With Us in Spirit
We had a great bunch of dogs at our Texas home: Cirrus, our Samoyed, and Shadow and Mac, sister and brother blue merle Collies. Shadow’s favorite place to go was Gaston’s White River Resort in Bull Shoals, Arkansas. We took a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and stopped at Gaston’s on the way there and back in July. We normally went in the fall, but at the time, we didn’t know Shadow wouldn’t be joining us there ever again.
She was diagnosed with ehrlichiosis, an auto-immune problem, after being bitten by a tick. The vet put her on medication and requested a follow-up at the end of August. On August 15th she would not eat. She had not previously shown any signs of being sick. I took her to the vet. She had a 103 fever. By the next day she was gone. Her body was trying to destroy the disease, and in the process had killed her. The veterinarians at Texas A&M said there was no hope to save her. She was only seven years, eight months, and 16 days old.
We were devastated. She was my little girl. And Mac was especially saddened because this was his little sister.
It’s true what they say about one door closing and another opening, though. Our hearts broke for our loss, but my husband knew we had to move on. We had been looking at Houston Collie Rescue’s website for a while, even before losing Shadow, and after her passing had seen a blue merle listed as a courtesy for a Great Pyrenees group out of Seguin, Texas. I told him it was too soon. He said it wasn’t. This girl needed us as much as we needed her.
I contacted Val at the rescue, and she told me she was taking the dog, Spirit, to Dallas to meet another couple. I told her I would drive the four hours to meet her, too, if she would consider us. She agreed.
I took Cirrus and Mac with me because they would have to approve Spirit, too. As soon as they all met, they began to play. Spirit ran up to me, too, and I loved on her. It was like she knew I was going to be her new mom, and she was excited about it. She had come from a woman who had had 18 dogs, so I’m sure that sharing a home with only two others seemed just delightful. Both Val and I could see that she fit right in with us, so Val didn’t hesitate to say she could be mine.
In the truck on the way home, Spirit sat in Shadow’s favorite spot. Mac was not too sure about that, and for a while, he snapped at her every time she tried to lay her head on his back in the same way Shadow had. That all changed during our first trip out to Gaston’s that October. In the car, Spirit again laid her head on his back, and this time Mac just looked at her and sighed. He had finally accepted her as his new little sister.
We all continue to miss Shadow, and we don’t see Spirit as a replacement. We see her as a new chapter in our family book, a wonderful addition to our story, who has brought us out of our misery and elevated our spirits. –Linda Gandy