Katie was our first Sheltie; Danny brought her home to me as a Christmas gift one year, pulling into the garage with this tiny puppy in a box on the floorboard of his truck, and asking me to guess what he’d brought. I had really been jonesing for a pair of cool boots and a Liz Claiborne purse, so that’s what I guessed, from that point forward I always referred to Katie as my “Christmas boots”.
At 5 ½, Katie unexpectedly went into renal failure; we spent several months and quite a bit of money trying to save her, but were not successful.
I will tell you that putting Katie down was one of the most heart-wrenching things that I’ve ever experienced. She was young, had been in excellent health and then on the turn of a dime became ill. She would have days of seemingly great health and then a terrible day – we’d get our resolve up and make our tough decision, then come home to a happy, perky Katie and change our minds.
Finally, in the end, Katie was sick, in pain and the sad deed was done, and we resolved to be dog-free; and so we were ‘ til November.
Before the internet came along and sucked up so much of my time, I used to read every last inch of The Tennessean (minus sports), down to the classifieds. Every day. So fate intervened one day just before Thanksgiving that, I would run across a litter of Shetland Sheepdog puppies in my neck of the woods.
I called that afternoon, made an appointment and went to see the litter the next day and picked out a sweet little girl that we named Shelley.
Our sweet Shelley girl turns 14 today – that’s 98 in dog years – and what a lady she’s been. She’s had an awesome dog life: travel, children, golf cart rides, treats, you name it. But the kicker is that Shelley’s health isn’t so great now, she has arthritis, she can’t always get up the stairs, incontinence is becoming a real problem and she’s deaf. I’m truly concerned about her getting hit by a car.
Sad as it is, we know that we are going to be faced with another tough decision about a beautiful girl. We’re just trying to get our hearts ready, if that’s possible.