Uprooted Magnolia

Our Last Ramble

Posted in Love, Photography, Uncategorized by leahyetter on June 17, 2011

Those who know me best know that I have had a fear of dogs for pretty much my whole life. As a kid I was chased by the neighbors Boxer.  When I jumped over the fence to run to the safety of mom, he got my shoe. Thankfully that was all he got. I’ve been knocked down, bitten, and just simply terrified by canines all my life. I know they can smell my fear .
When I moved out to Wyoming I of course knew it would be a big change in so many ways but I never thought I would enjoy the company of a dog.

Enter Shadow.

The border collie that worked cows ended up being my walking partner for my photo hikes around the ranch.

After some convincing, he would even tolerate walks in the snow.

If he fell into a snow drift, he’d pop back out, shake it off and continue on.

And even though he would occasionally chase off the ducks and deer, I always felt safe and enjoyed his company.

Earlier this week, he grew very ill and we had no idea what was going on. He went downhill so fast that the vet said there was no bringing him back. He went to dog heaven on Tuesday and I miss him terribly.
The hard part is not knowing what happened. Could have been a rattlesnake bite. Could have been cancer, heart failure. We just don’t know.

Once upon a time, the long shadow duo appeared almost daily on the ranch road.

Now it’s just the one.

So long my dear friend. You never jumped on me, bit me, licked me, or barked at me. You were my friend to the end. I will miss you more than I thought I ever could. Thank you for helping me overcome my fear and for being my companion on our rambles around the ranch. You taught me how to enjoy your species.

Love and Peace,


18 Responses

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  1. Nancy said, on June 17, 2011 at 10:01 am

    When you bring a pet into your life, you begin a journey……a journey that will bring you more love and devotion than you have ever known, yet also test your strength and courage. If you allow, the journey will teach you many things, about life, about yourself, and most of all, about love. You will come away changed forever, for one soul cannot touch another without leaving its mark.

    Along the way, you will learn much about savoring life’s simple pleasures… jumping in leaves, snoozing in the sun, the joys of puddles and even the satisfaction of a good scratch behind the ears.

    If you spend much time outside, you will be taught how to truly experience every element, for no rock, leaf, or log will go unexamined, no rustling bush will be overlooked, and even the very air will be inhaled, pondered, and noted as being full of valuable information.

    Your pace may be slower except when heading home to the food dish but you will become a better naturalist, having been taught by an expert in the field.

    Too many times we hike on automatic pilot, our goal being to complete the trail rather than enjoy the journey. We miss the details…the colorful mushrooms on the rotting log, the honeycomb in the old maple snag, the hawk feather caught on a twig. Once we walk as a dog does, we discover a whole new world.

    We stop…we browse the landscape, we kick over leaves, peek in tree holes, look up, down, all around. And we learn what any dog knows: that nature has created a marvelously complex world that is full of surprises, that each cycle of the seasons bring ever changing wonders, each day an essence all its own.

    Even from indoors you will find yourself more attuned to the world around you. You will find yourself watching summer insects collecting on a screen (How bizarre they are! How many kinds there are!) or noting the flick and flash of fireflies through the dark. You will stop to observe the swirling dance of windblown leaves, or sniff the air after a rain. It does not matter that there is no objective in this; the point is in the doing, in not letting life’s most important details slip by.

    You will find yourself doing silly things that your pet-less friends might not understand: spending thirty minutes in the grocery aisle looking for the cat food brand your feline must have, buying dog birthday treats, or driving around the block an extra time because your pet enjoys the ride. You will roll in the snow, wrestle with chewie toys, bounce little rubber balls till your eyes cross, and even run around the house trailing your bathrobe tie with a cat in hot pursuit – all in the name of love.

    Your house will become muddier and hairier. You will wear less dark clothing and buy more lint rollers. You may find dog biscuits in your pocket or purse, and feel the need to explain that an old plastic shopping bag adorns your living room rug because your cat loves the crinkly sound.

    You will learn the true measure of love…the steadfast, undying kind that says, “It doesn’t matter where we are or what we do, or how life treats us as long as we are together.” Respect this always. It is the most precious gift any living soul can give another. You will not find it often among the human race.

    And you will learn humility. The look in my dog’s eyes often made me feel ashamed. Such joy and love at my presence. She saw not some flawed human who could be cross and stubborn, moody or rude, but only her wonderful companion. Or maybe she saw those things and dismissed them as mere human foibles, not worth considering, and so chose to love me anyway.

    If you pay attention and learn well, when the journey is done, you will be not just a better person, but the person your pet always knew you to be – the one they were proud to call beloved friend.

    I must caution you that this journey is not without pain. Like all paths of true love, the pain is part of loving. For as surely as the sun sets, one day your dear animal companion will follow a trail you cannot yet go down.

    And you will have to find the strength and love to let them go. A pet’s time on earth is far too short – especially for those that love them. We borrow them, really, just for awhile, and during these brief years they are generous enough to give us all their love, every inch of their spirit and heart, until one day there is nothing left.

    The cat that only yesterday was a kitten is all too soon old and frail and sleeping in the sun. The young pup of boundless energy wakes up stiff and lame, the muzzle now gray. Deep down we somehow always knew that this journey would end. We knew that if we gave our hearts they would be broken.

    But give them we must for it is all they ask in return. When the time comes, and the road curves ahead to a place we cannot see, we give one final gift and let them run on ahead – young and whole once more.

    “Godspeed, my sweet friend,” we say, until our journey comes full circle and our paths cross again.

    -Crystal Ward Kent


  2. mary said, on June 17, 2011 at 11:32 am

    So sorry, Leah. Thinking of you…Mary


  3. misswhiplash said, on June 17, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Oh Leah, I am so sorry to hear about Shadow. I know what it is like to lose a friend and it makes it even worse when you do not know the reason why. My thoughts are with you dear friend.I grieve with you..

    May I just add that if Shadow has helped you with your fear of dogs then his life was not in vain. I know that you loved him dearly and that he can never be replaced but do consider , when you are ready, to give another dog the chance to show you love and affection and trust.

    I have 5 dogs at this moment big ones, small ones and medium. All are different in their personalities but I love them to bits. I have also had the heartache of losing dogs that were very dear to me but I have never forgotten them and I have planted rose bushes in their name, so each year they come back to bloom again

    my love to you, and my condolences



  4. Marie said, on June 17, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    I am so sorry Leah. Shadow was a true friend. I love my little dog so much – he is so loyal and is not happy unless he is by my side. I’m sure Shadow felt the same way about you. I LOVE the article Nancy submitted – so true. Take care Leah.


  5. mitambien said, on June 17, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Sooo sorry! I know what it is like to lose a great dog companion ..I have not ever been a cat person until we adopted two kittens and they have captured my heart and have taught me much. There are many dogs and cats that need a home. There will be another for you when it is the right time..


  6. Lenore Diane said, on June 17, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    What a wonderful tribute to your border collie friend. I am glad he was able to show you the kindness that comes from dogs like him. ~ lenore


  7. Stephanie said, on June 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Sweet, sweet Shadow. I’m so sorry, Leah! This breaks my heart, and I’m feeling for you. He certainly had a purpose, and did his job well taking care of our Leah. xxxooo.


  8. WhatLolitaEats said, on June 17, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    This is a beautiful post, my friend. I’m sorry Shadow has given up the ghost, but he’s happy in pooch heaven knowing that he schooled you on ow to love man’s best friend…


  9. bagnidilucca said, on June 18, 2011 at 3:52 am

    Poor shadow. It is so sad when a pet dies. My Tallulah (cat) died more than 3 years ago and I still miss her.


  10. melissakoski said, on June 20, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Oh Leah I’m sorry to read of your loss. It sound slike Shadow was a wonderful friend and companion. The first photo of the two of you is particularly adorable. Hugs to you during this sad time! ~ Melissa


  11. Becoming herself said, on June 20, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Your photos are beautiful; from two shadows to one is very poignant, saying more than words can.


  12. Victoria Bennett Beyer said, on June 21, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Oh, Leah, I am SO sorry to hear about Shadow. I know you two had a bond and that you are going to miss him so. 😦


  13. […] want to thank you for your kind words in the comments about Shadow. I’m starting to snap out of the blues while keeping busy with photo shoots and […]


  14. pinkunderbelly said, on June 22, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Losing a pet brutal. So sorry for your loss, and it is obvious that you loved Shadow; I’m certain that he knew that and felt your love. Dogs bring so much to our lives and hold a special place in our hearts. I still miss Maddy, my yellow lab, who died 5 years ago at age 15. Maybe she and Shadow are playing together in doggie heaven.


  15. jengilmer said, on June 28, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Hi Leah, I’m so glad you had the time with Shadow and that just by being himself, he showed you how wonderful dogs can be. I can’t imagine life without the joy of animal companions. As everyone has pointed out, it is heartbreaking when they die.

    Thinking about that made me come to a decision a few years ago. My cat has a weird habit of wanting to be petted right as I’m running out the door to work (usually late, I might add!). I decided that I was going to pet her every time she asked, if at all possible. It’s more important to me to either get up earlier to include petting time or just be late than miss those opportunities. I don’t want to have regrets when she’s gone someday. I’m aware of how nutty that sounds to non-pet people but what can I say? 🙂

    @Nancy — beautiful sentiments and absolutely right on.


    • leahyetter said, on June 30, 2011 at 12:58 pm

      Your words here not nutty! They are so sweet and so true. Thanks for writing me. I’ve only known Shadow for 2 years but it’s been so hard to let him go, we miss him a lot.
      It will be a sad, sad day though when Matilda passes on. She’s my cat I’ve had for 14 years. She’s been with me through thick and thin, bad breakups, the death of my mother, my career evolution, etc. She’s my girl wholeheartedly. And like you, I make sure she gets the headbutts, back and tummy scrubs, and the occasional tail pull just for good measure. 🙂


  16. wherewander said, on July 9, 2011 at 7:23 am

    I´m so sorry … I know how you feel … I lost my dog a month ago and I really miss her 😦


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