A Tribute to Our Beloved Rascal

Friday, August 27, 2010

Life comes at ya fast sometimes.  A lot can happen in a 24 hour period.  I once read a saying: “I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes they all gang up on me”.   That’s how I feel about today.  Yesterday it was my intention to encourage you to think about the kind of goals you would like to see your kids reach before they move out of your house.  However that topic seems a bit irrelevant right now.

Today is  also the day that I am launching my youngest son off to Bible College, so I could write about him and all the mixed emotions I have about that.

However, our beloved family pet Rascal went to dog heaven this morning, so if you wouldn’t mind I would like to dedicate this blog to Rascal.

Dear Sweet Rascal,

Born: July 8, 1993

Died: Aug 27, 2010.

Age: 17 years old in human years or 119 in dog years.

I had already tried to prepare myself for the day that you would be gone, but now that it’s here I know that I was not prepared. Life will not be the same without you. Thank you for your constant happy wagging tail, your big kisses, and your daily companionship.

You are 17 years old and your body is laden with arthritis. You are unable to walk, you can barely see, you can’t really hear us, and your latest ailments include not being able to control your bowel movements.

Our family would not be the same had God not seen fit to bring you into our lives. I will never forget the day you came to live with us. I remember it like yesterday even though it was 17 years ago. It was December 11, 1995. You were so full of spunk and energy. I first spotted you darting in and out of cars at the Kroger parking lot. I panicked because I was afraid that you were going to get hit by a car. My kids and I were on our way to “Play it Again Sports”. I called you and you came right up to us. As I lifted you into our van, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “This is the one.” I had been praying about getting a dog.

We contacted local animal shelters just to make sure that no one else was missing a beloved dog, but to no avail. Two weeks later the animal shelter called and informed us that after two weeks, if no one calls about a dog, whoever finds the dog is the legal owner of the dog. They asked if we would like for them to help us with the cost of getting you spayed, which we did. The vet told us that you were about one and a half years old. This put you being born: July 8, 1993.

I will never forget how timid and scared you were the first time we allowed you to come inside the house. You crawled on your stomach and Amanda, TJ and Tyler had to teach you how to walk down the stairs.

You became “TJ’s dog” immediately. He named you Rascal, ’cause it was his life–long dream (at the ripe age of 6) to own a dog. He said that if he ever did get a dog he would name it Rascal.

TJ even threw you a doggy birthday party on July 8, 1998. You turned five years old with a bang.

Boy did you live up to your name. You were so fast, when we opened the garage door you would dart out like a bullet, running too fast for any mere human to catch you. We were at your mercy and had to wait ’til YOU decided YOU wanted to come home.

Thank you for helping me keep “our” kids safe while they played at the farm. I always felt better about them going down to the creek to play if you went with them. I somehow figured all your commotion you brought with you would cause any snakes or other harmful critters to flee in terror.

Thank you for not getting angry with the kids when they would put you up on the trampoline and wanted you to jump with them.

Thank you for enduring all the many horses that would come down and share the yard with you.

Thank You for putting up with a cranky old cat named “Socks” that would swat you on your nose if you happened to walk too close to her.

Thank you for not eating our kittens.

Thank you for being so gentle and patient with Gemma when she came over and helping her get over her fear of dogs.

Thank you for greeting all the numerous teenagers that would come through our front door with a wagging tail and a kiss.

Thank You for always being friendly to the other dogs in the neighborhood, like Buddy. However, you hated poodles for some reason. You would see them as snack food.

Thank You for being my running partner at Red Top Mountain all those wonderful happy years. I loved your excitement in the mornings as we got ready to get in the van to go run Red Top Mountain. You used to get so excited whenever I would put on my running shoes. You would run to the garage, stand by the van and bark with excitement, waiting for me to open the back so you could jump up inside. You would perch yourself in the back of the van so joyously and you would make eyes with the other commuters. We often got smiles from those commuters.

You would run 15 miles to Krista’s and my 5 miles. You would chase squirrels to no avail, but there was that one time you caught a poor, helpless, injured squirrel, which turned into a bloody mess. You were so proud of yourself.


Then the day finally came when I had to leave for the mountain without you due to the arthritis you had developed in your hips. Running the mountain would cause you to not be able to walk for the rest of the day. You used to look so sad when I had to tell you “No”. For the first time in your life, I saw your cheerful heart look sad and poutty.

Sometimes you got really excited when you were dreaming, and your cute paws started moving all over the place like you were running. I always thought you were dreaming about being on the mountain again.

As you aged, our fearless puppy turned into a coward whenever a thunder-storm rolled in. We used to have to turn on the window A.C. units and turn up the music really loud so you could not hear the thundering. You would go crazy with fear, closing doors with your nose. You even locked yourself in TJ’s room one time when poor Camille was babysitting you. You were not good when your family left you. You were so happy when we returned from Utah, wagging your tail and giving us kisses.

You had so much personality and energy. That is what made you so special and so much fun. You brought joy to so many people and you were a great stress reliever. You have so many friends that I can’t remember them all: Gemma, Adam, John, Gabe, Jaclyn, Camille (I think she still likes you) and most recently Madge.

Anyone who knows the DISC personality traits would recognize you as an “I” dog, the “party” dog, the “people” dog. You brought such joy to our home. You had to be with people. You would scratch on TJ’s door till he would let you in. You did not like to sleep by yourself. You had to sleep in TJ’s room.

I think you had some “S” in you too, ’cause you had a stubborn streak. Even an electric fence could not deter you. If you set your mind to it and you decided that you wanted to go to James’ house, you took your shock and went on your way. That’s when Tim and I realized we probably should have gotten the collar made for “stubborn” dogs. But over time you eventually complied with the “rules” and stayed in our yard.

You confirmed the old saying: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. I purchased a five gallon water dispenser for you before we went to Utah, ’cause I was afraid that Camille might not be able to keep up with your drinking demands. You tend to drink an excessive amount of water. Well, you would have nothing to do with the gurgling water dispenser; you would die of thirst before you would drink from that monster. Once again your stubbornness won, and I returned the gurgling monster and got my forty dollars back.

You also got picky about your food in your old age, it was Purina or nothing. I tried to buy you some fancy food boasting of their superior health benefits, hoping it might bring healing to your aching joints. Well, you refused to eat it and once again your stubbornness paid off, ’cause I returned to the store the next day and got your beloved Purina Dog Chow and you ate it voraciously.

I’m glad we have some video of you “growing up” with the family. You fit right in with this crazy Shedd family. One of my favorite videos of you is when TJ decided that he wanted to give you a birthday party. We even took you to PetSmart and let you pick out your own presents. You also loved the apple pie with whipped cream we gave you.

It was always a blessing whenever I would say your name. Even in old age you would wag your tail, then you would get up even when it pained you. You never failed to get up, come over to me and lay your tired head on my hand so I could pet you.

Since you could not back up, you would often get trapped between the coffee table and the couch. Whenever this happened, everyone had to move their feet and put the recliner down so you could continue your trek through to the other side. This was a nightly ritual for you lately. I think you knew your days were numbered and this was your way of staying close to the family that you loved.

We were so blessed to have you in our family.

I hope we picked the right time, and I’m sorry if we waited too long. We really didn’t want you to suffer, and it was hard to say goodbye. You looked so peaceful leaving this earth. I look forward to the day that we meet again in heaven and both of us can run together again, play together, work together and praise God together.

There will never be another Rascal.

Your loving mom & family


One of your many adoring fans.


About Professional Parenting

Wife, mother, motivational speaker, author, counselor and teacher. I have 3 adult children and a husband of 27 years. For the past 13 years I have served the youth and their parents at Liberty Church in Marietta Georgia. I loved everything about being a mom: I loved the terrible twos, and the terrifying teens, and the cake in my hair, and the spilled punch. I loved the chaos, the noise, the craziness of tons of kids. It was everything I wanted in my life. I loved that constant overwhelming feeling of someone being completely dependent on me as well as that joyful, aweful feeling of watching that same someone just 18 years later leave me and go off in the world on their own. Interests: * Christian * wife * mom * child training * pre-teens * teenagers * youth group * young girls * young women * seasoned sisters Favorite Books: * "Praying for Your Adult Children" By: Stormie Omartian * "Life on the Edge" By Dr. Dobson (Note: This was required reading for my kids when they turned 13.)
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