Thursday, August 19, 2010

Good Bye Summer (And Good Riddance!)

Let me just start by saying this summer has been hard. Like 5 year old jaw breakers hard. It all started back at the tail end of May when the night before Joey and I were flying out to photograph the coolest weeding in North Carolina. (insert harp sound and blurry fade dream sequence here) I was driving alone (Joey was meeting me the next morning) to my Grandparents to spend the night before our flight out the next morning when I pulled off the freeway and stopped at a red light at the bottom of the off ramp. I'm waiting and waiting for the light to turn green when all off a sudden this loud beeping noise starts going off in my car. Finally after looking everywhere I see that there's a message on my dashboard telling me to change the oil. "Whew" I think to myself, for a second I thought the car was going to explode, I leaned forward to push the button to turn off the beeping when BAM, all hell breaks loose. I remember the first thought that went through my head was "Oh no, I didn't change the oil soon enough and now my car is exploding!". I wasn't really sure why the explosion would have come from my trunk, but heh, I'm not one of those car girls. I can change a tire but that's about all I've got. Slowly the daze wore off and I looked around a realized I'd been rear ended at about 60mph and my car was almost 40 feet from were I had been stopped. The next thought I had was "Oh no, all of my photo gear to shoot the wedding with was in the trunk of the car!" at that point I went into panic mode. I managed to pry open the back seat of car crawl into the trunk and extract all of our gear which in some miraculous way was all fine. Sadly, the car was not. I watched it get towed off into the distance that night to be totaled, surrounded on the side of the road with all my belongings I had to pull out before they took it away. I managed to get a hold of my brother-in-law to pick me up and finally get me to my grandparents that night, where I discovered a treasury of pain pills they had stored up. You see I knew I had been hurt in the accident, but I was afraid to get taken to the hospital because I didn't want to miss my flight early the next morning and miss the wedding I had to photograph. So I had just sucked it up. The discovery of the pain pills made everything better, we managed to make out flight the next day, shoot the wedding and come back before the real pain ever set in. But the moment we got back it was doctors visits night and day, I was going three times a week to two or three different people trying to get everything fixed.

Slowly I was getting better and by our 5 year anniversary on July 9th I was feeling way better. Joey had planned such an amazing day for the two of us to spend filled with adventure.... all of which came to a screaming halt after I got a very bad case of food poisoning at lunch. I couldn't move more that a 1ft away from a trash can or toilet so my awesome hubby improvised and set up our camping tent in our living room and rented tons of movies and we spent a very memorable anniversary curled up on the air mattress inside the tent with me puking every couple minutes... this lasted about a week and a half before I was fully recovered.

Toward the middle of July I was finally feeling better, my stomach wasn't so queasy anymore and my body was on the mend from the accident when I got a call from my mom in Hawaii to tell me my dog Shelby was very sick. Now, you have to understand about me and my dogs. They aren't dogs. They are my children, my best friends, my playmates, my counselors, my therapists, my everything. The day we got Shelby I remember I was about 11 years old and had just got done playing a soccer game when friends of ours invited us to come see some puppies their weimaraner had just had. I guess some rouge dog had gotten into their back yard and gotten her pregnant so they weren't super sure what breed the puppies dad was. I remember on the car ride over there my dad saying "Now remember guys, we're just going to go look! We're not bringing one home today!" We go there and all the puppies were in a little playpen in the front driveway and they were the most beautiful jet black and jumping around crawling all over each other. I remember looking down and seeing one puppy sound asleep in the midst of all the chaos curled up in the bottom of the pen, I reached down picked her up... and that was it. My heart melted. My dad even melted the moment he saw her and she came home with us that day. When we got home we named her Shelby (to remind my dad that he was supposed to build me a Shelby Cobra for my 16th birthday... that plan didn't really work out but the thought was there at least lol). I had never really had a lot of friends growing up, and Shelby quickly filled a hole in my heart that needed it very badly. She became my best friend. I know a lot of people say that about their dogs, but she really was in so many ways.

The first night we had her, she was supposed to be getting kennel trained so I put her inside and went to bed, when she started to cry my heart broke and I remember crawling inside the dog kennel and sleeping in there with her all night long. Not wanting to sleep in the kennel anymore Shelby started sleeping in the bed with me, under the covers, with her head on a pillow curled up with me like a teddy bear. I've always had trouble sleeping, but never when I slept with her. I would listen to her rhythmic breathing deep long breaths and it would put me at peace in a way nothing else ever has. As she grew up she never really realized she was a dog, or that she was to big to be a lap dog.

She hated the dirt. When we'd go camping she'd have to have her own lawn chair or she wouldn't ever lay down. She hated to be separated from us and would go crazy if she couldn't be with us. I remember one trip while camping my dad and I were fishing in our boat on the lake and my sister and mother were walking along the shore with Shelby. She looked up and saw us out on the water and jumped in to swim out to us, half way there she realized that Mom and Kasie were still back on shore and just kept going back and forth wanting to be with all of us.
Shelby was also my first model. She was so patient. She would just sit and pose (often times sporting some ridiculous costume) while I worked on my photography. She also had this hilarious habit of going catatonic if you put a hair scrunchy around her snout until you took it off. She was one of the most beautiful dogs I've ever seen. Eventually we deduced she must have been mixed with some sort of black lab and ended up looking more like a petite jet black weimaraner. She was always there, and she knew me so well.
I remember he licking the tears from my face when I was sad, curling up with me when I was lonely and having adventures with me in the woods. I would grab one of the quads out of the garage and sit her up on my lap, drive the two of us out the the woods, let her down and then blaze through woods a full speed. Me being a dare devil, doing jumps and her gracefully gliding through the forest keeping up with me like it was second nature to her. We spent a lot of summer days that way together. I even got in a fight over her once, one of my friends didn't really care for her and told me so and I proceeded to scream at them at the top of my lungs... her father didn't really like that. I got it trouble, but I loved my dog. Like I said she really was my best friend.
When I got married and moved away I wanted to take her with me, but we had gotten another dog for my sister a few year earlier and the two had become the best of friends. Separating them just seemed cruel. So she stayed with my parents. Then when my parents went to Hawaii the dogs went along too.
I was sad that I couldn't see her as often anymore but loved her just as much as the day I had screamed out my friend for saying bad things about her. Then I got that call. She was sick and there was nothing I could do. I couldn't even be there for her, to hold her and tell her it was going to be ok. I couldn't do anything, I don't think I've ever felt more helpless as I did then. After two days I got another call from my mom telling me that she had passed away. My heart broke in my chest and couldn't do anything buy cry for hours. It's amazing how much someone can touch and change your life with no words. How much an animal can mean to you. And all I can say as I am trying to write this, tears streaming down my face onto the keyboard is that I miss her. I miss her so much. But when I do I am thankful for Audrey, and we cuddle up together like I did with Shelby and I pretend she's still here, still breathing those deep rhythmic breaths and putting my soul at peace.

So that was my summer, not the best one I've ever had by a long shot. So I'm excited to get away. Friday morning I fly out to visit my parents in Hawaii for two weeks and hopefully detox from the event of this summer. Although I know it won't be all palm trees and blue Hawaiians because Shelby won't be there when I arrive. I know that's going to be hard. But hopefully it will also give me some time to morn, and to let go.

Wow. That was a WAY long post just to let you know I'm off to Hawaii for a few weeks. Sorry if I went sort of over board with my story. It's just been such a long summer and I finally feel like I am in a place where I can start talking about it. I've tried to write before but the words just wouldn't come. So if you've made it through this novel of a post God bless you, and thank you for listening. And if you have a pet, make sure to give it a long hard hug from me before you go to bed.


Brandi 8:01 AM  

Oh Kadie! Your post made me tear up.. I am so sorry for the loss of Shelby. I am super close to my animals, they are like my children, so I can completely put myself in your shoes. I am sorry about your car wreck too. It has definitely been a rough summer for you. I am sending you lots of positive wishes and hopes for a wonderful fall that lifts your spirits.

Frances 8:38 AM  

I've never been much of an animal lover but after reading your story I'm sad and I want a dog now. I can totally relate to the car accident back ache pain. Hope you continue to recover. Thanks for sharing. Hope you feel better after your trip.

Jim 5:52 PM  

Mom and I were there when your beloved Shelby passed away.. We told her she was a good girl and that so very many people loved her, especially her Kadie and that it was ok to let go..

The vets office could see how special Shelby was to our family and sent us this poem:

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.

There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. Her bright eyes are intent; Her eager body quivers. Suddenly she begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, her legs carrying her faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Your Shelby-girl will wait there for all of us to be together again just as she did so many times from her perch in the window seat in Prescott..

Love you Kadie... Mom and I will seen you soon, Duddy

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