Once or twice upon a time, I have mentioned ‘the sheltie.’ When I found my now husband’s profile on a dating website, one of his criteria was – “Love me, love my dogs.” He has been the proud dad of a number of dogs, almost all of them shelties. When we met he had two, Tucker and Dusty. Tucker was an aloof tricolour, mainly black. I’ll save his story for another time, as I don’t have access to one of his pictures at the moment.
Dusty was a timid blue merle who only trusted his Dad. He tolerated me for more than two years before he would even come to me. Hubby always wanted a merle and found an ad for one on the net. He bought the boy, sight unseen. The ‘breeder’/owner put him on a plane to Winnipeg. Hubby was living in Dryden at the time and drove the four+ hours to the airport to pick him up in early January. The poor guy was filthy, hair matted, covered in feces, dehydrated, teeth misshapen from chewing on the wire of his cage since puppy hood. As a result he always had horrible breath. We later learned he was kept in a travel kennel since he was weaned and used as a stud. Being too big for the breed to show, he threw litters that inherited his ‘large’ genes, hence the reason for his sale. He didn’t know how to bark, or play, or fetch and trusted no one. It took hubby a year, and one scary escape for four days to finally earn Dusty’s trust.
Once we moved to the Lower Mainland he became a different dog. We suspect it had much to do with his progressing cataracts. A number of times when hubby walked the boys and stopped to talk to a neighbour, Dusty would get confused when the conversation ended and follow the neighbour as they parted. He had the softest hair on his face and ears. He would come to the couch when Dad was watching tv and rest his head in dad’s lap and let him stroke and gently pull on his cheeks and loose skin between and above his eyes.
The summer he was going on fourteen he got into something that gave him the trots. The smell attracted flies that resulted in flystrike. Even though we got him to the vet in good time, because of his age and health, the vet suggested that treating the condition probably would be extremely expensive and wouldn’t prolong his life much as he was also experiencing kidney failure. We miss him very much.