Saturday, February 16, 2008

Shelby is HOME, forever

Just in case this is your first ever visit to this blog, I'll give you Shelby's synopsis. Shelby was a dog who was found in our neighborhood in December, starving.
This was then:

Our two huge-hearted and dogless neighbors, Deb and Merle, took Shelby in, (much to the dismay of their three cats) and nursed her back from death's literal door. This was HUGELY heroic of them, as they were on the verge of putting their home on the market, and knew they would be moving into an apartment and could not have a dog. But they took her in.

We put out all kinds of notices, once Shelby gained weight and strength, thinking someone would want to give a perfect home to this heartworm positive, in need of a spay after the vaginitis is cleared up, sweetheart of a dog. But we didn't get a hint of a nibble, let alone a bite. The great gals of iList Paducah even made her the iDate of the Week, to no avail.

My adult niece Molly moved to my town last summer, temporarily. She'll be moving back east next month. When she came here, she missed her two dogs terribly. They stayed back east with her boyfriend. They are a boxer ("JD")and a Cane Corso ("Roman"- both neutered males) and though Molly loves the whippets, and they adore her, she is a big dog person. Molly melted at the first sight of Shelby. Many a day, I would pop over to see how Shelby was doing, and Molly was already there visiting with her. But, Molly lived in a no dog apartment, and that was that.

The days of Deb and Merle's generosity turned into weeks and then months and their move became imminent. And Merle's mom was having surgery on Tuesday. And then a Bad Thing happened. A man came into their home to visit, and Shelby took matters into her own paw. These folks had saved her life and she would defend them to the death and she did not like the looks of this fellow. He was uncomfortable around dogs anyway, and he didn't act right. A little shifty in her inexperienced eyes. So she gave him a little warning nip. Oh dear.

A Horrible Decision was made. I felt strongly that, after two months in a warm loving home, it would be beyond cruel to take Shelby to a shelter. The area shelters are filled, bursting, overwhelmed. People are losing their homes thanks to the mortgage crisis and are forced to move into pet free apartments. Families are blindly stumbling away from their bankrupt farms, fully stocked with animals. On a recent "Adoption Day" at the local Petsmart, there were more than fifty dogs in crates. Unneutered, sad, friendly, big, small, purebred, mixed, hairy, shorthaired, quiet, barking, I began to cry, right in the dog food isle. Dogs who were fine with men leaning over their crate, and squealing children poking their fingers through the wires. What chance did Shelby have, in need of heartworm treatment, socialization, training, and spaying? What on earth chance?

I called my kind, sweet vet who had been her hero and asked if she would. "Yes," she agreed. "Please don't take her to a shelter. It's horrible. I would rather do it kindly."

I called Molly. "I'm so sorry," I said. "We are simply out of time and options. Now we have a dog who has to undergo heartworm treatment, be spayed, and has put her teeth on a human. We'll take her tomorrow, if you want to see her tonight."

Did I mention that Molly is my niece? Our family has just a teeny streak of oh, let's call it um, stubbornness which shows up from time to time. A mulish tenacity. OK, we can be plain old pigheaded! Molly started making phone calls. The first excitement was that her boyfriend Matt agreed that Shelby could join their family. Could we find a foster home for a month until Molly moved back east? No. A ride with a rescue chain to Matt? I did not see how that could possibly be arranged in twenty-four hours. How would Shelby react to strangers reaching into her crate to take her out to potty along the route? Molly did not give up or give in. I said, "Molly, I have learned something in my fifty-three years. You do everything you can do, and if something is meant to be, it will be. But if you have done everything you can do, and you can't make a thing happen, it is the Universe taking control, and you need to be able to let go. Shelby has had more love in the last two months than some dogs get in a lifetime. We have to take comfort in that."

And then, like magic, my other line beeped. It was Merle. His brother could stay with their mom on Saturday, and he could drive half way with Molly. I clicked back over to Molly. The Universe had spoken, loud and clear! Everything lined up like happy quacking ducklings in a row following the grand mother Universe's perfect plan. Molly kept Shelby during the days so that Deb and Merle's home could be shown. Merle's mom's surgery went well. Shelby learned by leaps and bounds with Molly's obedience training. She met men and dogs on the sidewalks on walks and got rewards for her good behavior.

Molly and Merle and Shelby left at oh-dark-thirty on Saturday morning. They met Matt in West Virginia. Shelby thought Matt was cool beans and here's why. As she headed off in Matt's car, leaving the first people she had trusted in her life, he heard her getting restless in her crate. So he started singing "Elsa, Shelby, it's going to be ok," to the tune of "row, row, row your boat." What is not to love? And because sometimes feeling emotionally safe and comfortable is the most important thing, Matt let his new dog curl up on the front passenger seat for part of the trip, resting her big head on the console, being stroked by this new kind human in her life. She settled down, realising that though she had left the comfort of her Deb and Merle and Molly, she was with a Good Man.

I will miss Molly wickedly when she moves back east. I will absently pick up the phone a thousand times to tell her that Bill is making his sausage pasta and does she want to come on over, only to realise that it would be way too long a trip. I have treasured this time together. Clumsy at first, two adult women reacquainting, and then the new comfortable familiarity and genuine, glowing fondness. But now the sadness of her leaving will be offset by the tape playing in my heart and my mind.

Shelby's delight when her Molly comes home.

hug your hounds


  1. So glad the universe spoke up everything worked out as it was supposed to. Please keep us updated as Shelby gets comfy with her new family.

  2. I love Matt and Molly. To do what Matt did on the journey and let her sleep next to him was the kindest thing in the world. He will be rewarded a thousand times over!

  3. I don't know what to say, but I want to say something as these happy tears roll down my cheeks.

    Thank you, Patience, for sharing this ongoing, touching, perfect-ending story with us. Shelby is beautiful, as are all the people that touched her life.

    I sing to Marvin in the car as we drive home from agility class to tell him what a good boy he is. Matt comforting Shelby with his little song was too sweet for words (especially after seeing his photo, I wouldn't necessarily have expected it!).

    Again, thank you for sharing this wonderfully well-written story with us.

    Hounds have been hugged and moistened with tears :)
    xo Jackie

  4. What can I say..This is WONDERFUL news..


  5. oh,Patience, i am so glad you didn't tell us in advance what could have happened,or I'd have had to come to Kentucky myself to take her!!! I sing to the dogs call the time,too-well,less now-the Salukis were the real singers. Martha and P-Doggy (who wouldn't have MINDED another sister!)

  6. Oh Mommi and I awe cwying happy teaws..sometimes, just sometimes the univewse gets it wight Mommi says..
    Bless you all!!
    I hope my pals awe not too sowe fwom all the ! they suwe awe fast!!!
    smoochie kisses
    (extwa smoochie fow Sam)

  7. What a great great story with a happy ending!! We are so glad Shelby is in her furever home!

  8. We were hoping Shelby was going with Molly, and we are so glad that it worked out.

    Gussie and muzzer

  9. Patience,
    I agree with your views on the universe -- this was meant to be. Matt does, indeed, sound like a Good Man.

  10. We're wiping away happy tears! What a fabulous story!

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch

  11. What a happy ending to a lovely story from the very start. Deb, Merle, Patience, Matt and Molly -- you rock! xoxooxomt

  12. No words, Patience, just tears of happiness and love, warm, glowing love for those increasingly rare moments when all is right with the world.

    Joan, Jake, and Just Harry

  13. i am tearing up. good job, everyone! oh, good job saving that lovely dog!

  14. Yay, Yay, yay!!! This is wonderful news! It sounds like Shelby finally found the perfect home. Molly and Matt are wonderful people for giving her a home. Deb and Merle are wonderful for giving her a chance.


  15. Oh I'm so moved Patience, what a wonderful heart warming story.
    I have a rescue dog myself and she is the greatest dog EVER. As I was crying quietly over your tale she came up and licked me, she knew.
    Shelby is so lucky to have found her companions.

  16. Oh my gosh! Your blog and the story of Elsa Shelby has been able to make me weep! I am so happy that this lovely dog will have the wonderful home she so deserves. Thanks for sharing! Hugging my small hounds, Judy

  17. I am very happy for Shelby. She is 1 lucky girl to have met you guys who have helped rescue her.


  18. Me be so, so happy! Shelby be a very lucky girl!

    Nibbles Cassidy x

  19. I came over to see your Fun Monday and found this post. I am so happy a good home was found for Shelby. It makes me cry to think about how someone treated poor Shelby before, but now I can cry happy tears! Off to go hug my hound.

  20. Glad Shelby's story has a happy ending for her.

    What kind of dog is she? She resembles a stray in my neighborhood. I've considered taking him in but am unsure of his breed and worried about how he'll behave with my children.

  21. I came over here to laugh at Fun Monday and wound up crying instead. Happily, they were tears of joy at Shelby finding her new home. I'm so glad Molly and Matt had room in their hearts and their home to take her in!

  22. How lucky for Shelby to find such good loving people. The shifty guy who came into the house probably needed to be biten.

  23. What a heart-warming story Patience. Lucky Shelby and doesn't she deserve it. I fully understand what you mean about doing all you can to make something good happen and then surrendering to the universe.

  24. A touching story and such a happy ending. So very glad and happy for Shelby!

  25. I'm reading this at work. I'm looking like a complete idiot to all watching - tears running down my face. But I don't really care ;)

    H U G S - to you all, Shelby, Matt and Molly included!

    Ane & The WriggleButts

  26. That made mom cry but they were tears of happiness she says.

  27. Doesn't everyone sing to their dogs in the car? I'm so glad that everything is working out for her.

  28. I loved your blog about Shelby. I have just rescued a female boxer puppy from a woman who had her chained to a clothes line for three months, yes three months. They called her Janice Joplin, but we now call her Glory. We have had her almost a week now, and you can still count her every rib. She is pitiful, but so loving. A friend told me about Glory about two weeks ago, as she lived in the apartment next door. I went right over after work to take a look and asked the owner if she would give her to me. No was the answer. "I really don't want to get rid of her." What a lame answer. Then the call came late one night, and I went over the next morning and got her. The owner wasn't even at home. This dog had been in the same place for days on a chain that was about 2 foot long, no food, no water. She was laying in her own waste. I left a note on the owners door to call me and she did 3 hours later and said she wanted $150 for the dog or no deal. I said $125 and she accepted. I hated paying for Glory, but I knew that was the only way I would be able to keep her. Glory is the most loving animal. You can see the gratefulness in her eyes. When I brought her home my dad asked me why I wanted this dog. I explained the conditions she was living in and he got so upset. What he said tickled me, because it is so true. He said "how would that woman like it if we took her out and chained her to a clothes line, naked, for three months with very little food and water, and let her wollow in her own waste?"
    I couldn't agree more.


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