I mentioned to my husband that I was writing a blog and what it was about. He asked if there was anything about Shadow.
Shadow is the dog. She's Terry's FFM (Favorite Family Member). She eats, sleeps, plays, licks, wags, and is happy to see him when he gets home. She requires little from him, yet displays complete unwavering love and support. I guess that we other FMs could learn not to dirty our diapers, not to greet him with a grouchy tone when he comes home from work and the little FMs have worn our patience thin, not to talk to him (or cry or whine) while an important sporting event is on etc. etc. . . . .
Shadow really is the perfect dog. We got her from the Houston Humane society when she was about two months old. We had gotten our first dog (who had left us the previous year) at the same shelter as an adult dog. Since we now had Amanda the toddler, we decided that a puppy who could tolerate the experimentation of a toddler as they both got used to each other would be best. The picture that I have in my head of her is one of a two month old fluffball, curled up on the dissassembled Little Tykes plastic slide in Amanda's playroom. Another memory of those early months is her sitting on the stairs, looking through the banister into the living room. She also broke in her sharp baby doggie teeth on that wood. Okay, maybe there is no perfect dog.
Terry saw her first. "Come look at this sweet dog. She's just so quiet and calm." At 2 months old, and stunned by the loud atmosphere of the shelter, she was indeed sweet and calm. I would not describe her that way now. She is sweet, but at 5 years old, she has boundless energy. We are unsure of her breeding, but she's black and sort of shaggy like a border collie, and about the same size. She is known to herd and shepherd us in. It's likely that there's some sort of spaniel or shepherd or lab in her as well. We were able to housebreak her with literally no trouble and I can honestly say that after the first couple of months, there were no accidents--ever. Again, beyond those first few months of cutting teeth, there's no chewing, no digging, nothing. When we lived in that house in Houston, she did lay on the tile floor with her head resting on the window sill so she could watch the coming and goings of the neighborhood. That was accompanied by very loud (and annoying) barking, which could not be described as perfect, but definitely tolerable.
Almost two years ago, we moved from Houston to Connecticut. Shadow loves our country environment here. There was an invisible fence already installed, and she trained, well, perfectly. The owner was impressed when he came out to demo the fence and re-mark the area with flags for her. She never tests the limits, and even when her collar is off, she stays in the yard. She runs and barks at runners and dog walkers and trucks as they pass by. She curls up on the front porch when it's raining or snowing, but barring low teen or below weather, she stays outside all the day long.
I'm sure that we could all strive to be more like dogs (and who wouldn't enjoy that life--eating and sleeping and watching the squirrels and the birds. However, as perfect as a loyal pet is, the complexity and emotion that prevents us humans from being perfect also adds a depth and richness to those relationships. So, while Shadow is Terry's FFM, I know he'd never trade me in for her.