Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Shayla's Story

Last year we did a LOT of fostering for the Idaho Humane Society. Just when I'd gotten the last kitten and last puppy adopted, the carpet cleaners had come, and it appeared things woold settle down, they called about a puppy. Did I want to take in a 6 month old Australian Shepherd who was underweight (only 17 pounds)? I really did expect to think about it - I told them I would come see her. I called my boyfriend to go with me, thinking he'd help veto the puppy. I actually thought we might not bring her home, I was going to see how she was. But of course, what actually happened is I took one look at her, picked her up, carried her out, and that was that.

We named her Shayla. We tried a bunch of names, and that one seemed to stick. She responded to it more than the others. She was super sweet with the dogs and the cats, and she was extremely well behaved. She'd clearly never been in a house and she LOVED to get on the furniture. She was exceptionally polite, never begged for food, and in fact I had to coax her to eat. She did begin to put on some weight, and also to learn some games. She was very protective of me and the car. She was submissive to the other dogs, but also not at all timid or fearful. She Was a GREAT dog and I found myself very in love, very quickly. I was worried...we might have to keep this one. We'd made it through so many without adding any to our family, and I didn't want to break down and do so...but how could we give her up? It would have to be to just the right home.

There was a very nice couple who'd adopted a kitten from me and mentioned they were going to get a dog, and I thought they would be a good match. I emailed them and waited to see if they wanted to meet her.

Meanwhile, she took a turn for the worse. She was throwing up and seemed feverish. I called the Humane Society clinic and they said it might be Parvo. I knew if it was, they'd want to put her down. I was prepared to take her to a private clinic and pay whatever was necessary. I would never let them put her down. I was seriously worried. I kept her locked in my car while we waited for the test results, so I was ready to leave with her if necessary. The test was negative. Whew! She got better quickly. She began to gain weight again.

The couple came, fell in love, and adopted her. They were nice enough to bring her back to visit now and then. She thrived for several months. Then one night I got a panicked phone call. Shayla was chasing the cat, jumped on the couch, and got her front legs caught in the cushions when she tried to jump off. Her body went over, and in the process she snapped both her front legs. They were broken, and she was in agony. (X-ray above of one of the legs). Fortunately, her adopted dad was there to see it, and he called his wife and they raced her to the emergency clinic. Unfortunately, it was 45 minutes away.

Shayla was a trooper. She must have been in terrible pain, but she laid quietly until they could get her painkillers. She then had to have braces, metal pins, and casts. It was nearly $2,500 before it was over. Her parents were advised they could put her down, but thankfully they didn't. They loved her and they did the right thing and made sure that she got the care she needed. For eight weeks they lugged her in for checkups, helped her recover with stiff heavy casts on her legs, and took excellent care of her. She made a complete and total recovery.

I still miss her sometimes, including today.

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