My Dog Shamrock and Me

Since I can remember, I've always had an affinity for animals and nature. I've always had a pet in my life: cats, dogs, rabbits, guniea pigs, mice, snakes (wild garter snakes that we found in the field), a wild pigeon..oh, you name it. I have three cats at the moment, and I don't know what I'd do without their love and companionship--I have a few relatives left, including a sister, but in reality, the cats are really the only family I have.

I adore horses, as well--tho' I've never owned one. I've worked with them a bit, from time to time 'tho. I like most animals, large and small. Really enjoy being around them. And, I find animals are very much like people--and animal psycology is not so different than human psycology, either.

The best friend I ever had (aside from my late mum) was my half-collie, Shamrock. Her name was originally Heather (afterall, Collies are from Scotland)--but she was born around St Patrick's day, and I always felt lucky that she choose me (out of my sister's dog's litter, Sham came to me when the other pups ignored me, mostly). Sham's dad was a full collie named "Tonka," but his nickname for some odd reason was "Sam" He was  a great dog. Sham's mum was my sister's dog, "Happy." Happy was a stray my sister found, sometime around 1974. Happy, according to our vet, was half black lab and half golden retreiver. I don't know how the vet would know this, but..that's what he said, anyway.

Sham and I had a relationship that--if you're very very lucky---comes along between human and animal maybe once in a lifetime. I mean it. I often didn't have to say a word to her, and she just knew what I wanted. She learned all sorts of tricks--often in just a few days, or even hours. Without a spoken word (although I did often use voice commands, I didn't really need to), Shamrock could sit, shake, lay down and stay put. She could go right or left (if she was in the proper mood) by simple eye contact. I had a unique whistle for her, that she knew quite well. All I'd have to do is whistle "sham's whistle" once--and no matter where she was, she'd come.

My favourite trick of hers, she more or less taught herself, really. I just encouraged her. I'd taught her to lay down on command--and then one time she rolled over on her back--to get a tummy rub, which was often her "reward." Kidding around, I did the old Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" routine, and using my fingers as an imgainary Magnum gun, I said, "go ahead, make my day," and then went "BANG!" firing my "gun."

Well, Sham yelped and flopped over on her side. After I got done laughing my head off---and scratching her tummy---I decided to see if she'd do it again--she did! And from then on, she had a trick that was our little neighbourhood's favourite!

But often, I didn't need to speak at all. I know this sounds unreal, but truly, Sham knew my mind. We were like one person--best friends forever.

The day I had to put her down--she was a bit under 8 years old---was the second worst day of my life. That was in 1983. She was sick and depressed and we tried for months to pull her out of it, but she just didn't want to.
Only the morning I had to tell the doc to pull the plug on my mum, was worse than the day I took Sham to the vet for the last time.

I miss her sorely. I've had other dogs--including a full collie, and most recently, I had an abandoned chow mix named Spooky, that I had adopted from the animal shelter where I was working, but no dog has ever come close to the rapport I had with Shamrock.
whovian whovian
46-50, F
1 Response Mar 15, 2007

Sorry to hear that. I know how it is when you get attached to animals. Hope you find another one like Shamrock.