It's Happening: Searching for Something Special

By Julie Perine on August 27, 2023 from It’s Happening via

Last Friday morning, we woke up to discover our almost 17-year-old Siberian Husky Shasta was missing. I didn’t think she could have gone far. She has had joint issues for the past couple of years and lately, it has been worse. We immediately went out to search for her; Jeff and Jeffrey on the streets and me in the yards and woodsy areas around our house. I posted on Facebook that we were missing our girl. My coworkers also put it on Connect-Bridgeport. Those posts were shared dozens – some hundreds of times. I was so touched that so many of you were concerned. We had neighbors, family members, friends and even people we didn’t know out looking for her. Even members of the Bridgeport Police Department were searching.
Shasta always wears a collar of blue – to match her beautiful eyes – inscribed with her name, address, and phone number. I felt hopeful that someone had found her and would call us. But I never got that call and as the day went on, I began losing hope. Of course, we had called Animal Control, the Humane Society and checked in with other pet rescue services. I printed and placed posters throughout the neighborhood.
Though I was beginning to feel panicked, I felt so much love and concern. I received texts and phone calls from concerned community members.
At about 5 p.m. I finally found her, and it was really the worse outcome I could have imagined. She was lying in the creek about two blocks from our home. I pulled our beloved girl out of the water and laid with her for about 20 minutes until Jeff was able to get there. I talked to her and held her. During that time, I looked around at the babbling water and sunlight coming through the trees, feeling the softest breeze, and thought what a peaceful setting it was. I thanked God for giving me not only that time with her – but 16 years and eight months with such a faithful companion and friend.
Shasta was a gift to our family from my oldest son Jeffrey. Just a senior in high school at the time, he sought her out and purchased her just after we had lost our last dog. All of us – especially our little boy Jacob - were devastated and we were searching for something to fill our hearts. Jeffrey and his little brother skipped school that day and traveled to Glenville to get her. I can’t thank Jeffrey enough for bringing her into our lives. She was the perfect girl for us.
Shortly after getting her in January of 2007, we all went to Snowshoe for a mini vacation. Jeffrey held her in his senior pictures. She had such a good time there - leaping in and out of the snow banks, completely disappearing when she went in.
Shasta and I have walked all over this town; I can honestly say hundreds of miles through the years. And we walked in all kinds of weather. Being a snow dog, she loved winter. She was indeed her happiest when she was on her walks. I used to call her the queen. That fluffy tail just stood up with pride as she strutted down the street. There are so many memories; some funny, like the time she grabbed up a dead rabbit and I fought her for it at the top of Hall Street. During one of our first long walks, she got away from me chasing deer. She ducked right out of her collar and away she went. After looking all over for her, I spotted her clear across Glen Ave. I squatted down and called her, and she came flying to me. From then on, she wore a harness on all outings.
When she was about 10, she became very sick and spent five nights at Cheat Lake Animal Hospital. One night I missed her so much, I drove there at midnight to see her and lay with her. When we got her home, she had become diabetic, and I gave her daily insulin shots for many weeks. I always felt so bad doing it because I didn’t want to hurt her, and I didn’t want her to be afraid of me. But I believe she knew it was for her own good. One day I just had a feeling she didn’t need the insulin anymore and upon testing by her vet, she didn’t.
She had some funny habits, like pouncing, burying bones, eating soap, and those crazy zoomies she used to do when she was little. And, of course, there was the howling. She really could say “I love you.” We have years of happy memories of her running through the house with Jacob. When he was little, he wrapped himself in a blanket and she would unwrap him. 
Shasta could read my mood better than people I am close with. She knew when I was upset and comforted me. When my grandkids came along, she was obviously jealous and would pick at their socks when I held them. We would always tell her, “No baby feet for you.” When our doodle, Skye, came along, she was jealous of her, too. But they became friends and looked out for each other.
She and the little ones sure loved each other, too. They affectionally called her "Shatta May Hey."I called her my angel girl. And I told her over and over what a special girl she was to us. 
I could go on and on, but you get the point. And if you’re a dog person, you really get it. They walk into our lives and change us forever.
I just want to thank everyone who reached out that day and since then. Living in this town is really something special. Thank you, Angela Messe, for coming out of your house and hugging me – creek water and all – when I needed a hug so much.
If you looked her for her that day, shared or commented on a post, called, texted me, sent cards or cookies – or hugged me in the grocery store - it will not be forgotten.
I wrote this blog with very raw emotion. I thought it would be good for me. And I know in my heart that you care and understand. Love on your pets a little extra today. Our time with them is never enough, but oh, what a gift they are. 

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