I am dedicating this post to the love of my life, Shadow.

The fall of 2015 was a crappy one. I was finishing my last semester of school at Canisius but Chris was playing his first year of pro hockey in Evansville, Indiana. I made the trip to Evansville twice during that semester because long distance sucks, and I had enough of it while I was in Italy. I decided that after I finished this semester, I was going to move to Indiana for the next couple months while he finished the hockey season.

Chris granted me the news that he was going to be able to come back to Buffalo/Canada (where his family lives) for Christmas that year. Wahoooo. What he didn’t tell me was he was also bringing along a puppy that he had been “facetime hiding” from me for weeks.

When Chris arrived at my house from his drive back, he immediately told me to sit down in the kitchen to read a letter he had wrote me. Since my back was facing the other way and I was distracted by this letter, I had no idea that when I turned around I’d have a little black puppy on the floor.

I immediately started bawling my eyes out and smothering this dog with hugs. Nothing has really changed since.

Shadow is the kind of dog you only dream about. Chris had done a pretty good job with the training at a young age and he was naturally a pretty mellow dog. He was actually born on October 31, 2015 – Halloween day, which I find fitting because his name is Shadow and he is black. Chris named him Shadow when he first got him, for the obvious reasons. It is a very common dog name but as Shadow gets older, the more perfect his name has been fitting him. He truly is a shadow in every sense. I call him ‘Shad’ or ‘Shadow Baby’ most of the time.

He is the best cuddle buddy – he used to sleep with his head on my neck but now that he has gotten heavier and a bigger head, that position has changed into him just being my big spoon. He is a lover of water – ever since I took him on vacation to Hilton Head, South Carolina when he was five months old he has been obsessed with swimming. He is a lover of chasing birds and squirrels – and when he gets too close to them he starts barking at them like “hurry up run faster because I don’t know what I’d actually do if I caught you!” He is an old man – already has grey hairs and sleeps-in even when me and Chris are already out of bed. He is a mamma’s boy – take him to the dog park and all he wants to do is stand between my legs and play with me. His paws do that thing where they smell like a vacuum. He is a picky eater – ever since we took him to Germany he has been very decisive about what he wants and what he doesn’t want. He knows his toys by the name baby. Whenever we come home he has to have a baby in his mouth and then he prances around you and the room for a while while his tail wags and the baby hangs out of his mouth. He grunts when he is annoyed. He grunts when he is comfortable. To be honest – I never know what grunt means what. He always has had big ears – they overpowered his face when he was little and they are still the same size as when he was a puppy. He has a beard that we have to shave every so often because when he drinks water out of his bowl, it makes an instant waterfall onto our floor. His eyebrows get pretty long too. He loves joining me in the bathroom – in fact he insists on putting his paw on my leg while sitting on the toilet. He loves army crawling underneath our bed and hiding out there. He’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Oh and did I mention that he’ a labradoodle? He really doesn’t look like the by-the-books labradoodle but Chris said the lady he got him from, in Kentucky, said he was an accident dog. Her female black lab and her sisters male poodle accidentally got together and created Shadow and his sister. There were only two of them in the liter and Chris and I say every day that we should’ve gotten both of them. I wonder what she looks like now.

Anyway, the pictures I’m sharing here are pictures of Shadows first year of life. They are mostly Snapchat screenshots because that was how me and Chris communicated back then when he was on road trips and needed to see what me and Shadow were up to. 

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