About 15 years ago, my uncle called my mom to ask if we wanted a dog. We had lost our first dog shortly before then to an illness. I never even thought we'd end up with another dog, considering I was so shocked when my mom brought home the first one. Anyway, my uncle said this dog was already a year old, and the people who had her couldn't really take care of her (which ended up being that they didn't want her anymore). My uncle and his family drove this little dog 3 hours to get to our house, and I think we all fell in love. The dog's original name was Maggie. My sisters and I didn't like it, so after much debating, we renamed her Shelby (after a character from our favorite "sistore" movie, Steel Magnolias).
Shelby as a puppy, we didn't have her this little, but this is what she looked like!! Soo stinkin' cute!
Shelby had to get used to her name, of course. And, of course, that took some time. Also, of course, we would get her confused by sometimes calling her Maggie on purpose. UGH, poor puppy!! She took off a few times from our house, and being such a little dog, she sure could sprint! The worst time was the year I moved out of my parents' house to my apartment. I was in the computer room with her, and the door was closed over. But somehow, Shelby got the door open when I wasn't looking, and VROOM! She ran through the dining room, into the living room, and straight out the open front door! Now mind you, this was in January with lots of snow and ice on the ground! She took off right down the street, and onto the next block over. My dad tried running after her, but he finally gave up when he reached the other block. He started going back, and Shelby kinda started to follow him. When she eventually caught up with him, he grabbed her by the scruff of her neck and got her home! So thankfully we only "lost" her for about 20 minutes!!
Shelby didn't mind it when my mom tied handkerchiefs around her. She was usually festive for the holidays. Here she was one year with a lovely flag handkerchief!
Shelby used to love running through the house at full speed, and particularly after she had just come in from an outside potty break. Why do most dogs seem to take off running crazy after they've pooped??? lol Shelby would just run around like crazy, and it would crack me up!! I also loved it when Shelby would run after a toy she loved, and bring it back, and just spit it at your feet. She also used to "sing" whenever she heard a siren, but the best was when she "sang" for the ice cream truck! So many summers would go by with Shelby striking up a song as soon as the ice cream truck started making it's rounds! Very entertaining!!
While it took some time for Shelby to get used to my dad, they eventually became pretty inseparable. My dad just loved her, and it was so obvious she loved him, too. At night when my mom would see my dad's truck pull into the parking spot in the back, she would say, "Shelby, guess who's home?" Shelby would perk up her little ears, and she'd wait by the back steps, sometimes calmly, sometimes bouncing around! My dad would play footsies with her when he got in, and when he'd go into the bedroom to change, she'd be right behind. My dad loved taking her to his shop, where she'd run around and explore everything around the area. There used to be a lot of junked cars stored in the yard, and sometimes you couldn't even tell where Shelby went! If you called for her, she'd come out of nowhere, sprinting toward you with her classic grin! I think my dad really got a kick out of that!
I also used to think Shelby completely understood my dad when he'd talk to her. He would have her sitting up in his lap, and would hold her paws, and just start talking to her about whatever. A lot of times, she would turn her head as if she was listening closely. They just really had a great bond together!
Like any living creature, Shelby started showing her signs of aging several years ago. She lost her hearing, which meant we never heard her bark or "sing" again. While she never did go blind, her vision was pretty bleak when she had to go outside in the dark. Her back legs really gave her grief from arthritis. Last summer I helped my mom drive Shelby to the vet many times to get some laser treatments that only seemed to work for a short while before she seemed to be in pain again. Eventually they tried cortizone shots, also a temporary solution. No matter what Shelby was dealing with, you would never know she was hurting because she always had that huge grin on her face!!
Last Wednesday morning, before my dad and I left for Cleveland, my parents took Shelby to the vet one last time to put her to sleep. She wasn't able to walk much the day before, and that morning was even worse. They took her in, and talked to her for a little while before the tech came in the room. My dad said that it almost seemed like Shelby was thankful, like she knew what was about to happen, and she was at peace. Although I knew this day was coming, it's still been pretty difficult, especially for my parents since they were the ones who saw Shelby on a daily basis. We were so lucky to have Shelby for 15 years. That's a pretty long time for a dog! So, RIP Shelby, aka Silly Mutt. Thank you for all the smiles you gave us, and especially for that great big grin of yours that always made me feel like everything was so right with the world.
RIP Shelby '97-6.13.12