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Name: Linda

Location: Texas

I am a wife, mom and grandma. I am doing what I've wanted to do all my life. I am a Christian and I love the Lord.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006
Shep and my sister Marilyn.

He was just a little German Shepherd mix puppy, when my Dad brought him home in his jacket pocket. I will never forget him. He lived with us for fifteen years and carved out a place in our hearts that has never been filled. There will never be another dog quite like Shep.

He was strong – a fierce fighter – and he was gentle and loveable. He wasn’t afraid of anything, except thunder storms. When lightning began to crackle across the sky and we could hear the distant roll of thunder, he made a beeline for the basement. He wanted to be in the only place he considered safe. I remember walking down the basement stairs and sitting next to him to ride out the storm.

He was a true adventurer. We had just moved from the city to the country and were living in a small sub-division. We had the corner lot, and out little house was bordered on one side by a dirt lane. Beyond that was a large farm, and at the end of the lane the woods. How he loved to explore the woods. He became quite a hunter and proudly brought home his "kill". My poor mother was horrified every time she found a dead woodchuck on the front lawn.

We never kept him tied up; he was free to go wherever he chose. I don’t think he would have survived being confined. One day he took off on one of his adventures and didn’t come home. We didn’t worry too much. He was so independent; we just knew he had to be all right. However, he didn’t turn up the next day or the next. My Dad looked all over for him, but he was nowhere to be found. By the time more than a week had passed we were becoming resigned to the fact that he wasn’t coming home.

The next day he sauntered into the yard just as casual as you please. We were so happy to see him. He looked fine and seemed to be thinking “What’s all the fuss about?” Over the years he would periodically disappear for a week or so. I don’t remember how we finally discovered his secret, but it seems Shep was leading a double life.

He had found a home where there was an attractive female dog and simply hung around for a while. The family became attached to him and named him Lucky. He didn’t stay long (just long enough to become a Papa it seems), and then he came back home to us. In his typical independent fashion, he visited them every so often, but he always returned to us.

He liked to follow us to school. We did not like him to follow us to school. He would get into fights and generally worry us to death. He usually waited until we were too far from home to walk him all the way back before he started to follow us. One of us would turn around, and there he was just as happy as could be. We’d stop; he’d stop and sit and look at us with those big brown eyes. We’d say, “Shep, go home!”, and he would continue to sit and look at us with those big brown eyes. In exasperation we would continue the walk to school, and he would happily walk along behind us.

He always managed to find his way back home from school, except for the day he somehow managed to get himself locked into the school yard. I don’t remember how we got him out of that particular pickle. I think the school custodian knew him by then.

Several years later my parents bought a house closer to town. Shep was already about ten years old by then. We were all excited and happy about the move to a bigger house, all except Shep that is. He was used to the woods and the freedom they afforded. He just didn’t like the idea of living on a residential street.

We had only been in the house a few days when my parents got a call from the people who had bought our old house. Shep was there. He had simply gone back home, walking the few miles he had never traveled before. My Dad had to tie him up in the backyard. Shep was never very happy there. He finally adjusted, but I know some of that wonderful spirit dimmed.

He was nearing fifteen the year I went away to college. He had gotten so arthritic my Dad had to carry him up and down the stairs. One day I got the news that Shep was gone. He had simply walked away. My Dad looked everywhere for him, but we never saw him again. It seemed very much in character. He had gone away to die.

We’ve had several dogs since then. They have all been cute, and we’ve loved them. But there has never been another Shep. When we’re all together for family times we talk about him like he was one of the family. After a good steak dinner my Dad will still sometimes say, “If Shep were here, he would love these steak bones.” He was a once-in-a-lifetime dog.

I do hope dogs go to heaven.

  posted at 7:39 PM

At 9:35 PM, Blogger Naturegirl said...

I know your Shep is in heaven! What a wonderful story about a special dog..we too have a wonderful dog memory..our Ginger and Shep walk along
Rainbow bridge in heaven!

At 10:22 PM, Blogger Diane said...

I can add many names to your list of pets who can never be replaced. But it seems each one makes their own place in our heart, even when we seem to think we can never love another like the one we just had to give up. People who don't have pets just don't understand how our beloved pets become a part of the family.

Good writing, Linda. :-)

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Morning Glory said...

What a sweet story of a much-loved pet. Shep sounds wonderful.

At 11:31 PM, Blogger MugwumpMom said...

Thank you for visiting me today. Welcome to blogland!! As for beta..it's just another blog format that eventually blogger is switching us all to, but till they force it, I'm staying on this format as it's easy.

Loved your post about Shep. Didn't Elvis do a song about a dog named Shep? Hmmmm...anyway, I believe dogs go to heaven. Seems to me I read somewhere about lions laying down with lambs, so if lions and lambs do, then dogs must!! Especially Shep!

I'm going to add you to my favorites...my blogroll is getting too long on my sidebar and I visit my favorites almost every day...so I'll be back for sure!

Great to meet you.

At 11:37 PM, Blogger momrn2 said...

What great memories with such a great dog/family friend!!

At 4:48 PM, Blogger Barb said...

There's something special about our childhood pets. Ours was a little beagle mix named Tippi. Seems like no matter what pets you get when you're grown, they never replace the pet you had as a child. What a sweet tribute to this member of your family.

At 8:04 PM, Blogger Pamela said...

Linda, I just loved your post. It is amazing that Shep could retrace his steps back to his original homestead. He was a ladies man. lol

The dog we have now is named Shivan and it will truly be devastating when we lose him. He is the cutest little Shih tzu. It would be nice if there is a doggy heaven, but do animals have souls...

Isaiah 11:6-9 speaks of a coming glorious era on Earth when the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them...It goes on to say they will neither harm nor distroy on all of my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the Knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

At 10:19 PM, Blogger erin said...

We, too, have a dog that is so special to us. We love him, and it breaks my heart to think that we will have to say goodbye to him one day. He is 8 years old, so I am hoping he has a few good years in him!! And, he, too, is afraid of thunderstorms!!

I also wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog and writing such sweet encouraging words. Don't let me fool you. I am human, and I have lost my temper a time or two. But, one thing you and I can say. . . When our boys go to bed at night, there is no doubt in their minds that we love them to pieces!! Even if we do make mistakes here and there. Love covers a multitude of sins, right??

Anyway, I love hearing from you.

Thanks for coming by!!


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