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Yesterday, Barbara picked up another Sheltie being released by her family. Barbara said that it seemed like this might be a real hardship situation, but she didn’t know any details — in any case, we didn’t get a donation from the relinquishers, which we try to get when we can.

What gets to me is this: Shelbee is 9½ years old, and has lived with this family since she was a puppy. Maybe it’s not the case with this family (Barbara said that the man was crying when he handed Shelbee over), but we’ve seen far too many times that somebody is anxious to dump his/her/their old, possibly sick dog because “it’s just too much trouble/expensive”…after the poor dog has spent his or her entire life devoted to that person/family. It is to scream!

Poor Shelbee is about 18 inches at the shoulder and weighs 55 pounds! She can barely stand by herself and has a difficult time walking – her poor joints must hurt so much. We live in a 3-story house with the garage on the bottom floor, but we spend most of our time on the middle floor. I lifted Shelbee out of the back of the Pathfinder and carefully set her down on the garage floor, then walked into the house with her. She took one look at the stairs and looked at me like “…and what do you expect me to do about those?”. I had to pick the poor girl up (good thing I don’t have a bad back!) and carry her up the stairs. Happily, we have a ramp that our seniors use to go up and down the three steps from the back door into the yard. Shelbee was delighted to have that. I’m honestly very skeptical that she would be able to get down, never mind up, those three steps without help.

Why do people let their dogs get like this? (Well, even before that question, why are they so willing to dump them when they get old or sick or merely ornery? Is it our throw-away culture? Is it our insistence that “animals are [only] property” and property can be destroyed or thrown out at any time? Grrrr…) Of course, it shouldn’t be too surprising that people let their dogs get grotesquely obese. Just walk around any shopping mall and you’ll see that they do the same with themselves and their human kids. (Full disclosure: I’ve been there myself – I allowed myself to get up to 100kg [220 pounds] not that long ago, which at my 178cm [5'10"] height was in the obese range.)

Tomorrow, we’ll make a vet appointment for this very, very sweet girl so we can do a full blood panel, possibly have her teeth cleaned up a bit, and see just what’s going on with her (medically speaking). The chances are very high that she is severely hypothyroidic, as that condition is pretty much endemic in Shelties. She’ll need to be put on a serious diet for months and months. Heck, she’s got to lose at least 1/3 of her body weight, and losing ½ wouldn’t be a bad thing. Most of all, she needs a permanent, loving home who will treat her with dignity and respect – and enforce the diet – for the rest of her life (which might not be all that long).

Contact us if you would like to foster this darling girl or, better yet, adopt her (or know somebody else who’d be interested). Within a couple of days, we’ll have her on and one our own Available Shelties page at Sheltie Rescue of Utah.

On this day..

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2 comments to Shelbee

  • BluvsJ

    My impression of Shelbee having cared for her just since yesterday afternoon is that she rarely moves at all. I take her out with me when I take the other Shelties in the house out…a frequent schedule to help senior Sheltie bladders. That means helping a very reluctant, big girl stand up, and coaxing and encouraging her to the door. I think she’s enormously relieved that there’s a ramp there. The weight that would come down on her shoulders and forelegs if she stepped down even the few steps we have there would probably hurt her almost 10 year old body, a LOT. Once outside I have to coax her off of the patio…actually lead her off onto the grass. I’d love her to want to walk around a bit and sniff things…but not yet. It’s early and everything takes time. Last night I worried about her being depressed having lived with the same family all her life until coming here. I’m sure she’s wondering what it’s all about. I don’t know if she’s got a thyroid thing going on or not…I’m not seeing skin or coat issues …at least not that I’ve noticed yet. We’ll see what the blood work says… – Barbara

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