In an effort to keep the spirit and tails of Shelby’s amazing life alive … a little “throwback Thursday” edition for her blog.
For anyone who knew little Miss Shelby, they knew she had a flare for style and more costumes and wardrobe changes than most dogs could ever hope for (well maybe not the itty bitty dogs but Shelby was hardly a purse dog). Shelby also loved to go – anywhere I was or other people were. Shelby brought a certain amount of positive energy to her surroundings (and usually comic relief). A little background on me – when I moved to LA a little over 7 years ago in an effort to meet people, I joined a running group that trained for marathons.
Shelby never ran more than 3 miles with me since I wasn’t a runner when I got her and her vets discouraged distance running since when I started running, Shelby was considered middle-aged and it would be hard on her joints. Shelby was always a sprinter when she would run. She was lightening fast. When I first got her, the first weekend I had her I almost lost her due to her speed. She didn’t know her name yet (she had arrived at the shelter nameless so I gave her the name) and calling for a dog that doesn’t know her name AND thinks it’s a game of ‘chase’ quickly almost LOST me my new dog. Thankfully, she did learn her name quickly but still was a high-flight risk up until she was about 7 or 8. Truly. Shelby was never one of those dogs until the last couple of years that would just go outside w/out a leash and stay within her designated area (if she was not fenced in). She was faster than me – always. When I was finally able to trust her off her leash, it was only under my watch. And if she tempted fate by going to far OR not coming when I called, I learned that if I got down on the ground and acted hurt or scared, she would run to check on me and BOOM – leash city!
When Shelby and I lived in Seattle, we would go for a three mile loop around a local lake. Either Shelby didn’t understand the concept of running in your own personal lane OR she thought it was a game but she would run along side me, jump up and grab hold of my arm and try and hold on or nip at me. It got to the point where I felt like I was running with a canine barracuda attached to me and shaking her off or telling her “no” only seemed to make her MORE inclined to do it. Definitely comic relief for anyone else out along the route. Or perhaps she was trying to give me an upper body workout as well! My silly girl.
Back to the running club, after one year, I joined their board of trustees and Shelby assumed the role of club mascot. Shelby would show up at board meetings, support stations along the race course, picnics in the park… wherever there was place for her to be, she would go. And she was so loved. She wore the various shirts that I had to show her “LALEGGER” pride!
She was ALWAYS such a great sport with any costumes, medals, holiday attire that I would put on her. She was always my biggest supporter, my biggest fan and the reason that I would always lace up my shoes. So each day, now, that I lace up my shoes, I try and find comfort in running. I try and remember why I run. I run for Shelby. I run for those that cannot run anymore. I feel Shelby guiding me, pushing me, encouraging me to go a little bit faster, a little bit longer, a little bit more …
I missed re-qualifying for Boston last year when Shelby first got sick. At first I was so sad since I wanted so much to get back to Boston to take back that marathon that was marred by the events of the 2013 race. But looking back on it now, I am glad I didn’t re-qualify. I am glad that I didn’t have to make the choice to run the most prestigious race (after working so hard to re-qualify) vs. staying in Los Angeles with the “love of my life”. I would have stayed in LA but I am glad that I didn’t have to make that choice.
Right now, it’s hard to run more than 5 – 8 miles … my body tires. My legs fatigue. My heart is not in it. But I will get back to my passion. I will get it back. And I will always run with the spirit of Shelby within me. I miss you baby girl… I hope you are running around, getting chased as you loved to be and showing those big dogs how it’s done!