Updated: Nov 10, 2020
For weeks now, I've tried to put together an introduction that encompasses all that Shine is to me and yet, I keep finding myself falling short.
It seems fitting that as I type this (again) it also happens to be her third Birthday.
Her third Birthday.
My Shiny Shoes' 3rd Birthday.
I can't quite believe that either.
Shine is the dog that almost never was, it took me seven (yes SEVEN) years of searching before I found her. On numerous occasions, I was told that what I was looking for in a potential puppy did not exist and that I was being far too picky. I had my name on multiple puppy lists and I had numerous what if's/should have/could haves happen on more than one occasion...
It was frustrating to say the least.
And again, I had numerous people tell me that what I imagined in my head just didn't exist, what I was hoping to find wasn't realistic and they may have been right. IF they had been talking to someone who wasn't nearly as stubborn as I am...
When it came down to it, what I had in spades was time and that was the reason I was able to find her. Or maybe, it was the reason she found me. I am not a religious person by nature, nor do I have a strong belief in "signs from above" but I do believe that if things are meant to happen, they will find a way.
And for her and I they did.
I remember that I had a sense of unease after her litter was born, I had this nagging feeling that just maybe, none of the six girls that were born, were meant for me. That feeling stayed with me until the puppies were just shy of two weeks old.
I had been looking at pictures of the puppies up to that point and while I liked certain ones based on color alone, it wasn't until I saw a picture of all six girls lined up in a row that I knew. I very clearly remember looking at the very last puppy to the far right and feeling my heart pitter-patter for a moment and thinking, "There's my girl. I've been waiting for you."
Now, I'm sure I'm romanticizing that memory to some, but at two weeks old, I knew. I knew she was my girl. Her breeder was fabulous in sending me photos and posting videos of the puppies as they grew (as they lived 1,300 miles away from me) and every week I was drawn to her and every video and picture I saw, I knew she was mine. That thought never waivered at 2,3,4,5,6,7 or at 8 weeks old.
And she was.
And she still is.
From the day that we flew from Virginia to Minnesota, Shine has been a nearly perfect addition to our household.
She is a perfect addition to our household.
She has been and will probably always be a very particular little dog. If she is to entertain herself when I am busy, there must be two toys for her to play with. If she is allowed to snuggle on the bed, she must always get the softest blanket to curl up on. If there are hardwood floors, she must take her favorite bones and throw them across the floor to make the loudest possible sound. If I so much as sit down to read a book, she must always be in some kind of contact with me, be it her head in my lap, or a foot just touching my leg. My favorite though, is when we have been apart and she must get picked up so she can give hugs and smile for us while making her chipmunk noises. She absolutely must do that to family and friends.
I adore her for each and every one of those little peculiar things that make up who she is. I adore her for how serious she can be. I adore her for her absolute silliness at times and I adore how level headed she can be when faced with a challenge.
And most of all, I adore her for her heart. As I imagine it is far too big for such a little dog.
And I adore her because she and I are learning and growing in new directions I never imagined. Just a few short months ago if I had been asked if I would ever consider putting any amount of effort into herding I would have probably responded with a definitive no. Now? I am fascinated by it. Fascinated by it because of my Shiny Shoes, who is far better at it than I ever aspire to be. It is absolutely humbling to be part of something such as helping a dog realize what is already inside them, what has been bred into them and to watch them begin to understand it and grow because of it. She has given me that.
She has also given me a sense of wonder on the Agility course. Yes, we are a young team and right now our mistakes are many and our moments of brilliance are brief, but in those moments, I have a sense of hope for what is to come for us as we learn and grow as a team and I adore her even more.
In those moments, I know in Agility she will shine the brightest.
And shine she will.