Friday, July 20, 2018

Shayla: "Our Furry Child"

I had to include a picture with today's blog, so that you would be able to appreciate this beautiful lady who is so much a part of our daily lives: our black labrador, Shayla.

We rescued her from a county shelter about eight years ago. She was three then. There has never been a time in our married life that we have not had at least two dogs in our family; at one time we had four! (That proved to be a bit much.) When we got Shayla, we had recently lost Rascal, a male Karelian Bear Dog who lived a full life for 17 years. We got him as a puppy, so it was the worst canine sadness of all for R.J. and me.

The other dog who shared Rascal's life was Molly Brown (a beagle/hound mix) and when Rascal died, she literally pined for him. He had been like a dad to her since the day we'd brought her home as a puppy from the pound. (We've always had rescue dogs.) Molly immediately accepted Shayla into the family, and I guess the feeling was mutual, because when Molly left this world, Shayla pined for her as well.

Thinking about a blog topic today, I passed our sleeping ball of fur in the living room, and decided that she need to be introduced to you all. She's almost 12 now, and the vet says she is very healthy for her age. We could have told him that. I sometimes think she is smarter than either of us, and, just for the record, she is also spoiled rotten. We have always spoiled our dogs with treats and lots of love, and they have all had long, healthy times here on earth.

Shayla is our only dog since Molly's passing. We talked about getting a friend for her again, but she seems to enjoy being our only canine, and we see no reason to upset that balance.

From the time I was born, dogs have been part of my life. My parents always had them, and R.J. and I got our first puppy in our first year of marriage. There are many stories about them all, and I think I'll feature different "furry children" in upcoming blogs. I've always believed that having them has added a unique richness to our home life. They've also constantly reminded me of the one-of-a-kind devotion they give to their human parents. That's a gift like no other.

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