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Shatzi and Kelly Moore have been together for 16 years, and they are still living quite the life.
There’s something so special about having a dog for his or her entire life. You know each other inside and out, you’ve formed special routines and rituals, you’ve supported each other through life’s ups and downs, and you’ve developed a deep bond that only time can build. Kelly Moore and her devoted pup Shatzi certainly have that in spades, and after 16 wonderful years together, they’re still going strong. Here’s her sweet tribute to her longtime companion.
“If I’m being completely honest, it may have been a bit selfish of me to get a puppy while I was working full-time and finishing my bachelor’s degree, but I yearned for the companionship and unconditional love that a furry friend provides. I was raised with dogs, so it seemed only natural.
My search started at my local shelter. First visit, nothing. Second visit, nothing. Then, on the third visit, I spotted a Cocker Spaniel mom with six puppies. Although the shelter couldn’t, or wouldn’t, tell me when they might be adoptable, I was told that I should return the next day. I arrived when they opened the next morning, and eyed the cutest little black and white puppy. She was the only girl of the bunch. I’d never had a boy dog, and had heard horror stories about male behavior. Unfortunately, that little girl didn’t seem ready to leave her mom. When I turned around, a puppy as white as snow was sitting in my purse. He was telling me to take him home, and I did.
I was so lucky that Shatzi chose me. I learned that all of those stories about boy dogs were untrue, at least in his case. I also learned that although his mom was a Cocker Spaniel, his dad must have been a Spitz. Shatzi learned quickly, was eager to please, and was the loyal, cuddly companion I wanted.
After finishing my degree, we went to work in Washington, D.C., and after I married, we moved to Germany. I was concerned about the trip, but after a letter of clearance, a microchip, and a dose of something to help Shatzi sleep, we were off to Europe. Shatzi and I enjoyed our first snowy winter, something you do not get in Florida.
A few months later, with my baby on the way, Shatzi started having ‘accidents.’ Since he’d been potty trained virtually since day one, this was concerning. I thought he may have had a urinary tract infection, so off we went to the German veterinarian. After an evaluation, he announced that Shatzi was upset that I was pregnant. Say what? He said that he felt like he was losing my attention. Huh? I said, ‘And what is the treatment for this?’ He said, ‘Oh, nothing. I’ve talked to him, and he will be good now.’ So I paid, left, and thought, ‘What a quack.’ But guess what? He never had an accident again!
After Nickolas was born, Shatzi warmed up to him pretty quickly. I was still his favorite, but life did not change too much. He actually got more of my time since I did not return to work. We then traveled around Europe, Nickolas on my back and Shatzi’s leash in my hand. Shatzi has visited more countries than most Americans – Shatzi in Holland, Shatzi at Octoberfest, Shatzi visiting Dachau, Shatzi at the Eiffel Tower. He lived a life that many dogs and humans would envy.
After returning to the states, he quickly adapted to life back in Florida. My husband was covetous of our relationship, but Shatzi was my dog and just didn’t show him the same level of affection. He suggested getting another puppy, but I was worried about introducing another dog into our home, as Shatzi had always been the only dog. After much deliberation, off to the animal shelter we went. This time, we brought home a beautiful 6-month-old Australian Shepard/Lab mix. We were instantly in love, but Shatzi, not so much.
The first few weeks involved a lot of posturing. Bailey had to learn who was alpha, but she was very docile and accepting of her status. When I think of Shatzi, I imagine that he has the soul of an old Englishman with a monocle. On the other hand, Bailey is a little more ditzy and easily loses focus. Shatzi often looks at Bailey, and I know he’s thinking, ‘Why would you do that?’
In the last seven years, Bailey and Shatzi have become hopelessly dependent on one another. Bailey looks to Shatzi for her social cues and follows his lead, even relying on him for her safety. Shortly after we adopted her, Bailey chased a deer into the woods and was lost for half an hour. Since then, she won’t even go outside without him by her side. On the other hand, Shatzi relies on Bailey to listen and be the lookout since a lifetime of battling ear infections has affected his hearing. Bailey has never challenged Shatzi’s authority, even as he’s aged, and for the most part, Shatzi is pretty healthy. He still has the occasional ear infection and occasionally falls down without explanation, but all and all he’s doing pretty well for 16.
Having just turned 40, I have had Shatzi by my side for most of my adult life, and he has been with my 11-year-old for all of his life. Our family just cannot imagine life once he’s gone, but we can appreciate having him here with us now.”
Dogs may not live long enough for our liking, but if anything, accepting that reality teaches us to treasure every precious moment we have with our beloved fur babies. Many of us may not have had the chance to travel the world with our pups like Kelly, but we’ve certainly shared our own special journeys with them – the journey of companionship, devotion, and unconditional love.
A devoted dog mom, journalist, and animal activist, Lisa uses her writing to spread awareness about animal welfare and cruelty issues. She lives in Atlanta with two spoiled German Shepherds, one entitled Pug, and a very understanding husband. Read more of her work at her blog and website, and follow her on Twitter.
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