Today my youngest brother and his family said "goodbye" to a treasured family member, their Shih Tzu named "Shadow". It is a sad day in our orbit, but Shadow's time had come. The poor pup was wracked with skin issues, arthritis and other joint and muscle issues, and eye issues as he aged. Through all the pain and discomfort, he was always cute, cuddly, and pleasant.
Shih Tzus are born with many genetic challenges, not the least being so short and close to the ground that they might as well be considered a mud brush. I'll never forget his little rubber booties, or how he needed them to go for a walk on inclement days.
Shadow was purchased as a wee pup, and lived over 15 human years, an impressive feat for a dog (I never had one that lived over a decade). Shih Tzus are known to live for a long time, and Shadow gave our family a lot of great years. Evidently, the ratio of "seven human years to every dog year" is not accurate or correct. By the math put forth by the American Kennel Club, little Shadow lived around 90 human years!
Shadow lived a full, healthy life and he was well-taken care of by his family. You would seldom see my brother and his family without Shadow. His presence was a fixture at family events, and he was always a fun, energetic, patient, respectful, and loving dog.
Even with my cat, Jinx.
My brother told me once that he was given the name "Shadow" because he followed as reliably as a shadow trails behind us. When I lived with my brother and his family for five years, Shadow kept me company during some of my toughest times. He would often visit my room looking for treats and other handouts, but always stayed for the belly rubs and slobbery kisses. I had ample opportunities to capture shots of Shadow while I was learning how to use a DSLR camera, and he was a willing model.
Pets are treasured family members and deserve to be treated with endless love, care, and respect. Shadow will be greatly, deeply missed by all who knew him.
Lightspeed, Shadow. Thank you for being a source of light and love in my life.