For almost two decades, former stray and then adoptee from The Lost Dogs’ Home, Shadow has been a much loved member of the Gould household. Instantly winning their hearts, Shadow has grown up with the children, outlived two dogs and three cats and has shared a bond unique to each member of the family she was adopted into. Recently, the tortoise shell coloured feline celebrated a milestone birthday when she turned 18-years-old.
“I remember walking through the aisles with the girls who were five and six at the time…It was love at first sight!”
On adopting Shadow, Melissa recalls how her daughters were eager to get her home, “It was about a thirty minute drive home with my excited children who just wanted to take her out of the box and play with her. At home they introduced her to lots of soft toys and asked their dad to make a wooden house that they had designed for her – they then painted it (photographed).’’
‘’We still have the house although, I’m not sure Shadow fits inside it anymore!’
Once settled in, Shadow very promptly found her place as the “top dog” of the house, “She adjusted very quickly. We bought a puppy around the same time, a very excitable fox terrier. There is no doubt in everyone’s mind though that Shadow is the ‘top dog’ in the house. “
Also known as “Shaddie”, or “Cat” for short, Melissa explains how the tortoise shell coloured feline was named after her unique colouring, “We named her Shadow because we thought she looked like a little creature lying in dappled shade.”
It was last month that Shadow celebrated her 18th birthday with her family.
“We recognised this notable milestone with a cupcake (for human consumption), candle, some balloons and a party hat. Shadow was a little puzzled by the balloons, though did go back for a nibble on the cake, when our backs were turned!’’
Supportive through thick and thin
It seems that genetics is not the only secret behind Shadow’s long life. The Gould family have showed Shadow love and care and like a true family have stuck with her through thick and thin,
“We are not sure how it happened, but several years ago Shadow had a nasty fall and was paralysed in her hind legs. The Vet prepared us that it may not have a good outcome. Determined to give her the best possible chance we brought her home, and set up a safe, cosy environment for her to recover in. With patience and lots of TLC she made a full recovery and has continued to remain strong and her usual affectionate self.”
With each passing year, Melissa explains how her family had to adapt to Shadow getting older,
“For many years Shadow would greet anyone arriving home at the front door – however, as she has grown older, she usually stays in her favourite sleeping place (a nice sunny spot if she can find it) and waits for you to go and say hello. She enjoys talking to you, and of course we all talk back!”
“Shadow is also a little forgetful these days– she sometimes doesn’t remember we are actually at home and that she has been fed. She stands in the hallway and calls out with a very loud meow to anyone listening. A quick reassurance is all she needs to settle down again – usually on someone’s lap. Shadow also can’t jump as well as she used to, so needs a small stool in front of the bench where she is fed to help her jump up to bench height.”
Despite her advancing age, Melissa says Shadow remains a good natured and friendly cat, “She has become increasingly sociable, talking far more than she used to and looking for a lap to commandeer.”
Now in their twenties, Melissa says her two daughters cannot remember a time without Shadow. While they have both moved out of home, they remain attached to Shadow and have started a Facebook page to keep in touch with her, “Shadow has her own Facebook page with a small group of family and friends who have fun posting messages to her.”
“Shadow is definitely much more than a pet, she is a much adored family member!”
If you too have a lot of love to give like the Gould family, why not consider adopting a cat or dog of your own! Simply out the adoptions page for pet profiles and the The Lost Dogs’ Home website for further information.