As much as I look forward to sharing bits and pieces about my husband and three children that have been my life these past 29 years, it seems our family dog, Shadow, will be honored with first mention. You see, Shadow recently turned 14 years old last month and in dog years that equals CELEBRATE!When Juaquin and I married in 1984 it was our hope to ‘be stationed’ in Texas. Military commitment always trumps what one serving may hope. (and) That was the case with my husband’s first Air Force assignment. While he ventured to request bases in Texas and Louisiana (England AFB), it was in England, UK that we landed.
We quickly learned that being in the Air Force and traveling the world meant some pretty strict rules (aka: quarantines) for family pets. England, in particular, had a strict policy that any dogs or cats brought over by an American military family would be quarantined for 6 months. Why so strict? England was rabies free and they did not want to risk losing that status.
We were young and just learning what was involved in being ‘all grown up’. So, Juaquin and I agreed that we would remain pet-free for many, many years. At that time, we were not in a position to spend the money, time, energy and likely, heartache that could go toward the transporting a pet from one country to another.
Fast forward 15+ years and there we were, back in England, UK. This time we were a family of five and this time we were looking to complete our family with a dog. Preferably, a border collie. When I overheard a fellow squadron wife chatting about a litter of border collie puppies at our monthly spouse coffee, my ears perked up and two months later we brought home a sweet, soft-bellied puppy named Shadow. Our family was complete!
Oh, there are loads of stories involving this extremely active dog, but this post is about Shadow’s 14th birthday and how happy we are that she is still with us. She may not see or hear very well, and she has given up leaping into the air to catch a Frisbee, but she still loves life! A year before moving to the country, we noticed that Shadow-girl was slowing down quite a bit. Once here, however, she perked up considerably and seems to have gained a sense of adventure as she sniffs, runs and keeps her territory marked.
No birthday is complete without pressies! Our children have gifted Shadow some pretty fun, squeaky toys in past. Some of her favorites: a festive Tom-turkey, Ellie the elephant and Mr. Bill. Each one shown great love by way of slobber, tosses-in-the-air and ceaseless squeezes.
Last month, our daughter, Jana, sent her a squeaky, pumpkin Snoopy. Shadow treated this gift with the same enthusiasm and love she treats all her gifts.
“Happy Birthday, Shadow! Love, Jana”