My best friend's name is Shadow.
Shadow and talk to each other all the time. I have come to understand many of her groans, whines and grumblings.
She has given me understanding in return. On November 1st (the day after Halloween), Shadow and I where walking down the street. She found a crushed Tootsie pop that a child had lost the night before. She picked it up, and I told her, "Oo icky icky. Spit that out." My dear friend pulled her gums away from that icky, gently put it back on the grown so that no other mouthpart would touch it.
I walked a few more steps away from the candy before realizing how much she really did understand. (Of course I then praised her for her remarkable understanding!)
When Shadow was much younger, we went through quite a battle over the flowerbeds... I planted them, she dug them up. As time and training continued, She did give in to me.
Recently, She and I moved into a new home that has little landscaping. She is back to her old tricks of digging. I heard of giving dogs their own digging areas, so this week-end, I found a shady spot next to a shed, and between two trees. I cleared the area, and designated the boundaries with fence rails at ground level. Once completed, I invited her into the digging box with me. I told her this was for her. I began to demonstrate digging (dog fashion) and invited her to join me. I only had to scrap the ground with her paw once, and she got it! She began happily digging, and licking my face in appreciation - all at the same time. You know, I don't think I've ever done any think to make her as happy as that!
Shadow is a mixed Lab, Australian Shepherd and I suspect a little Golden Retriever.
She has the wonderful gentle nature of a Golden (and body structure), the intelligence of an Aussie, the coloring of Lab and Aussie-black and brickle, (matched brown eyes) and a fierce love of water (lab or retriever?) My children and I rescued her from the human society. It seems that she was waiting for us to come get her, and when we arrived, she simply rose from the pile of sleeping siblings as it to go home.