a reply to: Kharron
I didn't take it that way (both Kharron and Slap).
We also have two other dogs. The first one (the ACD) we got to keep Shelby company and be her companion, and boy were they ever! They were
practically inseparable. He loved her probably almost as much as I did. He had way too much excess energy for her so we got another pup (the Aussie
Shepard) to keep up with him, which worked out great.
Sure, they help cushion the loss some, but Shelby was my champ and my superstar. For her first year she spent practically every minute (except work)
by my side...she went everywhere with me, she was almost glued to me.
When I went to look at the litter she was from I had sworn to the wife (and myself) I wouldn't get a (another) female. This, for a whole variety of
reasons, not the least of which they just absolutely melt your heart. Anyway, I show up and I'm looking over the dogs; it was a litter of 9 pups.
One of them is a GIANT compared to the others, fully 3+" taller. This dog see's me and it's instantly glued to me, it just would not leave me alone.
At one point I asked the breeder to remove this dog so I could look at the rest of them. Seven others were solid Labs with excellent features, all of
them champs and there was one runt (whom I'm sure made someone a great dog too). This other dog though, the one I'd had removed (a female) was like
Conan the Barbarian compared to Pee Wee Herman. She had a build like I'd never seen before! And when they let her go, she came right back over and
would NOT leave me alone. If that little monster-pup could have spoken she would have screamed "I'M GOIN' HOME WITH THIS GUY!! NO IF'S, AND'S OR
. I had bred, raised and professionally trained Labs for years, and this is something you don't ignore.
She was clearly the pick of the litter hands-down. She made the decision, not me.
When I put her in the truck she came over and sat up on the seat right next to me, so close I had to put my arm around her just so it wasn't on top of
her. She never whimpered, not once. ALL pups whimper when the sudden realization they've been removed from Mama and brethren...ALL of them! But not
this one! Nope, she made her choice and she never looked back for even one instant. No separation anxiety, nothing. She was that way her whole
life. Never complained once.
And that's how she rolled her entire life. My wife called her my 'other wife' for a time, but she eventually melted her heart into a puddle.
And smart? Oh my gawd, I've never raised a dog so smart. By 4 months she was doing double water retrieves, by 5 months she was doing selective blind
retrieves (throw out 3 dummies and tell her which one to bring back first...WITH hand signals!!) I kid you not! Never saw another dog do that, not
at that age! She was hunting actual birds by 6.5 months...and training other dogs by 1 year. This was not your average Lab by a long, long, shot!
By 1 year she was cross-trained in both waterfowl and upland hunting. Her eyes, nose and ears were spectacular (you hardly ever see eyes and ears
both be that good, it's usually one or the other). She could find stuff I absolutely swore no dog on Earth would find. She wasn't afraid of
anything, nothing scared her, and she was a bruiser of a dog too. She spent much of her adult life at about 115 lbs. which is an absolute GIANT of a
Labrador, and just off the charts for a female. And she was tough as nails too. An ordinary field dog might make a couple hours in corn stalks, but
she could go all day in that stuff. Everybody else would be cut to ribbons and exhausted. Shelby would be skinned up, but you couldn't drag that dog
back into the truck, she'd have none of it! There were birds in there, and she was goin' back in until there weren't any left. Period.
She was really sumthin'. One of those really, really, rare ones you hardly ever come across.
And even after all that, I'd get her home and people would think she was the biggest lovable "lap-dog" they ever saw. She didn't have a mean or
aggressive bone in her body. She'd come in the house and go jump right in my wife's lap like "Missed you Mom, love you to death...can I have a
...all 115 lbs of her.
I could go on for weeks, or even months, singing Shelby's virtues.
Saying goodbye to her was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my entire life.