Missing My Best Friend Shelby "Woofie" Lynne
by Trish Cormier
My precious Shelby entered into my life in November of 1991. She was the first Schnauzer that I would ever encounter and was the love of my life. Shelby beat all odds~~~hernia at the age of 6 months, a back injury at the age of 8 years that nearly paralyzed her, a baseball size tumor at the age of 10 years that was surprisingly benign and 5 other brothers and sisters for the last 9 remaining years of her life.
Shelby shared many happy moments with me in my life~~~a new truck to cruise in, a new house, new relationships and lots of traveling adventures. She also shared unhappy moments~~~a truck that no longer cruised, broken relationships and losing our house to one of them. She NEVER left my side or let me down; always listened without judgement and NEVER disagreed with me.
My fear for years was knowing that one day I would lose her. I asked the doctor at every visit how will I know when it’s time, as I had never had to go through the natural loss of a pet. And with every answer, he would take a deep breath and say “You will know”.
At the age of 15, Shelby developed arthritis and kidney failure and could not get around very well. It was difficult at times to watch her as she was always very strong willed and never was one who wanted to be dependent on anyone. She would go outside to take care of her business and stumble and fall in the process. Living in 2-story house did not make it easy for her either. After several discussions with the doctor, he said that as long as she was eating, drinking and didn’t seem to be in any pain and if I was willing to do the work, that she still had some good time left in her. So, for 2 years, I diapered her, carried her to and from every one of her destinations and made sure that she stayed comfortable. It was the least that I could do in return for all of the love and dedication that she had given me.
While leaving to work one Monday morning, I noticed that she was not feeling well. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving her alone but had to go to work. I called the doctor once I got to work and told him that I was very concerned about her well being and made an appointment for her on the next day. I asked my boss if I could leave early that day so that I could go home and check on Shelby.
When I got there, she was laying in her crate very still. I entered the room very slowly, in fear that she may no longer be with me. As I entered, she very slowly lifted her head, looked up at me with her big, brown eyes, as if she was telling me “Mom, it’s time”. I immediately picked her up, wrapped her in her favorite blanket, called the doctor and made an emergency trip.
When I got to there, he immediately took us into a room, I laid Shelby on the table and the doctor said in a very calming voice “Trish, it’s time”. My heart sank at that moment, reflecting back on all of the years that I had asked him how will I know when it’s time. And at that very moment, I finally realized what the doctor meant. He allowed me to sit with her and take as long with her as I needed. After about an hour of holding her, loving on her and looking back on the 17 years of love that she had given me, the doctor came back into the room. With syringe in hand, he smiled at me and nodded his head. He took Shelby’s little arm, inserted the needle and I sat, watched and listened to my dear Shelby take her last breath. This was the hardest thing that I had ever had to endure in my entire life.
The ride home was a dark, dreary one as the thunder, lightning and rain pounded on the roof of the car and my tears filled up what felt like buckets. I asked God to give me a sign that my Shelby had made it to the other side safely, where she will await my presence once again. Not long after that request, I looked up and there before my eyes, was a beautiful rainbow that followed me for the 45 mile ride home. It did not take the pain away but it was a bittersweet ending to a beautiful life that was letting me know that she had passed along to the Rainbow Bridge and was running pain free for eternity. The decision was already made to have Shelby cremated so that one day, our ashes will be returned to earth together.
If there is a lesson to be learned from Shelby, it is to live life the best that you can with every living, breathing moment. NEVER fear any obstacle that may come your way as there are so many odds that will ALLOW you to win. Love freely, without expectation and leave this earth on no ones terms except for your own; when YOU are ready! And that dying does not mean your life is over; it only means that there is an afterlife that we must NOT fear!
I love and miss you Shelby Lynne (Woofie) and you will forever remain in my heart! And in your honor baby girl, I volunteer every spare moment that I have with the voiceless, giving of my time without expectation; just like you gave of yourself to me for 17 years!
August 1991 ~ June 2008