Remembering Ramsey and Shadow

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Nine years ago today, our beloved Ramsey left us. He was born December 4, 1991, and he died November 25, 2005–so that would make him 14 years old. He was originally Debbie and Dee’s dog, and they acquired him from Dee’s cousin. Puppy Ramsey needed a home. Later, when Debbie and Dee moved into an apartment where pets were not allowed, Ramsey moved in with us. He became our dog the spring of 1992. So we had him about 13 years.

Part lab and part cocker spaniel, Ramsey had a black lab face and short cocker legs. He could run like the wind while chasing water sprays. And oh, did he love his ball! He was a wonderful dog!

Of course, he had to adjust to our black cat, Shadow, who had already lived in our house since 1985.

Shadow was born September 10, 1985 and he departed October 27, 1997. He originally belonged to a young couple– the husband, a rookie for the Denver Broncos that year. They had to travel a lot with the Broncos and felt sorry for the kitten when they were gone. So they were looking for a good home for him. Not only did Shadow move in with us just before Halloween that year, but he departed just before Halloween twelve years later.

Both pets looked like a couple of ink spots chasing one another throughout the house. A friend who spent some time with us later reported he heard those two racing after one another during the night. Not only did Shadow pester us about getting up in the morning, he often awakened Ramsey early–and the chase was on.

Their biggest tussle concerned the winter sun streaming through the front window and spreading across the floor. Ramsey would get there first. He would just get comfortable when Shadow would slide across the rug, swat him, and they would take off flying again. Perhaps the funniest thing I saw them do involved a swat Shadow gave Ramsey in the kitchen. Shadow had just awakened from his afternoon nap and entered the living room. He peered around the kitchen door in time to see the great black hulk drinking his water in the kitchen. I saw the ears go back–the crouching position–heard the whack–and the two of them were off flying again.

Ramsey didn’t know what to do with himself after Shadow died. We didn’t get another cat. And so Ramsey spent the rest of his days with us, getting older. He lost his vision before he died, and I’m sure he had cancer.

I remember the day we drove him to Boulder to have him put down. I rode in the back seat of the car with Ramsey, who was excited to be going somewhere even though he didn’t feel very well. The goodbyes were difficult. I grabbed him and held him for a while before Howard took him inside. It was one of the hardest things we had to do since Shadow died.

Shadow’s cremains are in a small container I keep downstairs. Ramsey was carried home inside the cover of his bed. I had to unzip the cover to retrieve his leash and collar. And then I remembered the treats and his ball I planned to place inside the cover with him. It wasn’t his favorite ball. Howard wanted to keep that, so he switched balls on me. I still have Ramsey’s favorite ball and am glad now that the switch was made. Ramsey was buried in one of his favorite places. We placed a concrete marker on his grave, and I later provided the inscription.

Today the marker has settled. The inscription vanished after several winters. I know where the grave is located and visit it from time to time. And I smile when I remember something.

Shortly after Ramsey was buried, I looked up toward the sky. Two seagulls flew overhead–one following the other.

Shadow and Ramsey! I thought. They can fly!

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