Looking Backward: Shashi

When I was a very little girl, my mother still had her German shepherd dog, Shashi. At least… that’s what we all called her.

Her official name was Wildwoods Scheherazade, and she was a purebred, papered, pedigreed shepherd my mom had bought after she graduated college. When my mom was getting ready to get married and move out, my great-grandmother refused to let Shashi leave — so the dog stayed with my grandmother and great-grandmother.

Shashi was a beautiful all-black shepherd. We have all sorts of funny family stories about her. She was so scared of thunder and lightning that she learned to open the door to the hall closet so she could hide inside when it stormed. She would let anybody leave the house except my great-grandmother — when Nonnie went out to the store or the hairdresser, Shashi would take things (like a hairbrush, or slippers) out of Nonnie’s bedroom and toss them around the house.

My favorite Shashi story is how she used to push Nonnie off the couch. At first, they would each be on a side of the couch in the den, watching television. Little by little, Shashi would nudge over onto Nonnie’s side until BOOM! Nonnie was pushed right off onto the floor and Shashi had the whole couch.

Like many German shepherds, Shashi developed hip dysplasia.

As the disease progressed, she became unable to even walk out into the yard to go to the bathroom. My uncle had to come and carry Shashi into and out of the house so she could relieve herself.

Eventually, the family had to decide that it was time to say goodbye. My mother and my uncle took her to the family vet and Shashi finally found release from her pain. Since then, my mom has opened her heart to other dogs but my uncle has categorically refused to get attached to ANY pet. He just doesn’t want to have to say goodbye again.

I’m a lot more like my mother in this situation. There will always be more love in my heart for other dogs, and the joy of our time together will always outweigh the pain of saying goodbye.