What I Learned from Having a Rescued Dog

On December 31, 2010 I met my beloved German Shepherd for the very first time. She was being fostered by the good folks at German Shepherd Rescue of Southwest Florida and needed a home. She had just finished treatment for heartworm and was quite weak. She’d had a litter of pups sometime before she was rescued from the mean streets of Naples, Florida. The veternarian speculated she had been used as a breeder and estimated her age between 3 and 5 years of age. In the 18 months since she joined our home, Shelby has taught me many lessons.

It’s only hair – it will grow back…(Photo credit: k8edid)

1.  It is Only Hair.  Shelby had a patch of hair shaved from her back so that a poisonous concoction could be administered that would kill the heartworms that threatened her life.  She taught me that there are far more important things than having a bad hair day or finding the perfect cut…like living and enjoying second chances.

In my own little bed…(Photo credit: k8edid)

2.  Sometimes you just need  your own space.  This was Shelby on her first day in our home.  She enjoyed the comfort of her crate – she had been crated for 30 days while she underwent treatment, and the world seemed to overwhelm her. We don’t put Shelby in the crate any more, but it is still available to her and she often goes to it for comfort.

Shelby gets PLENTY of beauty sleep (Photo credit: k8edid)

 3.  Naps are wasted on children.  Seriously.  Adults and dogs know that naps are really fun.

Shelby’s been digging…

4.  If you mess up, someone will notice, no matter how small you try to make yourself.  Shelby likes to dig up things her Mama plants in the yard.  Here she is after rescuing me from some evil flowers.

I’m going to rest now.

5.  Know when to rest.  Shelby completed the Lee County Heart Walk 5K last fall. It was hot and she was used to walking early in the morning – not in the middle of the day.  When we were done, she was overheated, cranky, and tired.  She plopped down in a shady spot and would not get up, lying on her side and panting rapidly.  Walk officials were very concerned for her and encouraged me to call for a vet.  She rested for about 15 minutes, drank another of Mama’s bottled waters, then right after I snapped this shot she got up and trotted off toward the car.  I’m learning to rest when I’m tired, drink when I need to, and listen to my body.

Shelby cools off by Charlotte Harbor. (Photo credit: k8edid)

6.  It is always cooler by the water.  At a large party thrown for dogs and their humans, Shelby sought peace and quiet near the water.  Sometimes you just need to walk away from the crowd and find your peace – and a cool breeze.

Play like a kid. (Photo credit: k8edid).

7.  Take time to play.  Even if you can’t push the merry-go-round, you can still enjoy the ride.  Don’t let others define what you can and can’t do for fun.

Waiting for Papa (Photo credit: k8edid)

8.  Waiting can be hard.  Shelby is happiest when both parents are home and she alternates between laying beside one or the other of us, seeking out pats and scratches…and treats.  I have to wait long periods of time between visits with my loved ones – and the waiting is hard.  The joy when we are finally together knows no bounds, though I usually refrain from licking their faces or sniffing their crotches.

Patience is a virtue (Photo credit: k8edid)

9.  Sometimes service is slow.  Be patient.

If you can’t stand the heat – head to the kitchen…(Photo credit: k8edid)

10. If you can’t stand the heat – head to the kitchen.  The coolest spot in our house is the kitchen.  My late father-in-law was a genius when he put in an industrial-strength exhaust fan (it seriously sounds like an airplane and can suck dust off the floor) and a strategically placed air conditioning vent directed at the cooking space.  Not that anyone is going to cook with 90 pounds of canine laying in front of the stove.  On really hot days you can find Shelby stretched out in her second favorite spot…so make reservations or get take-out ’cause she’s not moving.


Filed under humor, Photos - Travel and Other, Uncategorized

22 responses to “What I Learned from Having a Rescued Dog

  1. Wonderful story Katy. In 1981 I rescued a German Shepherd mix named Goliath. I was terribly sick at the time, and had several difficult years. Goliath got me through. I was concerned that I’d never have a date after recovering from my illness until Goliath met John. And they fell in love.

    Some dogs just make your life what it should be. I’m glad you have Shelby. Thanks for sharing her with us.

  2. Shelby is brilliant! Reggie agrees with every word. Well he would agree if he wasn’t snoring up a storm right now. I adopted Reggie from the city shelter and he changed my life in ways I never imagined. I learn things from him every day. Today: just because I can’t see it doesn’t mean there’s nothing there. He has one powerful sniffer

    • I have learned that Shelby just “knows” when someone is outside moving around, or something is happening that she has no possible way of seeing, hearing or smelling. She just knows.

      Reggie is quite handsome (Shelby says so, too) I like his freckle-y nose…

  3. With one exception I have always had pound puppies and rescue dogs. They are the best! Shelby is lovely and obviously brilliant. Thanks for sharing her story.

  4. Rescue dogs are the best! I got my first German Shepherd when he was found by the side of the freeway. My policeman husband brought him home for the night where he stayed for the next 14 years. Thanks for sharing your story. Shelby is glorious!

    • Yes – what could be better than a German Shepherd AND a rescue dog all rolled into one! I have always been fond of shepherds. Shelby has a lot to offer.

  5. Oh, I miss my german shepherd! She passed on last year. Our little boy is a complete and lovely spazz, but I miss things like how she would talk back if she didn’t like the command (while still doing it) or her ability to spell all food related words. You could get as far as B I S C and she was right there waiting for her treat.

  6. We love our two rescued dogs! Great post!

  7. Great post, great story 🙂

  8. -Shelby is beeeeautiful. A dog after my own heart ❤ Xxxx

  9. What an inspiring story – you finding Shelby to complete your family. She’s a very wise dog.

  10. Deborah the Closet Monster

    #5 is one that I’m working on in earnest now. I kept finding myself only realizing I’m tired after I’ve already reached exhaustion; I’m now trying to learn the indicators before I get there. I want to exert energy sustainably, and–like you said!–take time to play.

    • For me, it comes down to not even stopping to think about it. If I do stop whatever it is I am doing – I find I am exhausted…but if I just keep on going – I will literally fall asleep at a task without realizing how very, very tired I am. Now that my children are grown, and I have moved away from my grandchildren, I don’t play much any more. I miss that – playing with children.

  11. Dogs are just the best. They ask for very little other than to be our companions. They do get into things, but most of them are not ill-willed, unless they’re trained to be that way. Looks like you have a great dog there.

  12. While I didn’t get Lotte from a pound or rescue centre, I did rescue her from a life of loneliness. The two women/girls who owned her left her to her own devices from around 8 am to 6 pm each day. I bought her from them and cannot begin to tell you how much love and joy I get from this little bundle of fun. On the odd occasions that I leave her behind (she is small enough to go most places with me) she shows her disdain by refusing to eat her food or the treat that I always give her when leaving, until I return. There is little doubt who rules this house.
    I love Shelby, and Jackie’s Reggie. I am sure they would all be great friends. BTW Lotte’s best friend is an Afghan Hound. Imagine the looks when we take them for walks. 🙂

  13. What an absolute blessing to find your blog and this story. We adopted a rescue German Shepherd in September and he (Darby) is so much like your Shelby. We also have a rescued Australian Shepherd (Banjo) and the two are best friends now.

Talk to me.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s