Editor's note. Kaylinn Gilstrap shared with us the beautiful story of her life with Seamus, a German Shepherd she adopted from MaxFund on June 18, 2004. Sadly, Seamus passed away recently. Kaylinn, thank you for adopting Seamus and giving him such a wonderful life. Our condolences on your loss.
In 2004 I adopted a German Shepherd puppy from MaxFund and I just wanted to tell you how grateful I am that I did. Seamus just left me on Saturday, May 16, 2015, and has left a huge void in my home and life. He was my constant companion and gave a girl more love and joy then I could ask for. I just wanted to share a portion of his tribute to you and to say thank you.
I don't know if time has made my memory more dramatic but I remember walking down a long aisle of empty pens, the Green Mile (*) of the shelter. Down at the very end in the center was a make shift pen that contained a single German Shepherd puppy. I remember he didn't see us right away walking towards him and I was struck by his sadness. Where there had once been a whole batch of puppies now only one remained. One by one everyone had picked a puppy and just like every middle schooler's nightmare he had not been picked. And then he saw us. The full body puppy wiggle began and a smile I would get to know very well over the next 11 years spread across his face. I never had a chance. I told them I would take him home.
Over the past 11 years Seamus has been by my side. He moved across the country with me to Atlanta and was my sole companion when I had no one else. He saw me through two devastating break ups and all the insignificant boys too, standing by confidently knowing he was the man of the house. He protected me. Sometimes hilariously from a pile of laundry in our dark apartment or from caretakers after a surgery left me so doped up I couldn't see straight. But I'm also sure he navigated around some scenarios I never even sensed danger in. Our first apartment together wasn't in the best neighborhood and I was known as the little girl with the cop dog. He was my co-pilot and we took countless trips together. The last being a road trip across country to the ranch where he has not been since we moved in 2005. Seamus loved me unconditionally through my crazy girl stage and right into me becoming a woman that I even like. To have a being that is completely loyal and faithfully devoted to you no matter what is a gift unlike any other. People can let you down, dogs never do.
Saturday morning at 2am I said goodbye to my companion. Three and half hours earlier we were playing with his ball and sitting on the stoop, just a Friday night same as any other, by 12:30am we were at the emergency vet. Seamus had an undetected mass on his spleen that had caused his stomach to flip during his nightly romp outside. I had two choices and both seemingly left me without Seamus - so I chose the route that caused him the least amount of pain.
Some of you know the grief I'm experiencing. There's nothing like your first dog. I had animals growing up but Seamus was solely mine and I was solely his. (In his later years when another German Shepherd passed by us he would lay across me and growl at the dog, letting them know this human was his and our pack had no openings.) I am tripping over shadows on my bedroom floor where he used to lie, wailing when the mail hitting the inside of my mailbox isn't met with spirited barking, walking around my home looking for someone I know isn't there and the silence, the silence is killing me. No panting, no clicking nails on hardwood floors, no random ball squeak, no other presence in my home. I had a friend confess when I texted her the news she freaked out and her co-worker responded with "It's just her dog!". I know there is no explaining it to someone that hasn't experienced that companionship. I will have other dogs but I will never have another Mr. Seamus. He was never just a dog to me.
(*) Editor's note. MaxFund is a no-kill shelter, so we don't actually have a Green Mile. Our dogs and cats have all the time they need to find their forever homes!