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My grandmother stopped living with me in February of 2017 and my Sunny died in March of 2017. With them gone, I was devastated. I was mourning these huge losses and had no idea how to deal with it all. I had no idea how to move on. I could not even be around people who had joy in their hearts because that energy was too overwhelming. There was no light for me. And then came Shadow. My husband and I decided to help a friend by fostering their family dog who would otherwise be relinquished to an animal shelter. And after feeling as though someone took my Sunny and Tata from me, I could not allow that to happen to someone else.
Shadow kept to himself most times but was still very playful. I’ve only known him to have one expression – pure joy. Happily, he would approach, silently asking for some form of a affection. Shadow didn’t care if it was a belly rub, a constant head pat, whether you would pet him with your hand or your foot. He just would make his way to you and force you to acknowledge him and show affection. Every morning, this 11-year old dog would want to play. I mean, this dog does not run, he gallops! When he walks, it’s with joy. When he gallops, his love for life shows. It is quite annoying. Ha! I would look at him every morning, his tail furiously wagging and love shooting from his eyes, and ask “Why are you so happy?” Truly. I could not understand it and it bothered me. Until it didn’t.
I started having quick chats with Shadow before we would head out on our walks. I know, he’s a dog, but still. And it always started with that question-
- Why are you so happy?….. You’re away from your true family.
- Why are you so happy?…. You are not my dog.
- Why are you so happy?…. My dog is dead and my grandma is gone.
- Why are you so happy?…. Work is stressing me out.
- Why are you so happy? …….We are not trying to bond with you.
- Why are you so happy? …..Life is at its worst.
- Why are you so happy?…. My heart is shattered and I can’t fix it.
- Why are you so happy?…..This isn’t your house and we are not your people.
Months went by and every day he was still as happy as the day before. All I would do is compare him to my Sunny. My Sunny, who taught me what true, unconditional love is. My Sunny, who showed me how to have purpose in the every day. My Sunny, whose soul was an inspiration. My Sunny, who was stronger than any being and who made me stronger because of our bond. My Sunny, who was the only reason why Shadow came into our lives.
My Sunny days were gone. I know it was no coincidence that the next dog who came to us was named Shadow. How poetic. My life was not consumed by complete and utter darkness. There was still some sun, my grief just shaded me from it. And Shadow forced me to face the truth. I was in the shade hiding out, but my sunny days were still around. There’s definitely still a shadow over me, but I guess that means it’s because someone is watching over me and protecting me versus being abandoned. Here’s to my Shadow days!