shadow definitely can be likened to a big, lovable puppy because he’s kind and fluffy and caring and loyal, but laura’s nickname for him is not cute or affectionate. it actually exemplifies how condescending she is. laura calls him “puppy” because she thinks it describes how shadow looks at her. that is, she’s reducing shadow’s pure and genuine love for her to an animalistic state. laura, in quintessential white woman’s fashion, is dehumanizing shadow by comparing him to a household pet. and that’s exactly how she treated him when she was alive. she used him to get some kind of spark back in her life, and when his uniqueness faded and he became part of the routine, laura began conceptualizing him as yet another pet to take care of alongside her cat. a pet she’d have to soothe and play with and reprimand from time to time. that’s why audrey laughed at her when she said she loves him. she never loved shadow - she used him to brighten the monotony of her life for a little bit, and when his novelty wore off, she looked to another source of breaking the routine (aka fucking robbie while shadow was in prison). the cat dying being the exact moment that laura begins to fuck robbie precisely symbolizes that shadow going to jail was equivalent to the cat’s death in laura’s mind - two sources of novelty, two of her “pets”, in essence, no longer being able to fulfill some role in her life.
it’s absolutely disgusting and i really hope that none of you justify this behavior. yes, laura was depressed and suicidal, and depressed women should never have to stay in dissatisfying situations, but using depression or any mental illness to justify mistreatment of your spouses or friends is unacceptable. if she couldn’t have waited for shadow, she should have told him that. if she truly didn’t love shadow, she shouldn’t have married him. if a romantic relationship would not liven up her environment in a satisfactory manner, she shouldn’t have relied on one. sure, breaking up with shadow would have hurt him temporarily, but it would have been far better in the end. shadow probably wouldn’t have gone to prison, laura probably wouldn’t have broken her best friend’s trust by fucking her husband, and no one would have died. though i may be giving laura the benefit of the doubt since this corrosiveness is just part of who she is.