10.23.2006

Sending Good Thoughts Her Way

My childhood dog, Shelby, has hit a rough patch in her life.

She’s the most beautiful Australian shepherd – she has a reddish-brown coat with white markings, the biggest brown eyes that make me want to smother her face in kisses, and some of the most expressive ears I’ve ever seen on a dog. I convinced my mom to bring her home the same summer that I was in driver’s ed – our previous dog (Brandy, a lovable miniature long-haired dachshund) had died a bit earlier, and I really wanted another dog in our lives. My mom wasn’t so keen on the idea of a new puppy, especially since the pain of losing Brandy was still so raw. But I beguiled her into going out to the farm where the Aussie pups were…and once we saw the sweet little girl runt, we just couldn’t resist bringing her home. My argument was (a) she’s the runt, so she’ll be really calm and well-behaved, and (b) if we don’t take her home, this girl’s brother is going to “get rid of” the pups in a not-so-humane manner (makes me sick just thinking of it).

With my case being successfully argued and won, the runt pup came home with us and became our Shelby (some might say I had a habit of doing this…taking in orphan animals with or without permission from my mom…). My first argument, that she wouldn’t be very hyper because she was the runt of the litter? Yeah, not so much…she is an Aussie, after all. That pup jumped like a kangaroo, ran a track around our yard, barked for hours on end at every neighbor animal that got near our fence, and would take ME on the longest walks ever (of course, the walks always started out with me thinking that I was taking HER on a walk….but in the end it was always her that led me wherever she wanted). But oh man, I loved that dog and it was so worth all of the frustrations.

Fast forward 9 years, and I am now out of college and living in an apartment in Mission, KS. And I miss having Shelby around, so I take her for a weekend. Wow, was she not prepared for apartment life! Every noise and car door slamming had her completely on edge, and she had never really learned to go potty while on a leash so that led to lots of pee-pee dancing but not many results. You see since she’s always had a fenced-in yard, her time on a leash is considered “fun walk time” instead of “taking care of business time”. And then I left her alone in the apartment for about an hour while I ran some errands….and I came home to a partially chewed away door frame. Yikes!

This brings us to the present, and Little Miss Shelby Belby is now 13.5 years old and I live halfway across the country from her. She had to have a toe amputated and a tooth removed last week, and her recovery is not going as smoothly as we had hoped it would. It’s hard to be so far away from her, and to think that she might not be around the next time that we go back to KC. Luckily we got to see her this past May when we were back in town for a wedding, and we took her on a nice long walk where she got lots of admiration from everyone we walked by (Oh what a pretty dog! What a nice and shiny coat!).

If you are the praying type, please say a little prayer for a quick recovery to full health for our girl. If you aren’t the praying type, then please keep Shelby in your thoughts as she struggles through these next few days.

Shelby Belby…we love you, please hang in there! And please drink some water!

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