You were 16 weeks old when we picked you up. They kept you in a barn. It was hell trying to house train you, but eventually it happened. Oh and the chewing. First it was Brittney’s first baby shoes. Then a computer cord. Then the thick moving box that you found a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips. I didn’t think you’d make it through the night. I kept you up and moving and running. Trying to get you to puke it all back up. It worked. You made it through. Then the park and the eye infection and another trip to the vet.
Stealing full loaves of bread off the counter. And my favourite- stealing apples out of the grocery bag and then standing on the front porch wagging your tale with pride waiting for me to tell you ok, so that you could eat your prize.
The swimming in the lake. Having to take you on the paddle board or in the kayak, because if I didn’t, you’d swim and follow me everywhere. Sneaking you to work with me, cuddling on the front porch. And when I said kisses, you lovingly pushed your head into my face to let me kiss and kiss the top. The forceful nudges under my arm to make me pet you. Push my hand down with your paw to make me rub your chest. The exciting jumping and running when I came home from work. And the smiles you would give me for the simplest of reasons. The walks and always needing to stay right by my side and crying if the kids walked you and i fell too far behind. The worry when Elizabeth was out of your sight outside.
You were my daughter, not my pet. You are family. My beautiful black beauty. With your sweet soft brown eyes. Your hubby Moose is wondering where you are. I’m trying to keep him happy. But it’s so hard when I’m sad and missing you so much. Elizabeth misses you too. She cried as she was eating an apple.
You were almost 10, just 4 more months. I knew you were getting older. I knew your hips were starting to hurt. But i thought we’d have 2-3 more years. I didn’t think this ugly word called cancer would get you. I didn’t think it would be so aggressive. I wasn’t ready mama. I wanted more time. You were my girl. My sweet sweet beautiful girl. I love you so much. Now all I have are pictures, and a few videos. I wish I had more. I wish I had recorded your amazing bark that would shock everyone with how deep and serious it was. But you never barked unless it was important. You never cried unless it was serious. Now the sound is just a memory. I don’t want to loose that memory. I’m afraid one day I’ll for get that sound. I’m afraid one day I’ll forget the sound of wanting to come back in. I don’t want to forget the trust in your eyes when you had your first litter of pups and needed my help. I don’t want to forget the feeling of my hands running along your head, down your neck, and along your back. I don’t want to forget the feeling of that sweet soft spot under your ear. I don’t want to forget the feeling of you sniffing my face. I don’t want to forget the feeling of water dripping on my legs cause you just took a drink. I don’t want to forget how mild tempered you were. No fight getting a bath, or being brushed, or trimming your nails. You never snapped, or barred your teeth.
Your are irreplaceable my darling sweet Shelby Leigh.

Shelby was a black lab, she was my first puppy. Her world was me, and second was my daughter Elizabeth. Today we made the very hard choice to end her suffering. I laid beside her and in my arms. I rubbed her favourite spot and kissed her head all over as she left this world.
My heart broke.
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I’m in tears, I’m so sorry. How beautifully you described this precious girl and your relationship with her. All the things you want to remember, you described my feelings as well. Yes she is your daughter and you’re Mommy and the pain and grief is no different. It’s Epic.
We share your grief as we also walk this journey never wanted. You are definitely not alone, hugs,,,,,
Lynn, Tankie’s mom, forever
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I am so sorry. There is something special about labs. Their nature, their unconditional love, and their goofy mannerisms. The pain is almost unbearable, but it is a testament to how much we love them. We are all here for you. Keep reaching out, keep talking about her. When you are ready, I would love to hear some of your favorite memories.
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Hey my Condolences I know what it feels like to lose your best friend someone you loved so much, no one can ever really tell you the right thing once your precious baby has gone nothing will make you feel better, all you can do is cry it all out and with time let that raw wound you have heal, I just recently lost my Shih Tzu Max someone ran him over and all we had was 6 years which should’ve been a lot more I’ve broken down crying everyday since no matter where I am, it’s hard because it feels like a chunk of you is missing and all you want to do is have more time, but everything happens for a reason I keep telling myself now you aren’t suffering in this world it was hard looking at his body after the accident all I saw was my best friend there and I couldn’t do anything about it, what I find is helping me out is crying and thinking about the little things I loved from him, make a grave stone for her you can also volunteer at a shelter we have to try to pull through but they will forever and always have a home in our hearts.
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I am so sorry for your loss. I love the picture of you and Shelby, thank you for sharing. You describe your girl so beautifully; i'm sorry your time was cut short. Keeping you in my thoughts❤
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Thank you to all of you for your kind words.
I don’t want to vacuum my house. I don’t want every trace of her to disappear. I thought I’d be a little better today. I’m not. I think the shock is gone and the raw emotions are coming through.
My heart goes out to everyone who has had to deal with loose like this.
I’m going to play mama by boys to men. That was my nickname for her. I was the only one who called her that. Mama or Shelby baby.
My oldest daughter worked hard at getting a paw print for me. I will have that tattooed on me. Just trying to decide where.

But seriously thank you. You all have made me feel validated about my emotions.
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My girl had many sweet little names and Momie was one, Tankie baby was another. Thank you for reminding me.
I held Tankie’s head on my lap for 2 hrs before they picked her up from home. So I was able to spend time trying to take it all in. Breathing her scent in, burrowing my fingers in her thick velvet coat, never moving my hand that wrapped around her head and cradled her muzzle on my leg. Stretching my free arm from head to the thick fluffy tail never rested its slow wag from side to, casually stating ‘life is good’ . Her nose prints on her favorite window, the vacuum, her bed next to her siblings,,,,,
Write everything down even if it’s staggered and on whatever piece of paper is close. Even the things you think will never escape your mind. The way you feel as you walk from room to room and how you feel as you enter each, where she should be, where she was, her favorite snuggle places or place.
This grief can rob you, it’s a thief of the most significant little things that are her, and you
My girl, Tankie died Jan 3rd. She was mine from the day she was born. She is my daughter as much as my own are. The grief is no less.
But sadly, and gratefully, I’ve been reminded from people like you of the things I never thought I’d forget. Here, she is my Tankie but in life she had soo many names, did so many *Tankie* things that I’ve remembered from others telling there own stories of love. Keep it all.
I’ve recently started to write her story, on my iPad in the *notes* It will be from the day I found her and her sister as abandoned newborns with sticky dirt coated umbilical cords, to the night her head rested on my leg. When it’s done I’ll make her a memorial page on this forum and fill it with sweet and silly pictures and everything in between🐾
What you’ve already wrote is soo moving and beautiful and I plan on reading it again when I can cry in private
I’m sorry today has brought ‘raw’ and stinging grief, this loss has no real words to describe all it really is. It’s to large for them, hugs,,,,,
Lynn, Tankie’s mom, forever
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Jenn, I started to read your post at work yesterday and I just couldn’t. I’ve been so emotional yesterday and I knew reading it would just push me over the edge, I was right. I am so sorry for your loss of “mamma”. Reading about her brought back many memories of my boys, things I don’t want to forget. As I said goodbye to them for the last time I tried so hard to take it all in, their scent, the feel of their hair, their deliciously stinky paws. The pain is like no other. Here I am 3 and 2 months since they died and I’m still a mess. Time has dulled the pain and the tears come less often, but when they come they still come hard.

My son got married this past April and the mother-son song we danced to was “momma” by boys 2 men, love the song ❤️❤️❤️. The trip for his wedding was the last long road trip I took with my babies, I’ll never regret having taken them with me. A lot of people criticized me and told me they would just get in the way but I didn’t care and I’m so glad I took them with me.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to go on about me. I’m glad you found this forum. Keep writing about your beautiful girl. They are our children in fur coats.
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Marlen wrote, "Time has dulled the pain and the tears come less often, but when they come they still come hard."

Definitely yes!! I don't find myself crying as often, but when I do.... it's hard to believe!

I am so sorry the days have been rough. Be gentle with yourself. I'm glad you have your baby's pawprint; I wish I would've asked the vet for an ink one in addition to the clay on I received. Thinking of you!!
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I made it through another night. She is the first thing I think of when I wake in the morning. She is what I see when I close me eyes.
We went grocery shopping, and for a moment I felt normal. When we came home I broke down again. Moose is looking for you. He’s clinging to me like crazy. He doesn’t want to go in the back yard. I’m trying to make his days feel special.
I know she’s with me. I know her spirit is still here. I bit the billet - I vacuumed. But not her bed. I’m not ready for that. But this morning as I moved the new bag of treats I bought moose there was a big pile of her fur. And of all the things I moved to put away, this was the only spot I found it. I know you... jealous Moose is getting a treat, and you want one too. So I gave you one. Moose enjoyed it on your behalf.
Keep watching over us dear sweet Shelby. Moose is going to need you as he adjusts to you not being here physically.
Oh how I could hug you just one more time.
Love you mama. So so much.

And thank you guys, and thank you to this site. This is truely what I need. Somewhere to let out my feelings. To write it out. Where others can read. We can share in our grief. So thank you again.
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Another day.. I thought this one would be better. I thought work would be an easy distraction. I was wrong. The first thing when I got in my office is I saw some of your shedded fur remaining from one of the times I sneaked you to work.  I loved having you hear. I loved taking you on a walk to the river and letting you play fetch into the river.  I loved taking you for a walk around the large property, and you winning because Moose was too far a head and you wanted to go too, but at the same time you didn't want to leave my side. I loved you walking through the puddles instead of around them.  
It's hard not to cry. 
We took Moose to the dog park yesterday. I could hardly hold it together.  He was off.  He was distracted, letting other dogs take his ball. And when it was time to leave he didn't want to. Not like him to try so strongly to resist a command. It almost seemed like he wanted to have fun, but he didn't seem right with you not there.  
Elizabeth couldn't hold it together.  She's remembering everything about you, Shelby. She cried when she got in the truck, remembering you sitting in front of her. She cried walking to the dog park, remembering you walking right by her side.  She cried in the dog park, remembering how you wouldn't leave me alone and sat with me at the picnic table instead of playing.
She says everywhere she looks, she sees you. Things like her sister's black backpack, from the corner of her eye, she mistakes for you and then cries because it's not you.  She's only 8 years old. She's never known life without you.
I found the pictures of you and her when she was just a year and a half.  I remembered how amazing you were with the little ones. Elizabeth especially.  You let her do anything to you. She would sit on you and snuggle you and smother you in hugs.  She was special to you, wasn't she? Just like the whinning you would do on the front porch when you couldn't see her.  And then I would tell you ok, go find Elizabeth, and off you would go to be by her side.  And the way Elizabeth's face would light up with a huge smile on her face.

Waiting at the bus stop for Elizabeth to come.  And when the bus would come you would sit by my leg and whine until she got off, and then you could wait for her to greet you. Then we would all walk home together.

The random poops on the sidewalk while we were going for a walk. Most dogs would do it on the grass, but not you. Always in the middle of the sidewalk. You silly girl.  We should have gone for more walks.  But in the winter I was worried about you being too cold or the salt on the sidewalks hurting your paws.

Winter.. you loved winter jackets. If the kids left a coat on the floor, it became your bed.  No matter how small.  Just like pillows, blankets, or even towels.  But winter jackets you seemed to like most of all.  Well, with exception of the couch when we weren't around.  You knew I and the girls didn't mind you on the couch, but grumpy Eric did.  When he wasn't around, it was a free for all, but you knew when he was home to keep down.  But when we were sleeping, that was a different story. You loved to make your bed on the couch.  I never gave you trouble for it.  I never gave you trouble for much these last few years.

One of the stories Brittney shared when she last visited with you was when she was making her lunch for school one morning, and she made the mistake of walking away with the sandwich still sitting on the counter. She started asking who took her sandwich and getting a little frustrated. I asked her where she had left it, and then we figured out you had helped yourself to a second breakfast.  The guilt was on your face.  All I could do was tell brit to make sure she didn't leave her sandwich out like that again.  

She also remembers the first time she met and saw you. I remember now, I didn't tell the girls we were getting you. I wanted it to be a surprise.  You came home from school, opened the door and a little black puppy came running out to greet you. You told me you were so happy because you guys wanted a puppy so bad.  I'm so grateful she remembered that moment and shared it with me. She was only 5 years old when she first met you.

I remember the day we picked you up.  I remember driving home with you on my lap and talking about what we were going to name you. Eric wanted the typical lab names like Molson, midnight etc.  I had fallen in love with the name Shelby.  I didn't think I would give birth to another little girl, so I wanted to give you that name instead.  Luckly Eric agreed with the thinking that we were naming you after a Shelby Mustang GT. I let him think that, knowing full well the truth of it all.

I'm worried about Moose. I think he's starting to understand that you are gone.  He was looking for you, and I told him you were gone.  He stopped and came over and snuggled into me.  We left him a treat today, in hopes that it would keep him busy, and his mind off of you. It's his first day home alone in the house without you or one of us home with him.  Amber keeps him in bed with him every night. He snuggles his face into hers while he sleeps.  He does the same with me all over the house. When we sit outside he has to be right up against me.  When we are in the house he has to have his head pressed into me on some part of my body, or he can't sleep.  He misses you mama.

I've never felt grief like this before.  With my own grandfather, I didn't feel like this.  That's how much you meant to me.  I'm sitting at my desk at work trying to fight back the tears constantly. I'm wondering when things will start to feel ok again.  But if someone were to ask me if I could turn back time and not have you come into my life, I would say no way. You gave me so much.  You brought me so much joy.  You made my heart melt with a dip of your head and that sad look you would give when you didn't the level of attention you wanted. I would always come right over to take that sad look away.

Today will be the first day I come home from work and won't see you're beautiful face looking out at me through the front window. I won't see you standing beside Moose as I open the front door with your tails wagging so hard that your bums wiggle with it.  And then the celebratory run to the dining room, while Moose waits by the food, you would run back and forth to me to get some pets, then back to your food area, and then back to me again.  All the while you would have the beautiful happy smile. Geez, doesn't that memory put a smile on my face, and then the tears come knowing I won't get that anymore.

I miss you mama.  I put your bed next to mine.  Eric said we have to clean it. I said no. He doesn't understand.  I think he's trying to push me to let you go.  I know that's his way of dealing with it, but not mine, and not Elizabeth's.  We still need to feel you around us.  My heart hopes that no matter how many times I clean the house, that you fur still finds it's way around us.  You were special. One in a million. I love you.

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It`s been 2 weeks mama. 2 weeks today.  I thought I was doing ok.  So much that I was feeling guilty.  I shouldn't have been ok so quickly.  But apparently, I was just being good at distracting myself from your absence.

Yesterday I broke down.  I was on my way to work and I just couldn't stop the tears.  You know it isn't easy to drive while crying.  Then again that night I couldn't stop it again.  I keep running everything through my head over and over. What if the vet was wrong. What if we could have saved you. How could it have happened so fast?  Then I look at the last pictures we took of you and I know they were right.  But I wish they weren't.

When I sit outside I still wish you were beside me.  When I think of all those times when we were out and you refused to leave my side, I wonder, were you trying to warn me.  Were you trying to let me know that you didn't have much time left and you wanted to be with me as much as possible?

I've learned even more about labs since you were taken from this world.  I've learned how you have higher pain tolerance than most dogs. I've learned that you will hide the pain so that you can still give me joy.  Shelby Baby, it breaks my heart to think for once second that you hid your pain from me.  I hope that I gave you happiness. I hope that you know that you were loved.  I miss my kisses.  I miss your head pushing into my face. I miss that sweet affection you showed me. 

Moose seems to be doing better.  I got him his own bed.  He loves to sleep with Elizabeth every night now.  We have a routine. He comes upstairs with us when it's time to tuck the girls in, he waits for the blanket to be placed on Elizabeth and hops up on the bed.  Then I have to lay on the bed with both of them, and he gets his nighttime cuddles before I tuck them both in for the night.  We bring his bed into her room each night so that I know he isn't sleeping on the floor.  He stays with Elizabeth in her bed for a while and then retreats to his bed for the rest of the night.

Last night Elizabeth slept in my bed, so I brought his bed in there.  The silly boy didn't bother to even go near his bed, instead, he found as many of my clothes on the floor that he could, brought them in a pile and slept on top.  So yes mama, he's still a silly boy.  He still doesn't like to go in the backyard.  The girls often have to go out there with him to encourage him to go pee.  He still misses your presence when he goes out there. I hope you are looking over him.

Today is a hard day.  Today the tears are winning.  Today the pain is raw. And today I will work on more coping skills to help me get through the day.  Today I will find a way to celebrate your life so that I can allow the emotions to feel valid, and to let them flow. Today I will grieve you some more my sweet girl.
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Your post made me cried. I am so sorry for your loss. I know exactly how you feel. I'm still mourning the loss of my Eddie. My condolences, I hope you will find comfort in Shelby's memories.
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Some days are definitely harder than others; it's crazy how a memory, smell, etc, can just sneak up on us. I love you sweet Moose found all that laundry to lay on!! Thinking of you. ❤
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