28 July 2011
...I hope all dogs go do heaven. You were a good dog and you will be missed sorely. From the moment we brought you home as an 11 week old pup, you won over our hearts (and won 'intelligence points' from Mike who was shocked to find you as an addition to our family when he came back from on overseas trip - "Surprise!")
You were in quarantine in Trinidad at the young age of seven months and "served your time" well. I joked that, since Shelby was up to date on her rabies shots, couldn't we put the boys (then teenagers) in quarantine and the dog come home with us? They were not amused - neither the boys or the "Powers That Be" in Animal Control.
You gained a following in Trinidad - especially with the Kramer's. Colleen would keep you often when we went to Texas and they treated you like royalty. You patrolled the grounds like one of the guards that were always outside our homes there. You had an innate desire to protect those whom you loved. You loved staying with the Littlefield's as well when we were in Port of Spain. You and Darcy, their Westie, were great pals. And you loved having young children to pay with in Joey and Kelsey. And Edie let you sleep at the foot of their bed, just like at home.
Three and a-half years later, you flew again across the Atlantic to England, where, once again you entered quarantine for six months. This was before the Pet Passport Program. You and Patches, the Bryant's Cavalier, stayed in the same kennel, and Cynthia and I would come out together to spend time petting you, telling you what a good girl you were and "it won't be much longer". I do admit you wormed your way into the heart of the owner as you got preferential treatment - they were quite sad to see you go. But we'd board there so they got to spoil you again. Once, when you were very sick, one of the quarantine attendants took several buses at night to come and sit with you and feed you boiled chicken and pasta and make sure it stayed down because he was so worried about you. That was love.
Once home, you thoroughly enjoyed having a HUGE yard to romp and play in. You'd "point" when the occasional deer or fox would race through the yard and bark to be let out. Everybody loved you (except perhaps the Bryant's one time when they kept you and you barked, and barked and barked again every time someone came to the door...you wore out your welcome that time, tootsie!) But you "liberated" Patches from the utility room where she slept since you slept at the foot of the bed! I believe Whitney felt it wasn't fair that Shelby got to sleep with her or Paige but Patches had to sleep downstairs - alone.
You got your Pet Passport a couple of years later and traveled back and forth between the UK and Texas until you developed pancreatitis and your globe-trotting days were over. You lived alternately with Jennifer's family and then Tim's the months until we repatriate to Texas and could have you live with us again. You took in it your usual stride.
Even where you boarded, Waggin' Tails, you quickly became the "Teacher's Pet" with Denise taking you with her when she ran errands - you have been to the Fulshear Post Office but I've never been! You were even in the Houston Chronicle when they ran a feature article about the kennel - you were one of four "guests" photographed with Denise. She's going to miss you something fierce too.
You were a quick learner with house training. You loved to play with squeaky toys as long as they had plush on them! You loved playing tug-of-war with toys. And you were my shadow. You barked away strangers when I was alone in England and "Daddy" was in Africa. You scared off street vagrants in Trinidad where dogs are bred for security. Even though you weren't, you had a bark that meant business! But those you loved, you loved with an unselfish devotion.
We will miss you, Shelby. You were the dog we got when the kids still lived at home. You were the dog who made it 15-1/2 years in our household despite quarantines, moves, different homes, different vets, different continents. You were a good Expat dog. You were my companion when "Daddy" was away on business trips. You were the dog who met every grandchild and endeared yourself to them as you allowed them to play with you (sometimes not very gently either) and put up with pulled ears, fierce hugs and sloppy kisses. You were our fourth, albeit hirsute, child.
Rest in peace, dear one. And know you were loved.
And I do hope "All Good Dogs go to Heaven"...