I called him a lot of things.
Light of my life. Idiot. Adorable. Fugly puppy. Terrible. Mean. Sneaky. Funny. Ballsy. Cocky. Napoleonic. Grumpy. Sassy. Sweet. Annoying. The worst. The best.
And then there were his many nicknames.
"Patience, Young Shadowone."
"Bien, Monsieur Le Shadow!"
"Old Man Shadow" - sung either to the Neil Young or Show Boat song.
Methuselah. Houdini. Hobo. Babushka. The latter of which was usually inspired by the extremely temporary tying of one of my scarves wrapped around his head, making him look like a little Russian immigrant grandma.
I adored that cocky, adorable, stupid, terrible dog. He kept me company when I worked all alone in a dingy office in Little Five Points (though to be fair, he only accompanied me in the first place because he couldn’t be trusted to be left outside with the other dogs in our yard, hence the Houdini nickname). Walking him in Freedom Park on deadline kept me sane. Running over those hills, watching his little legs go, ears flapping in the breeze, made me laugh and be able to face the red ink again.
We thought he’d live forever. Picking fights with dogs five times his size. Going deaf but still leaping for food. Getting unpredictable around new people in the dark. Worrying us and yet being an absolute constant in his varying moods and flavors.
I’ll never forget having dinner with mum and Tim at our old house in Decatur, and I went on somewhat of a gushing rant.
"I just never know how I lived my life without you. You’re just the most wonderful thing in the world. You complete me. Yes you do! You do!"
And so on and so forth… Embarrassingly so.
After a few minutes of this, my mother, mortified, said in shocking realization, “Are you talking to the DOG?!”
Hells yes I was. Naturally, though, my mother being a normal human, assumed I was taking to my recently-made-hubbie.
Sorry, mum. Also sorry about when Shadow tore up your door frame.
He could be a terrible dog. But he was *my* terrible dog. And even though he was probably around a might 18 years of age, I wish he could have lived on jumping three feet for a snack and enjoying some damn fine belly rubs.
I miss you insanely, my Shadow.