We laid the old girl to rest today. How difficult it is. Thirteen years old, a long life for so big a dog. It has not always been an easy life. We brought her home from the Portland Humane Society at 6 months old. She had already been there twice in that short time. She was shy, but I fell for her good looks and her German Shepherd heritage. She jumped into the car and slept all the way home. For days she followed me everywhere, Dan was not important in the beginning.
Shawna was definitely a woman's dog and had perhaps been mistreated by a man. She remained wary of men all her life.
Another problem may have been her heritage: part German Shepherd, wanting to please and obey, part Alaskan Malamute and fiercely independent and opinionated. She was the most difficult canine character that we have encountered in our 30 years of dog ownership.
She never did get over her fear of abandonment. When we were not with her, she was on edge until we got home. Even last week she ran through the house with the toilet paper because we had forgotten to close the bathroom doors upon leaving. In 2003, when Dan left for Arizona to start building the ranch, I asked him to take her because I had to remain in Oregon to finish my career and live in an apartment because we had already sold our house. Shawna would be much better off at Dan's side 24-7. When I showed up for visits, I was treated as an intruder and she made it clear who the new #1 was in her life. She took me back into her graces once I moved permanently.
We will so much miss her, but she was suffering and, as my vet-friend said "you have to let her go with dignity". And so we did, but my heart is very heavy.