Where shall I begin? How can I tell the story of the worlds sweetest dog? How can I do her justice.. I really don't think I can.. She was the best thing that ever happened to me. In a way she saved my life, cause she came to me when I was going through a bad depression due to all kinds of medical problems.. And this amazing lovable dog, was able to guide me through the days and made me feel much better again. Life was worth living.
Shelley, AKA baby girl or Bep, was born on May 1st, 1990 in Leersum, the Netherlands. Both her parents were import dogs from the States. May 1st was a very hot and humid day in the Netherlands and I remember her breeder (a very dear friend of mine) calling me for assistance. This was her first litter (mine too!) and we had no idea what to expect. The moment Shelley was born, her mom was busy with another pup and therefore I removed the membrane myself and fell in love immediately. She wrapped her little tail around my heart!
We didn't plan on taking a new puppy, for our other Sheltie Leo was approximately 10 years old and we thought he wouldn't like the fight for attention. But when I saw this perfect and beautiful little puppy, I knew I had to have her. The bond was there, from that moment for as long as I live! I visited the friend on a daily basis and we had a lot of fun with all those pups. We even interrupted our vacation to pick her up when she was 7 weeks old. She was my first ever puppy and what a wonderful experience it was!
Leo accepted her almost immediately. He was a senior dog and had never learned how to play, but Shelley was the best teacher. They loved tug games, but Leo would only play lying down. If Shelley won she immediately put the toy in front of his face again, so he could grab it and play again. Click here for a little YouTube video of them playing that way. We were very fortunate that Leo reacted so well on having a wee puppy in the house.
Shelley was an extraordinary dog with the sweetest outgoing temperament imaginable. She could always run around off-leash. She knew she was supposed to stay on the sidewalk and was under perfect voice-control. For eleven beautiful years, she was my sweet, intelligent, reliable dog - as loving, non-destructive, easy to live with as they come. If she wanted to play, or attention, she'd hang around my chair and rest her chin on my knee while looking at me. Sometimes she moaned while doing that. If I'd asked her what she wanted, she always ran to the doggy-cookie-jar. Her love went through her stomach...... When she was not busy guarding our house, she liked to cuddle next to me or on my feet, making sure her body was in contact with mine. She loved tummy rubs and in return she'd bury us with doggy-kisses. She always seemed to know when we were upset, happy or whatever mood we were in. I think she was more human and caring then most people are. We loved her with all our heart.
To Shelley, any living thing was lovable and extremely interesting. Being outside with birds, frogs and mice was her favorite pasttime. She would pamper them like a nurse. Making sure they were ok. One day we found a poor little birdie that fell from it's nest. It was almost frozen to death, but still alive, so we took it home. We put it in a small cardboard box with a warm towel in hopes it would survive. We even managed to get some food into the little bird and decided to let it rest for a while. Meanwhile we went to the other room to have some coffee. Shelley didn't follow us, she stayed with the bird making sure it's safe. She doesn't allow the other dogs near the bird. And every time it moves, Shelley sounds the alarm, LOL.. We go look and see the little bird trying to get out of the box. So we put it back in while Shelley is watching our every move. But later miss Shelley took matters into her own paws. When we didn't hear a peep for a while, we feared the worst.. So we looked around the corner and there was our baby girl sitting next to the box watching the birdie. Every time the little bird tries to climb out of the box, she sniffs it and with her nose she pushes it ever so gently back into the box!! Isn't that the sweetest?
Shelley was almost 11 when I noticed that she was limping and acted 'not herself' during a morning walk in April 2001. It was the start of a several month long heart wrenching and heartbreaking quest for a diagnosis. The final diagnosis devastated us: "Malignant Histiocytosis". We were told this was a death sentence, that it is a rare, invariably fatal disorder. There was nothing we could do for her other than to go home, keep her comfortable and watch our beloved heart dog die. For more information click here for my layman's article about this disease or here for more patient stories. With the proper medicines she lived another apparent normal 2,5 months until we had to sent her to the Rainbow Bridge on September 5, 2001. That was the worst day of my life. Nothing else in my life hurt as much as her passing did. We knew life would never be the same without her.. We had to learn to live a different life. A new life without her..
We feel very lucky to have had her as long as we did, cause many get much less than that. I also know that she had a wonderful life with us and she will live forever in our hearts. But as almost every type of illness can occur due to a weakening in the immune system, because that makes the body more vulnerable to disease, I still have a feeling that Shelley's histio was triggered by the rabies shot. If only I could find some info to endorse this feeling.......
Goodbye my sweet, beloved, FOREVER DOG. We miss you terribly. This website is in your honor..
Be assured that I will never stop searching for answers, how silly or stupid my quest may seem to some people.