Meeting my new friend, August 2001
Shay with his new mommy, August 2001
After getting him back to Connecticut and to the vet, we learned he was about 8 months old. Of course, we had no way of knowing the exact day he was born, so we decided that he would have the same birthday as Meg's grandmother, January 14th. The vet also told us that Shay had every parasite they tested for, and might have lasted another month on his own in the woods. For us that was just confirmation that we had done the right thing by bringing him home. And it might seem strange, but I've always thought he understood just how lucky he was that we came along when we did. Of course, we were very lucky too.
In the truck, summer 2014
Celebrating Shay's 16th birthday, January 2017
Little brother Zachary looking after Shay - March 16, 2017
The friendly demeanor and strong spirit he'd always had were still there, but his body was failing him. Although he was quite obviously in steady pain, he never made a sound that would indicate it. We had to carry him up and down the stairs, he had difficulty walking and a very hard time just going from standing to lying down. As much as it broke my heart to let him go, I just couldn't stand to see my boy suffer any more. He left us for the rainbow bridge on Saint Patrick's Day 2017.
I picked up his ashes yesterday, along with the paw print in clay. Meg will use some of the ashes in her garden (where Shay was always sniffing around), to mix with the soil as she plants some annuals. Come August, we'll also spread some at the spot where we met him 16 years ago, to bring the story full circle.
See you down the road, Shayboy. I'll always miss you. Thank you for being the greatest best friend I've ever known.