Shadow’s Short Tale …by Zilla

As most of you may know my person (aka new mom) Service Dog Shadow passed away on April 18, 2017. Indeed, Shadow was and always will be in our hearts. Me and Shad used to Zilla tailplay before she got real sick. There will never be another Shadow. In honor of Shadow, my new mom wants me to leave the blog as is “Shadow’s Short Tales.”

It is time to introduce myself. My name is Zilla  (Hebrew for “Shadow”) and my tail is longer and is a different color. I will be writing on Shadow’s blog and as you may know dogs have different characters and skills. Shadow was a great Service dog.  I was going to try to walk in her paw prints but my new mom told me not to try. I am a good Service Dog.  But I am very different than Shadow. Besides I could never fill Shadow’s paw prints, my paws are too big. My tail is yellow and long. I had trouble trying to hold it still for my mom to take  a picture for you — Shadow’s friends and my new friends.

I want to thank you for following Shadow’s Short Tale.  I hope you will also enjoy my longer tales of a different color.  Shadow’s Short Tale was indeed too short but she lived life to the max and served my mom with Joy. We thank you Shadow for your short life that touched many lives forever.  We love you and miss you!

 

Z4

ZILLA

 

 

 

When Your Tail Has No Reason to Wag

Do you ever have those days or those times when you just lack the zip a do da? A time when there is nothing to wag about?  The days you know that your person is hurting and all you can do is stay close.

Sometimes there seems to be nothing to wag about.  Yeah there are times my tail hurts. More often I sense my mom doesn’t feel well. Once in awhile there is a sadness I sense in her. Like she lost something… for a dog it is not difficult to sense this sadness. There are days where I know it takes everything my mom has to just walk what she calls “Brenda’s style.” Sometimes mom is literally so exhausted she drags tail from the time she gets nowagdayup. I know sometimes she gets up just because of me…to let me out, give my medication and feed me. I know on these days mom longs to just go back to bed but stays up and does all she can to stay strong. I’ve licked her tears away as she cries from the pain and the lost…the loss of function, the loss of ability, the sense she is losing the battle against the all the things gone wrong in her body. These are no wag days. I linger near her and she hugs me tight.

Then I watch in amazement as my mom regroups…sometimes it takes a day or two, sometimes it takes just a little while but my mom will regroup. It is not physical strength but a strength from a different source. I sense it. Her Source of Strength is not in doctors, pills or portions but my mom strength comes from Some One she calls Her Master and LORD Jesus Christ and the Hope infused in her can not be pushed down by any circumstance for long….as her Master comes to her aid sort of like I come to hers to comfort and help.

When my mom taps into her Source it makes my day. Though I still see her struggle, still in pain and small things are difficult…there is a JOY in her that brings that strength back.  This alone chases my no wag days away. My tail maybe little but when my mom has her “purpose and determination” back, boy can my tail wag!

May you never have no wag days. But if you do- I hope you have a source to get your wag back. Nothing is as great as that joy that bubbles up on the inside when my tail has no other choice but to …wag. 🙂

But I Want It Now

even the Shadow knows

Life as a Service Dog has it’s good days and blah days. Blah days are not really blah blah just not exciting as other days. I love going where people acknowledge me. They tell my mom, “Ahh, what a beautiful dog.” My mom says thank you and we move on.

There are times I just don’t want to DO what’s right anymore. Like why do I have to sit to get my favorite Kong? I want it NOW! Why do I have to wait to go through the door? I want to go out first! It is not often when I get this attitude of I WANT IT and I WANT IT NOW but when I do and my mom knows I am in the selfish mode; she takes action. She makes me do a series of things I don’t want to do until I get my attitude right. Geez, I seldom get away with getting my way. I may a time or two but it seems even when I do get my way now; it makes my heart a little harder to hear my mom’s voice. It is like the dog in me takes over and I want my way- NOW more than ever. I am not the sweet service dog I usually am, my demeanor changes. I feel like I am becoming self centered like cats are. I need professional help at these time….MOM, help me!

My mom always steps in before things get out of paws. Amazing what a little more discipline, kennel time and training will do to knock the “BUT IT WANT IT NOW” out of me. I don’t like that disobedient feeling, it bothers my gut and the vet says I have a tender tummy anyway. And my selfishness can hurt my mom or me or both, like when I try to crowd through the door first. I could get run over, my mom may fall…there are consequences to my selfish wants.

So here is the key to all my fellow canines who serve their Masters. When the “BUT I WANT IT NOW” urge rears its ugly head, think of how you are acting just like the self-centered cat. That is the worse feeling a dog can have besides knowing one is going to get discipline by mom.

The real beauty is– in time my Master usually gives me what I want anyway. But it is not my time it is in the Master’s due time. It is awesome serving a Master who loves me so much that I do get what I want when it is the Master’s will at the right time.

 

 

 

A Wandering Tale

Have you ever had a day, a week, or a month when you simply “dragged tail?” Though I don’t have much of a tail to drag it feels like it’s dragging. I can’t quite put my nose on it but something is missing. Sometimes I don’t feel right, but I don’t feel wrong. I get real whiney and my mom doesn’t understand me. To be honest as a dog can be; I don’t understand either. nose

My mom looks at me with concern. I get stuck in this zone of “The Wandering Tale,” going nowhere but wanting to be everywhere. Doing nothing but longing to accomplish something.  You think dogs don’t wanna work? We do. My mom will tell you I do much better with structure and boundaries. Most of the my wandering tale is just because I lost focus of that One thing I am to do.

I think I found the cure for the wandering tale. It is to stay focus on my Master and her will for me. If I start looking at squirrels, chasing the cat, bark excessively because I feel like it,  I end up losing focus on my real purpose. This actually makes me more anxious and out of sorts.  A distracted Service dog who wanders in thought or deed is a potential danger to the Master’s Service. One of my commands is to “look” which is the same as focus.

Don’t waste your time stuck in a wandering tale whether in thoughts or deeds -going nowhere. There is a great purpose for you that will impact your world for the good. Stay focus on your Master’s will  and just do it. Life is short, especially for a dog. Why do cats have 9 lives, life just isn’t fair! So live your life with laser like focus, fiery passion and a sole purpose. I know my Master deserves no less.

When The Vet Can’t Fix It

Things have been tough lately for me and my mom. I know when she hurts but it is I who has been in a lot of distress lately. My mom struggles with Multiple Sclerosis and she tells me the doctors “manage” the disease but there is no cure. Unfortunately, there is no cure for me. I’ve already had many tests and more tests would pinpoint exactly what is going on with me. But my Vet, Dr. Heather has primary tests results with reason to believe it is a life-long condition with no cure. We are working on keeping the symptoms managed. The exact diagnosis and radical treatment would be super expensive and the treatment could be harsher than the disease.

Dr.Heather and Shadow

I love my Vet!

So what’s a dog to do? Number one: I take my medication and sleep more. Much of the time I seem “normal” to people but my mom sees my pain. I have good days and play hard then and I am still a good working Service dog for the most part. I love my job. I love my mom. Lately I wash away my mom tears as she hugs me more and tells me she is sorry. This I do not understand because she hasn’t hurt me.

My mom tells me Ancient Wisdom says there is a time for everything. There will come a time when my time is up; whatever that means. And there will be a time when my mom’s time is up also. My mom calls this time simply Heaven and that we will hurt no more.

But like my mom who has and is fighting a tough battle to keep on keeping on; so will I. With the help of my Vet, Dr. Heather and my mom- I will continue to fight until I can fight no longer. After all, there is much work to do and my mom needs me. We need each other.

If you are in a battle of any sort, fight on and never give up. We are doing all we are able to do. There will be a time when the “time” will come for all of us. For me and my mom that time is called Heaven.

Cat Naps

Boy, lately I have been dog tired, no pun intended. I have been to Dr. Heather, my vet a few times. I get real nervous in there but she is very nice. I have been taking more naps than the cat…well, almost.

I don’t understand why I don’t feel very well. My mom is concerned about me and gives me lots of hugs. They say dogs live in the moment. Well, sometimes I hardly can wait until the next moment and hope it is a better moment than this one is.

Cat Napping

Cat Napping

My mom says too often we take “time” for granted. We think we will always have each other in our lives. What me and my mom now do is cherish the time we have together. A dog’s life is short compared to human years and my mom says the human life is compared to a “vapor” that is here and soon disappears. So I am off to snuggle with my mom and nap. But I wanted to encourage you to appreciate and cherish each day with those you love. And take time for cat naps. It is the only valuable thing the cat has taught me but it is a good thing. I love cat naps.

The Cat giving lessons how to cat-nap.

The Cat giving lessons how to cat-nap.

 

The Dog That Talks Too Much

Any one who knows me personally knows I have a big bark and am extremely vocal. My mom says I talk to much! Can you believe it? I can be quite the whiner at times. I sometimes have a reason, like my tail hurts or I don’t feel good. Sometimes though I just like to hear myself whine and it gets my mom’s attention.

Me with my mouth open.

Me with my mouth open.

Besides whining I know the language of “woo-woo-wooing.” I think I am cute when I do this but after awhile I wear on my mom’s last nerve. What do I woo-woo about? I like to hear myself “talk” and it gets attention from others. I have learned though it will also get me “kennel time” if I am persistent in the attention seeking “talking.”

My mom believes in “less talk, more walk” meaning to get on with the business of service and helping others rather than talking about it. She told me when she talks to much she usually puts her foot in her mouth. I can put my foot in my mouth but I really can’t see my mom doing that! Over all we live a quiet life. I am learning to talk to hear myself talk has little value…it is just idle noise.

I am continually learning to let my (words) woo-wooing be few. Action speaks louder than woo-wooing (words). My mom told me she continually relearns this valuable truth. Our motto is less talk, more walk. What do your actions speak of?

There’s No Place Like Home

Inspirational message - Home Is Where The Heart IsIt was a cold and dark morning when we went out the front lobby doors of the apartment complex. I could sense something was “up.” To my utter shock my mom handed me over to her sister while she got in another car that sped away,–without me. I went to another house while my mom went to the hospital for out patient surgery.

Now, I did have fun at where I went. I got to play, play, play with a little dog named Roxy. We had a blast out running in the fence in back yard. The snow was fresh and cold and it was just a great time. But in my heart of hearts I missed my mom and didn’t understand why we were apart. Later that day I got to go home and reunited with my mom. Boy, was I happy and so was she. We are not made to be apart. It is difficult on both of us.

The next day one of my mom’s friend came over. She ask my mom if she could take me for a walk. I like walks. So I left my mom and go with her friend. We walk and walk and then I saw the car parked out in the road. We walk over there and my mom’s friend opened up the door, dropped the leash and said “load up!” Not on your life! In a split second I took off towards home, through the woods and across the parking lot. I zoom up to the apartment complex double doors and bark to let my mom know a “dognapping was in progress” and I was the dog who didn’t want to be “napped.!”I wasn’t going to leave my mom again. My mom’s friend drove up and parked and let me in. I was sooooo glad to be home. (Turns out my mom’s friend was just moving her car from the road to the parking lot but how’s a dog to know?)s

The saying is “there’s no place like home.” Home for this Service Dog is not a certain building. Home is with my person, wherever she is -that’s Home to me.  No matter where I am in this world, I am not Home unless I am by my Master’s feet. There’s no place like Home!

Tale of No Regrets

Dog gone it! Ouch! Once again nerve pain shoots through my little stub of a tail. Whoever cropped my tail did it wrong and it hurts so bad. It has causes me to bolt which easily can trip up my person. This little tail may force me into early retirement.myShadow
My mom talked to my vet and there are no options other than a medication which is helping somewhat. But the damage is done. My mom used to get so mad at whoever was responsible. I almost could sense her blood pressure going up as I know when I hurt, she hurts.

We are doing all we can to help my little tail. There is no real fixing it. So many things in this world cannot be fixed. We cannot undo bad decisions or poor behavior or choices we have made. My mom hates the phrase “it is what it is.” The truth is also what we make of it. We decided to choose to live each day without regrets even when the tail hurts. Regretting it is cropped does nothing. Regret is like a vast empty wasteland. Visiting this place consumes our time and energy and doesn’t solve anything.quiet

 

Do you have any regrets? We decided move on from regrets to being thankful for what we have. Yeah, my tail hurts at times and my mom prays for me and gives me my medication. We literally are not looking back. We challenge you to not look back with regret but fix your eyes on the good things that lie ahead.

Whine and Bars

Yesterday I was behind the bars a long time. I have reasons to whine. Some are valid like tail pain. Some are not valid reasons. Yesterday I just wanted my own way. Yeah, I know I am a professional Service dog but… I wanted more attention and wasn’t getting it. My mom didn’t give me my special treat, she did not take me out to play in the snow. I had reason to whine!!

Well, I thought I had good reason to whine. My mom didn’t think I did. She told me to knock off the whining. She even gave me plenty of warnings to stop it. But I wanted my way because I was entitled to it. Well, so I thought. She put my whiney tail in the kennel and there I stayed for a couple hours.

Eventually I stopped whining, laying quietly behind the bars. I had a lot to think about.whineShadow

I learned being whiney keeps me limited and confined in the kennel.  I could not enjoy the freedom I usually have nor be as close to my mom as I wanted to be. I could not get a drink or earn a treat by doing tasks. I remembered spending unending days and nights in the kennel along with many other homeless dogs.

When the kennel door was finally opened I became oh, so happy!! I have a lot to be thankful for. I have a home, a great job and a mom who loves me. Being thankful sets the captives free!