• Leslie Montgomery

Loving Memories

Shadow pointing at a treed squirrel In Algonquin Park
Shadow In Algonquin Park

We once had a little dog. He was a mongrel or mutt and he was the handsomest dog I have ever seen or ever will. He was a mix of terrier and corgi with the dominant breed being Corgi. Although he was a smaller dog he wasn't as short and round as most corgi's. His legs weren't as stout and since his tail wasn't clipped back when he was young it stood upright and curled into his back. We loved him as parents would love their child and believe me, that love was returned in triplicate. His name was Shadow but I called him my little man.

Resting after a hike in an Algonquin Park trail.
Bob, Shadow & Me resting after a hike

Shadow helped to make up our family unit for many years. 16 years to be exact. When we learned early on that there would be no children in our lives I was fine with it because I have never been a baby person, yet that maternal thing was there even though I never would admit it. So Bob and I decided we would get a dog. I insisted that we rescue one rather than buy one from a store or breeder. I didn't care about what breed it was, as long as it was a smaller dog because we lived in the city at the time. We thought it cruel to keep a larger dog in an apartment.

Me & Shadow in the canoe somewhere in Algonquin Park
Me & Shadow in the canoe

Actually even though it never bothered Shadow, I always felt twinges of guilt not having a yard for him to run around in but when he was about 12 years old we finally moved from the apartment to a small house with a nice sized yard and he would not go outside unless I came out with him, not even to do his business.

Sitting on the cottage porch
Shadow and me hanging out

At first I thought he would grow into going out on his own but he never did. No matter what season of the year or what his urgency to go out was, he would sit by the door and wait for me. Turns out he just loved having me by his side as much as I loved having him by mine.

I could go on and on with stories of Shadow as we had 16 years of great adventures with that little dog. He might have been a Mama's boy but he was also a dog with a great sense of adventure and so all our free time was spent in Northern Ontario camping, hiking and canoeing. It was a great life and that was all because of Shadow. Anyways this post is not about those stories that I believe only Bob and myself can truly appreciate. This is about something I did earlier this week. You see, although they are all old photos now, just like any proud parent, I have a gazillion pictures of my little man. Every now and then we like to go through those pictures and remember certain events in our life with Shadow, but they are private memories so we keep these stories to ourselves. We keep his memory very much alive and probably always will in this same manner.

Last weekend we did just that. I pulled out the pictures on my computer that I had scanned years ago. They are bad scans of great photos but the memories are so beautiful. I got to thinking that I have never worked on one of Shadow's pictures to turn into art so I found one with as little background as possible and created this oil painting. I think it worked out quite well. Don't you?

As you can see I cleaned the gunk from his eyes as I always used to. They would water when running into the wind.

After creating this piece I proudly started to upload it to my stores to share with the world but as I was sizing him up to each of the products, which BTW he looked awesome on, I got to feeling odd about it all. I loved seeing his image on many of the various products and t-shirts, not to mention the canvas's but his memory is very important to me. I will always feel the urge to protect him and that urge kicked in when I thought of someone buying a product with my little man's image on it and not treating it with the respect he deserves. I could only trust Bob and myself to take care of him when he was alive and it seems that is still the way even though he has been gone for almost 2 decades.

So I quickly deleted the image from both stores but you see I am still so proud of my little dog so here I am sharing his images along with my declaration of a never ending love for this little dog who was my Shadow in more than just name. He literally was my shadow and when he passed it was the most painful event in my entire life. I still get a knot in my stomach when I think of that day. So does Bob.

People say we should get another dog and I have often come very close to telling Bob I want a dog again but for the longest time I felt I could never replace him. He was irreplaceable. Then we finally decided that we could get a larger dog that would be nothing like Shadow personality wise so we couldn't make comparisons. But that was around the time we found ourselves able to travel a bit more than in the past. We knew it wouldn't be fair to a dog to put him in a kennel and we certainly didn't want to give up that new found freedom so we chose to wait. Recently we have thought this pandemic would be more bearable with a dog around but we are so close to retirement and even though we had plans, COVID changed everything and we just don't know where we will end up in 3 years. We will wait until the future is more certain and then if it is feasible we will get ourselves a new family member. He will not ever replace Shadow though and I think if we choose another rescue like we did with him he would be very approving.

I suppose the whole world is waiting with baited breathe about the future but it will come and when it does I hope it is a good one. We have planned for so long about this but even if we have to tweak our plans we will be happy because we will be together. I can only hope wherever we end up there will be room for another dog. I know there will be plenty of space in our hearts for one even though there will always just be one "Little Man" in my life.

Thanks for baring with my ramblings of another time

All my best

Leslie :)