A dog is found tied to a fence in a Shell station. She ends up in a shelter and because of her background she is named "Shelby". Like all dogs in a shelter, Shelby has a story that she cannot tell. However, her wounds, her mental attitude and her permanent neurological damage to her back leg certainly provide an insight that if she could talk; her story would be a sad one.
Unfortunately for Shelby life is not going well for her in the shelter. Although under the compassionate care of the employees and the volunteers she does not eat very much at all, she hardly wants to go out for a walk and her sores are getting worse from lying on concrete. Yet Shelby remains such an inspiration to one volunteer. Every time he sees her, his heart is filled with joy and she seems to perk up a little. The relationship they have is one that serves each other with basic needs of love and compassion.
After more than eight months in the shelter Shelby is continuing to falter. She eats even less and is obviously depressed. The volunteer visits one day and realizes that one of the connections between the two is that he too battles anxiety and depression. He is off on yet another stretch of time in which he will not be able to see much of her due to his professional responsibilities, so his eyes well up as he walks away. Questions come to his mind. Is it possible to adopt this wonderful dog into his family? As a prospective dog trainer, he also thinks of the possibilities of Shelby becoming an inspiration to so many people as well.
On August 10, 2008 Shelby walks out of the shelter cage she called home for the last time. Fortunately she was going to a home forever. The volunteer came to realize that they needed each other so much that he had to bring her home.
You probably guessed by now that the volunteer is me, (Joe)
Shelby has really flourished in only two weeks time. She has gained some weight and she loves to romp around the yard with her brothers and sister (our other dogs); and going for long walks are a pleasure for her as well. In the evenings she curls up and sighs with relief that she has a place where she will not only receive love but be able to give it as well.
Home Sweet Home — AMEN
Shelby may have a future as a therapy dog, but my hope and prayer is that her story of adoption may inspire others to volunteer in shelters and to adopt a dog from one.
As the saying goes: I am not sure who rescued who.
Deacon Joe Dwyer
Copyright Mary Cody. All rights reserved.