Life with Shayna


January 7, 2008: Shayna’s sixth birthday; she gets a new toy!

It is hard to believe that it was six years ago since Shayna was brought into this world… a fact that I thank my lucky stars for, every single day.

So today, we spent the afternoon in a park… in the middle of winter, it was 70 degrees and sunny today… so the universe certainly did its part to make this day special! (Last year at this time, I think we were under about 8″ of snow!)

Just a few weeks ago, Santa Claus brought Shayna her new favorite toy, which you’ll see here… “Monkey…” and now, she has another toy that’s become her second favorite… “HedgeHog!”

See part II of our birthday outing here, in which Shayna puts her toys away — by name!!!


June 1, 2008: Shayna’s first swim of the year

This is one of the real high points of Shayna’s life. The whole drive up to the lake, Shayna knows where we’re going – no matter how long it’s been since we’ve been there (in this case, months)… and she is whimpering and whinnying the whole way, with her head on my left shoulder, or out the window as we roll along. I ask her, “Shayna, where do you think we’re going?” and she replies with a howl… it’s so cute.

But of course, her first love is chasing down her tennis balls… guess she needs to work up a bit of an appetite for that cool, cool lake water.

One more cool bonus in this video: In the first few seconds, you can also see how Shayna’s progressing with understanding “One ball, two ball”… knowing whether I want her to get one of her tennis balls or two.

So, without further explanation, here ya go… Shayna’s first, invigorating swim of 2008:


April 12, 2009: Our 7th anniversary

I cannot believe it’s been seven years since I met and adopted Shayna, as a little 12 pound bundle of black fur.

How fearful yet optimistic I was, being that I was going to be responsible for another living creature. Yet look how it all turned out, after those months of hunting for the perfect first dog for me. Thanks again to the folks out there who were so encouraging before and after our adoption (you know who you are).

Here, you get to see some of Shayna’s new toys and new tricks – namely, her growing ability to put ring-type toys onto a “pole” (below). I’m all but convinced that there’s practically nothing she can’t learn to do.

She doesn’t do as well here as she does in our normal, indoor environment, where we’ve been doing this work for months because it’s been so dog-gone c-c-cold outside!!! This is the first time we’ve done outdoor training in a very long time. But she does pretty good… and will get better the more we do this outside.

She is my angel. I don’t know where I’d be without her.


Speaking of which, sometimes when we were curled up in front of the fireplace during the winter, I’d ask her if she knows where angels come from. She’d look at me with those bright chestnut eyes of hers. Then I’d point up to the ceiling and tell her, “That’s where angels come from.”

And she’d look up to the ceiling. Then I’d tell her, and point to her and ask, “Do you know that you’re an angel? That you’re my angel?”

And she’d be like… “Hm… sure wish I knew what you were talking about…” but she sorta got it, and I’d get my face-full of kisses.

That’s what I mean when I say, no matter how difficult and frustrating my life got during this period, I always felt like I had an angel with me – because I did.

“I used to look at [my dog] Smokey and think, ‘If you were a little smarter you could tell me what you were thinking,’ and he’d look at me like he was saying, ‘If you were a little smarter, I wouldn’t have to.’”
— Fred Jung Claus