Hi, my name is Shadow, and I’m a black female Pomeranian, currently living in the Southern US. I was born in British Columbia in 1995 along with my twin brother (also black). What’s interesting is that my mother was a standard red-blonde Pom and my father was a gorgeous 2-tone “sable” Pom, both CKC champions. The two color schemes must’ve cancelled each other out, leaving us pups black – who knows! I was born on a quarter-horse ranch near Burns Lake that also raised Siamese cats, toy poodles and Poms.
With dozens of puppies running around, the noise was deafening, so the lady of the house would come outside every hour or so and crack a bullwhip. It worked! For some reason, I never really felt I needed to bark. The pack leader (my dad) did all the barking for me. To this day I am praised for not being a “yapper.” Problem is, I don’t know what that means. I’m a dog, remember?
So, if I can’t speak or write, how are you reading this? Well, I hired a translator. My foster parents bought me a few months after I was born and took me to Oregon for awhile. We travelled a lot, ’cause he was an IT contractor – people call him a geek, but I don’t know what that means either. All I know is he seems to understand my quiet little “woofs” and “whimpers” and he looks into my eyes (mainly because I get up into his face when I want to be let out to do my “business”), and seems to be able to read my mind. The way he puts it, “There you go, Shadow, smiting me with cuteness again.”
Shadow: In Your Face
Anyway, with the economy the way it is, my foster dad has a hard time finding computer work, but he’s really good with websites and stuff. You guessed it – I have no idea what a website is, but he tells me it’ll make me famous and pay for my food and vet bills. I’m starting to really feel my age now. My mother and father only lived about eight years, and I’m going on fifteen! My hips and joints remind me that I’m not a “puppy” anymore. Although I’m about 99% deaf, and losing my eyesight, my sniffer works very well, thank you! My foster parents say I’m a “special little girl,” because I always seem to survive any illness or surgery.
Shadow: Always lookup up to you
Speaking of my sniffer, I can tell when somebody’s opened a bag of grated cheese from clear across the house. I don’t care how bad my joints feel – when I smell cheese, I’m there, eh? (OK, so I’m not THAT Canadian anymore, y’all.) And even though it hurts to stand on my hind legs for a treat, I’ll hop and dance on those old joints for a couple tiny bits of Mozzerella.
My foster mom gives me medicine every morning with my breakfast. I hate the pills, but she hides them in globs of yogurt (which I love), and before I realize I’m swallowing a bitter pill, it’s down. Yukk! She follows it with another glob of yogurt without the pill, though, so I forgive her. She tells me I’d be in a lot more pain if I didn’t get those pills, so I guess I can live with the bad taste.
I’m about as non-threatening as a dog can get. Cats can whip my furry butt, so I usually run from them. Big dogs scare me to death, as do these Southern thunderstorms. I don’t hear the thunder much anymore, but I can still feel it, and I can smell the rain that follows. Little kids are scary, too, because they don’t know their own strength and almost crack my ribs hugging me. But if people are gentle, and let me lick them a little, they can pet my long fur as much as they want… uh… especially if it comes with some cheese!
Now you know as much about me as anybody, so I hope you like my website. I’ll have my “translator” post a few woofs now and then, so please come back often.
I’m a year older now, and feeling it. My hearing is gone, my arthritis makes it hard to walk, and my eyesight is very poor. My sniffer still works, though! Adventures in Colorado, at 9,000ft elevation, are probably over for me – the thin air is a bit much for a 16-year-old Pomeranian. My foster parents have to carry me up and down stairs to keep me from passing out. It’s like magic, actually. I climb a couple steps, then wake up moments later on a human’s lap!
The entire week before July 4th, bears were stalking us. A day before this video was shot, a very large mother bear with cub appeared, climbing to our front door to smash a hummingbird feeder (that smelled like candy to us animals). It took hours of humans making a racket to scare the momma away.
The following day, a 2-3 year-old bear stopped by, without any fear of the humans. He stalked us for the entire week after that. My foster parents talked about having to grow eyes on the back of their heads, and they always went outside in pairs to take me for my “business” walks (or hobbles, in my case).
Hi, my name is Shadow and I’m so happy you’re following my adventures with me that my tail is shimmying like a rattlesnake’s rattle (that’s how we Pomeranians do it, eh). In my previous blog, I talked about the Colorado trips with my humans and getting to see all my forest friends. Most of them are friendly to a quiet little fuzzball like me – or at least they don’t run away when I’m near. But every now and then on that mountain, I smell danger.
Shadow lives up to her name
My foster parents say it was back on July 9th last year. I was having one great adventure after another outside, watching the chipmunks up close and the deer from a distance, when I smelled something strong coming from the trees near the cabin. I couldn’t see anything, but I could smell anxiety (whatever that smells like – I can’t spell it) coming from the humans. Every evening, they were busy taking down the hummingbird feeders and the chipmunk seeds and making sure there was no food anywhere. My foster Mom wouldn’t just let me out to do my “thing,” but would come out and stand close to me. It’s during these times that I truly live up to my name, by being both the color of a shadow and by being my Mom’s shadow (see photo).
Anyway, I couldn’t see anything, but then I have to be within 20 paws of my foster Dad to even recognize him (I can smell him from a great distance, but don’t say anything – he’s rather sensitive). I sure could smell fear among my pack, and the smell of danger from the forest was overwhelming, so, whatever it was, it was getting closer!
That night, the humans were very careful to hide any trace of food, and to keep everything in sealed containers. Even I had a hard time smelling any treats usually left on the kitchen counter (sigh). I sure wish I was taller. We all got ready for bed but I could feel the tension everywhere. All the deer and chipmunks were gone, too. I wanted reassurance from my foster Mom, and she held me a lot, but I could tell she was nervous.
Why Shadow doesn't wander off alone
Just before dawn, I opened one eye as I heard my foster Mom get up and go out to the living room, and suddenly she yelled, “THERE’S A BEAR ON THE PORCH! THERE’S A BEAR ON THE PORCH!” She kept saying it until everybody was up and coming toward the door that opens to a deck (where my chipmunk buddies usually come to eat). A giant American Black Bear (well, he was “giant” to me) was rummaging through chipmunk food that had been placed there early, and brushing against the sliding glass door! One of the humans banged on the glass door, and everyone started making a lot of noise. I’m almost completely deaf, and even I heard it! Finally, after what seemed a lifetime (to me – it may have just been a few seconds to the others), the bear climbed down and slowly walked back into the trees.
But he didn’t go far! Throughout the day (July 10th), he stayed by, making grunting and growling noises and watching every movement in and around the cabin. He was stalking us! I wasn’t allowed out of the cabin for anything – not even to do my “business!” Instead, my foster Mom made me use some newspaper (what’s the fun in that?). That afternoon, one of my foster Mom’s nephews (he goes by “Mike”) caught the bear with his camera within 30 feet of the cabin. (I don’t know what a camera is, but my pack is always showing me a tiny version of me whenever they use one.) Anyway, the photo sequence here shows a few “tiny versions” of the bear. I know that I said he was a “Black” bear, and he looks mostly brown. But I’m a dog, and mostly colorblind! Apparently, “brown bears” are all brown, but black bears have dark on their underside and brown everywhere else. Who knows! I heard the humans debate that issue most of the evening. All I know is that I could now connect that horrible and dangerous smell with an actual beast. He could’ve eaten me in less than a mouthful. That night, just before bed, I heard my foster Mom say, “Thank you, Lord, for keeping us safe today.” I’m not sure what she meant, but I couldn’t smell as much fear after that.
The bear was gone the next day, and I was allowed outside again (but my foster Mom stayed close by). Woohoo! Cheeky was back to eating seeds on the very spot that bear had stood, and the hummingbirds were everywhere! Life is good.
Hi, my name is Shadow and I love it when my pack visits southern Colorado. It’s a new adventure every time we go into the Sangre de Cristo mountains. The views are beautiful, as you can see from this photo my foster dad took last year. But my favorite things are much closer to the ground. I am, after all, a five-pound Pomeranian with more fur than the law allows.
We get to visit this region at least twice every year – I don’t know much about time intervals; things just happen when they happen, and I just roll with it. All I know is that, when my pack starts putting a lot of stuff in that loud monster with round feet, and when I see them put my bed and toys in the back, I know I’m in for an adventure! Then, they start teasing me, saying things like, “Shadow – do you want to ‘G’ … ‘O’?” I can’t spell, Dummy! Just put the letters together so I can figure it out already! They sure waste a lot of time playing mind games with me before finally saying GO! Hey, I’m a senior citizen and have a lot of achy joints, but I will twirl around twice and then sprint to the monster thing when I hear that word.
It seems like forever just getting to my adventure, though. We leave early in the morning, before dawn, and don’t arrive until after the sun has set. I don’t care. I get to see my forest friends! (And a few not-so-friendly types.)
Shadow's forest friend
There are always beavers making dams in the streams, and deer everywhere. Giant bald eagles cast shadows on me (doesn’t everything?), and for some reason my pack doesn’t like me to venture too far when big birds are near – something about me being a “snack” for them. Heck, I’m a dog. I live for the moment. If you won’t let me sniff that thing over there, then I’ll just sniff this thing over here. Besides, it’s about the only thing left on me that still works! I can’t hear anything, and I have to be about 20 paws away to clearly see anything. But I can smell an approaching critter from a mile away. (I know: it takes one to know one.)
One of Shadow's dinner guests
My best friends at the mountain cabin are chipmunks. My foster parents nickname them “Cheeky” and other funny names because they’re always filling their cheeks with seeds and nuts we leave on the deck outside. That’s “Cheeky” in both pictures here, one up close from my angle on things. The chipmunks are even more timid than I am, but seem to “loosen up” a bit when the humans appear, because it means a lot more food to quickly store up for winter. But they are a little skiddish, so I like to sit by the door when one is eating seeds, just to stand guard so the humans won’t scare it away by approaching the door too fast.
Shadow guarding her friend
I know what it’s like to be dependent on someone else for protection, food, shelter, play and companionship. That’s about all a dog really cares about. I can’t speak for chipmunks, but I think they have no choice but to fend for themselves. (You’ll have to pardon my “translator” – he’s putting words in my mouth that no dog could know: “fend?”) It’s simple for us dogs. If you’re our friend, we’ll do anything you want us to do, as long as we get touched, fed, or reassured that we’re still pals. We’ll even wag our tails if it makes you happy (although mine just shimmies). You humans have way too much to think about – always worrying about something that might happen instead of concentrating on stuff happenin’ now.
Of course, I appreciate that my humans worry about me a lot, especially as you’ll see in Part 2, when the big bear shows up just a few paws away!