“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine….
you make me happy when skies are gray.
You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you…
please don’t take my sunshine away.”
While the complete lyrics to this song refer to a romantic relationship, my mother always sang it to us when we were children, and as we learned the words ourselves, we sang it together as a family. It’s played in my head throughout my life, and most recently I’d applied it to our beautiful Sheba. Sheba always had a sunny smile, and as she battled cancer, we knew eventually she would be taken away.
Obviously, Sheba was not our only sunshine. Cricket, Luke and Samantha are now shining through for us when we need them, and we’ll all get through this loss together. For today, I don’t want to write about the sadness of our loss; if you haven’t yet, you can read more about Sheba’s passing here: “A Golden Sun Has Set”. I want to share some of the joys she brought to our lives. Memories give us comfort, and as I looked back through old photos of Sheba, they did exactly that for me, along with bringing a much-needed smile to my face. Sheba would like that.
In her later years, Sheba became my easy dog. She was the one that I walked the most, not just because she needed it more, but I could take her anywhere without worries of reactions to strangers or loose dogs, unlike her siblings. My friend Sheryl reminded me though that Sheba was not always easy! I remember when there was a time I thought of her as our “wild child”.
When Sheba was a puppy and young dog, she was one of 4 and 2 of them were the same age as her. Yes, we were crazy with 3 puppies at once! When people came to visit, Sheba wanted to do everything she could to get attention, so she was a jumper. We worked hard with her to break her of the habit, and though it wasn’t easy, eventually she learned. Once she did, it was the cutest thing. She would stay seated, but you could see her quivering with the desire to jump, yet holding herself back!
She was also a puller when we walked, making walks challenging. She got better, but in her later years, and even after her cancer diagnosis, she still had her moments! She was always high energy and excitable, but that was part of her happiness and charm.
One of the things I loved most about Sheba was the fact that she never really grew up. Until her last days, she still enjoyed playing ball, digging holes, and destroying stuffed toys. Bringing Luke into the household three years ago brought the puppy back out in her even more. She played often with Luke, indoors and out. These posts are prime examples: Sheba’s Tips for Living Life to the Fullest: Be a Helper, and Tip #2: Play Like a Puppy.
Supper time is far too quiet now without her. She and Luke had a routine. Luke would run around gleefully when the Dadz started dishing out supper. Sheba would wait a bit, and then she would get up and start chasing Luke around and barking at him! Now, with her gone, neither Luke nor Cricket quite know what to do with themselves, and supper time is just not the same. It’s one of the times we still see Cricket looking for her sister.
Swimming was another of Sheba’s favorite activities. I tried to take her as much as possible, especially this last summer: Scouting for Sheba’s First Swim of the Summer. I think she could have stayed at the pond all day swimming after her ball or Wet Wubba. It always made me laugh that as much as she loved swimming, when it came to their own kiddie pool in the yard, she would never lie down in it, she would only stand. I often poured water over her to try to cool her off more!
It was my dream when we moved to our new home to put in a pond that she and Luke could swim in. Because things went bad with the sale of our first home – we had to make some expensive repairs in order to sell – we just didn’t have the money to do that this year. What a dream come true it would have been for her to be able to swim daily in her own pond! I hope we can still put that pond in one day, and I already plan to name it “Sheba’s Pond” if we do.
Sheba was loving, sweet, happy, and she was a fighter. She stayed strong through two surgeries to remove her cancer, and she fought to stay with us for over another year after the second. Other than a few scares along the way, for the most part she felt good and stayed active and happy through it all. That was the greatest gift she gave us: the gift of sharing her life and bringing joy to ours for as long as she possibly could.