Happy Anniversary Nellie

Yesterday marked the 10 year Anniversary of our dog Nellie making her home with us. When our daughter was five we thought a dog would be a good playmate for her. I personally wanted a smaller dog because I always had cats and loved to sit down and have a small furry body climb up on my lap. We went to a few shelters before ending up at the Humane Society. After awhile the noise is deafening (and depressing) when you walk down the long row of cages where the big dogs are. Our daughter wanted nothing to do with that so we ended up in the puppy/small dog room. I was looking at a few small neurotic yappers and she had her focus on a black dog in a bigger cage.

Clearly not a little puppy, they said she was around 4 months old, but we think she was probably closer to 6 months. She had only been there a week brought in from a neighboring community by an older woman who found her digging in garbage to eat. Left to her own devices at such a young age the woman essentially saved her life by bring her in. Nellie had double ear infections, worms and lice. The shelter had pondered putting her down but a girl that worked there begged for her life, giving her yet another chance. She was still quite lethargic and just lied in her cage. My daughter goes for the docile creature and stuck her hand in the cage. One lick was all it took and the kid was hooked. Hubby and I were not so sure, still having my heart set on a lap dog.

We took her out for a brief walk, she had only been leash trained for a week. She immediately did a submissive pee, poor thing. After the walk we left without her......still thinking. We had to act like rational adults here and think about what we would be up against. We went out and bought a bed, dishes, toys, and food. That's how we work as rational adults. We were back at the shelter right before closing and brought our Nellie home. That night both dog and daughter lied on the floor and watched TV.

The first 6 months were hard. Imagine training a older puppy that it is NOT acceptable to relieve yourself wherever you are, even if that's inside the house. We tried the crate thing but she hated it and started pawing at crying until someone finally let her out. So just like having a newborn again we were up letting her outside. We found poop in our daughter's room on her Hot Wheel track. A bean bag chair in her room had been used for a potty patch for quite awhile before I discovered it by accident (kneeling on it). We also learned that canned dog food will give a puppy diarrhea. After my last episode of cleaning that up in the middle of the night in tears, I decided she had to go. I called the shelter in the morning to talk to the girl that had spared her life and damn....she wasn't working that day. Not wanting to sound heartless we decided to hang in there with her a little longer.

Clearly she was meant to be with us because of her gentle and frightened nature. She would not survive (happily) anyway with anyone else, especially with someone like our favorite hated neighbor.

We've been through the basic training thing, again not easy with a non-puppy. We had to do one-on-one training at home with a mean German woman. We would be $10,000 richer if I had the camera rolling for Funniest Home Videos the day I was running backwards to get her to follow me for a 'come' command and landed in my daughter's wading pool. I whacked the back of my head on the hard plastic and my sandles were knocked clean off my feet. Mean German woman was stifling the biggest laugh I'm sure.

Our world is richer because of her. She has gotten my butt off the couch for 10 years walking, something I would not have done without her. She's my companion when I go shopping or run errands if the weather is not too hot or cold. She loves her entire bench seat in the back of the van. We have even removed one of the middle bucket seats making it easier for her to jump in.

She's slowed down a bit in the past few years, napping most of the day. She has cataracts although not sure to what degree. A bad case of colitis is evident at least once a week where she won't eat, although she makes up for it the next day. And just like my husband and I she gets her daily dose of glucosamine and chondroitin for her joints.

She's always ready for a walk though but I think she does it just to get my butt up and moving. So in the beginning we may have saved her life but in the long run she has saved ours.


Grumpy said…
Nellie found the best home for her. Both of your lives are richer for having found each other.
fernvalley01 said…
you saved her and she saved you right back! ("pretty woman " quote ) She sounds like a wonderful dog
Anonymous said…
Think how boring your life would have been without her - a lap dog would simply have laid in your lap. Nellie has made herself a part of your family and given you many moments of laughter.
ethelmaepotter! said…
You've brought tears to my eyes. This story is familiar because, as you may remember, I have lived with 2 puppy mill dogs for almost a year now, and it's still a trial. The submissive peeing and pooping? Been there, done that. (Them, not me.) Peeing wherever? Yep. Crate training didn't work? I know all about it. And yes, I've been to the point where I tearfully knew I had to let them go. But every time I reached that point, that commercial about abused animals, the one with the Sarah McLaughlin song, would come on tv. Like a SIGN.

I can't let them go. They need me. And I need them.

Nellie, darlin', you are one lucky dog. Ditto for your pet.

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