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#TBT Shelby Style

There is something to be said about adopting an adult (or non-puppy) dog from the shelter that wasn’t a surrender – there is no history on them. Oh what I wouldn’t have paid to know what Shelby’s life was like before coming to live with me. Her records didn’t indicate much – not even where they found her. But she was fixed. She was basically house-trained. She had limited manners.

I remember the first night I brought Shelby home. It was a Friday night and I was working in events at the time so I had the day off and had to work that night. Silly me. I figured I would bring the dog home and all would be fine. She would, of course, adapt, instantly to her new surroundings. Because of course, ALL dogs feel right at home in a new space. Oh how wrong was I.

I brought Shelby home (and that was the first she heard of her name since she was nameless when I adopted her). She instantly became a holy terror in the apt. She ran around like a complete bat out of hell. I gave her some water and I think I must have fed her (I was so unprepared – I didn’t even have a leash). I turned on the TV to get ready for work and she stopped dead in her tracks and jumped on the coffee table and then under the coffee table and her ears were back. She was afraid of the TV?!? Psycho mutt.

I left for work and figured, to be safe, I would attempt to ‘trap’ her in the kitchen, just in case. That was when I first realized that she was a jumper and completely NOT OK with being confined to a small space. I put up chairs and blocked her in. Or so I thought. I got home from work about midnight and she was free-roaming. On the couch. Had made herself at home. Fine. That was when I still thought that there would be no dogs on the furniture (how naive was I?).

I took her out to potty (that much I did know that I had to do with a dog) and she took off. Silly me, again, expecting a dog to come back to me that had known me for all of 12 hours and didn’t know her own name! I put some Mardi Gras beads around her neck thinking that would be a make-shift leash and BOOM – broken and she was off, again. I don’t know how (act of God maybe) but I got her back.

The next morning I took her off to Petco to get her supplies (a crate, collar, leash). The parking lot of Petco, she jumped out of of the shopping cart. Thank GOD someone helped me snag her (she was fast). I was losing interest in this quickly. So we got a collar, a crate, and leash. Everything was good but she was a puller. Oh did she pull. I thought for sure she would pull my arm out of the socket.

And the crate. Epic fail. EPIC! She was having none of that. She wouldn’t go in it. Wouldn’t have anything to do with it. She cried. She whined. She sounded like she was being skinned. I put toys in there (she destroyed them). I put a blanket in there (she ate that). It was the perfect size for her but she still messed in there and then sat in poop. She refused to embrace it. For three straight nights – I tried. I put pillows over my ears and I could still hear her cry. I put a towel over it (like you would a bird) and she ate that. She was relentless. So finally, I gave up the fight. And mom and baby slept well. I am not sure when she moved to my bed or when she won ALL the battles with confinement but she did.

For the rest of her life, if you would even utter the word “crate” her ears would go back and she would start to shake. Something, at some point, in her early life had emotionally traumatized her of being confined. When she broke her leg, the only choice was to get a crate to keep her confined while I was at work. I apologized to the neighbors in advance for the crying but it was a necessary evil. After the amputation, they told me to keep her in small room (so I put her in my bedroom) and she tried to tunnel out by eating the door (bye bye deposit).

While I will never know what Shelby’s life was like before me or how long she had lived with a family what I will always know is that she had the best life with me. At some point, about age 10, she stopped running off… she realized, I guess, that the grass wasn’t greener on the other side of the road. That she had it pretty darn good – costumes and all. And she taught me the kind of dog mom to be, the kind I hope to be should I ever enter down that road again, and with any future fur-baby, I will shower them with the same amount of love that Shelby got. And Shelby will always smile down on us and be proud of the fact that she taught me how to live and to love…. not the other way around.



On the left , where I put Shelby when I went out. On the right, what it looked like when I got home.



Pissed off Shelby

Bye bye deposit … she was trying to tunnel out. Amazingly, she did somehow get out of the room.

The blanket never stood a chance (as placed on top of her crate)

1 Comment »

  1. Michelle Said,

    May 15, 2014@ 7:50 pm      Reply

    Oh Alison, she was a terror but she loved you and she eventually learned what total true love was. I know she is smiling down on these pictures and the stories you are sharing with us and saying yep mom I know you won’t forget me.
    Long live Shelby’s memories

    Michelle & Angel Sassy

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