April 2nd, 1996 a sweet little Rottweiler came into this world. I was called up and rushed over to my Aunt's house to witness the miracle of birth. As the puppies grew, I was there, the curious little 8 year old that had only ever wanted a dog to call her own. I witnessed the docking and the dew claw removal, I was there when they opened their eyes and they became my favorite playmates as they grew.
Six weeks after the puppies were born I came home to a very special surprise. Shadow was mine. I had no clue that such a thing would ever happen and I was in disbelief. But my dream had come true, only she was even more special than I ever could have imagined.
As the years went by the lazy puppy turned into a strong, stunning adult. We'd "race" the neighbor girl and her Boxer on rollerblades constantly. It was one of Shadow's favorite activities. There I was, an 80lb ten year old with her 100 pound young Rottweiler...on rollerblades. Most would think that that would be a deadly combination, but Shadow was special. Shadow was raised in a house full of children, as my mom did daycare, and she was always the gentlest giant. Many times we'd dress her up, pretend she was the horse for our fake carriage, lay on her or read her a book and she never once complained.
Shadow taught me many things in life. She taught me patience; she was the first dog I ever attempted to train, and she could be extremely stubborn. She taught me endurace; whether it be rollerblading or going for walks she was always ready to go and I had to try hard to keep up with her. No matter what the weather conditions were, she always looked forward to our adventures. She taught me tolerance; she was always so gentle with everbody, and even took the additions of the rest of the Hoodlums in stride, even if she was an only child for 6-7 years. She taught me unconditional love; no matter what she was always as happy as can be wagging her little stump. But most of all she taught me how amazing dogs really can be. She was a dream come true to me and was a once in a lifetime dog. She made my passion for dogs grow and my love for Rottweilers stronger.
I will never forget her quirky love for jets. She could be laying in the garage and come running out to bark at a streak in the sky. We never did understand it. Or the way she loved ice cream more than anything. If we went for a walk and started heading towards her ice cream place she'd pull me the rest of the way there. Or the way she'd go between your legs when she wanted a good ol' butt scratch. It often surprised guests when she did it the first time, and it was always funny watching Shadow trying to go between the legs of somebody shorter. I loved the way she hopped a little when she barked, or growled when you hugged her. We always said it sounded like she was saying "awwww". I loved it when she'd beg and to get your attention she'd suddenly look out the window, at nothing, and growl. You'd ask her who was out there and she'd stare intently at your food. Like, see, I'm defending your house, I'm a good girl now give me food. I'll never forget the first time we went to the lake when she was just a puppy and she fell in the water. She was terrifed after that and never wanted anything to do with swimming. Or she'd chase our 4-wheeler at the cabin through the woods. We'd make my dad slow down so she could ride in the trailer with us. She loved cuddling in front of the TV as well. If you had a blanket and a pillow and were on the floor you were fair game. Most times she'd end up with your entire pillow and most of the blankets by morning. She was never much into playing with toys but she did have a favorite. A little purple dinosaur that she absolutely loved. She liked to sit at the top of the hill in the backyard and bark at the people below. Even before we ever fenced it in, she wouldn't go past that hill. She also loved the winter when we went sledding. She'd chase us down the hill on our sleds and grab our gloves, it was her favorite winter activity. I could go on forever, she was the best all around dog, we could take her anywhere and do anything with her.
I already miss her more than words can describe. She will always be my cow dog and I will always remember the big lug.