Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Back in February 2000 I began having dreams about this puppy and I became convinced that I was supposed to adopt this pup. I was living in a condo and started to become more aware of who did and did not own dogs. My neighbors on the right were an older couple; they had a small, mixed breed poodle that was an older dog. There was a single man in the complex who had a greyhound. That caught my attention. I thought that if he could deal with a greyhound in this complex than I could handle a dog. I wanted a smaller breed animal anyway. Still, I was uncertain. I was a single, working person and puppies are time consuming. I wasn't sure that I was ready for the task. The dreams kept coming.

At that time, my parents were living in Aiken, SC, which is about a half hour drive and part of my sales territory. I would often have lunch with my mother when I worked over there. By this time, the dreams were making me a little nuts. She suggested I drive by the two places in Aiken. One was Animal Control, which was a kill shelter, and the other was a no-kill shelter, but they were on the same road. It was at Animal Control that I found the puppy in my dreams. She was only six weeks old. She literally fit into my hands she was so tiny. They had a full grown dog there that was so well behaved that I felt guilty about not adopting her. They called her Neon because she was all black and her teeth were so white. I prayed very hard for Neon that she would find a home but I knew that I had to adopt the puppy I had seen in my dreams: Shelby.

I decided to crate train her. I bought this big crate so that she would feel like she lived in a mansion. That was not a good idea. Puppies like small spaces so that they feel safe. They also won't poop or pee where they eat. In a big space they will poop or pee as far from their eating space as possible. It kinda negates the purpose. I bought three different sizes of crates before we got it right. She grew into them. I know crates seem cruel, but she actually loves her crate. It's where she feels the most safe.

Those first few weeks were tough. She cried all night. I cried the next day from lack of sleep. She cried whenever I got in the shower. I would pull back the curtain and she would stop. As soon as I disappeared behind the curtain, she started again. My talking to her didn't help. She had to SEE me. We walked a lot so that she would pee and poop outside and not on my carpet. Sometimes we would be outside for an hour and we would walk in the door and she would immediately squat and pee. Uggh.

The funniest thing she did as a pup, and still does to this day, is recognize what does and does not belong. On one of our first walks, she spotted a styrofoam cup someone had tossed on the grass. She stopped dead in her tracks. Then she slowly circled it. Then she let loose mad barking at the cup. I laughed so hard. She was trying to scare the cup into moving. She was letting it know it didn't belong there and it should leave. Any time I have bought new furniture it has gotten the same treatment. She doesn't respond well to change. Eventually she will accept a new couch or chair or nightstand, but it is with disdain.

I love this photo of her; she is barely able to see out the windows of the condo. That is how she spent her days. She was always on patrol. I like to think she was protecting me from predators of the two-legged variety, but I know better. There were some cats in the area. Some were strays and others were pets and she was on patrol, protecting her space. Anytime she spotted a cat, the barking commenced and that cat got barked at from every available window until it was no longer in visual range; there was a bedroom flanking each side of the living room with windows. I once caught her barking furiously at what appeared to be nothing. I couldn't figure it out. I had to get down on all fours until I was on her eye level to see that she was barking at a gekko that was sunning itself on our porch railing. He was immune to her barking.

This is my girl grown up and making herself at home in my bed. When Rob and I got married, he booted her out of the bed and she never made it back in. Poor baby. She hasn't changed much otherwise. She still barks at paper cups when she goes on a walk. She's only seen snow twice. The second time was this year. Both times she tried to bite it. That was hilarious. She still loves looking out the window and patrolling for cats and other four legged things. I call her the Princess Dog because I'm convinced that she's convinced that she's not a dog at all; she's really a person trapped in a dog body. She's my girl.


  1. Shelby is so cute! I love animals, too. Both my daughters and I want a dog but my husband is really against the idea. We did take in a problematic dog two Christmases ago. An Irish setter that had been abused by its owner and stuck in a basement without any contact. We took it in for a month until it found an owner. It was a really bad experience for my husband who couldn't understand that all Timothy needed was to be loved...I had hoped that we would become Tim's adoptive family but everyday my husband kept saying, "So have you found an owner yet?" All he could see was the peeing and the biting and bad habits that had come from a lifetime of bad experiences. Good on you for having Shelby. Lucky dog and lucky you, too!

  2. I like your dog post.
    Good post.
    not a great comment...but they can't all be

  3. Ah, there's no love like the dog of your life! Your sweet Shelby is adorable. My little Thelma is just curled up on my lap as i write this comment.

  4. LOL what a cutie! Her barking at litter is adorable...maybe she's a closet environmentalist?

    Also, booting her from the sad! :(


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