Today was a day I knew would come. It was the day every pet person knows is inevitable. I put Shimmer to sleep. Those that visit Schuylkill Veterinary Hospital may remember Shimmer as the older chocolate Labrador that hung out at the front desk until recently. She’s been failing, so had to stay home of late.

I got Shimmer as a puppy from a breeder in New Hampshire. From the first, she was special. She was as laid back as they come. I called her the comatose dog. A frequent comment people have made to me over the years is that all chocolate Labs are hyper or crazy. One meeting with Shimmer had those people eating their words. Shimmer was to be a show dog. She just didn’t have it in her. At one show, the judge told me I had to work on her show presence. I thought she had done well by not collapsing and rolling on to her back!

Willcare’s Shimmering Gem passed her health clearances and produced two large litters. She was a wonderful mother. She is famous at my hospital for starting her first delivery during office hours. It wasn’t expected, There was none of the preamble to labor, she just started spitting puppies out!. I quickly finished up and took her home.

That wasn’t the only thing Shimmer was famous for at the hospital. Shimmer was a gooser. She took great joy in making people jump when she nosed them from behind. Team members at least knew what was happening; visitors were often surprised.

Shimmer’s favorite position was on her back with her lips so relaxed her teeth showed. Everyone in the office would just step over her. Shimmer definitely made a lot of friends in her life, both people and other dogs. She brought joy to all who knew her. Her temperament was amazing.

Shimmer's favorite pose!

Shimmer’s favorite pose!

After Shimmer’s retirement, she went to live with hospital team member Margaret. Margaret had recently lost her beloved dog and needed a new friend. They became an amazing pair. Shimmer continued to come to work regularly and put in hard days of laying on her back or leaning against the wall. A couple of years ago, Shimmer fell and hurt her rear leg. She needed two surgeries at the specialty hospital to get her back on her feet. Surgeries on a geriatric dog can really take the starch out of them. Her mobility was limited, so she didn’t make it to work much after that. More recently, she developed another health issue and lost her battle today. She would have been 13 years old in 6 days.

Margaret and I shed a lot of tears today. We lost a special friend. One thing is for sure: there will never be another Shimmer.