Sometimes, it seems like certain dogs come in and are gone again without anyone really noticing. Shelley was not large, not loud, not overly cute and not outgoing - very little to grab your attention. Most of the time, she sat in her kennel, shaking anxiously and shying away from anyone trying to interact with her. Of course, that's pretty much exactly the kind of dog that I'm drawn to.
After sitting with her a while, I decided to try taking her out with Engel; not only because I thought she'd be a good influence, though. The shelter was filling up quickly - so many new dogs and cats were being brought in or dropped off, and precious few were being reclaimed, rescued or adopted. When I had arrived that day, I had no idea that Engel was going to be rescued. All I knew was that it was her last day there, come what may. And come what may, I was determined that her last day would not be a lonely one.
The first time Engel boldly stuck her nose in Shelley's face, Shelley snarled and gave a menacing growl. I calmly told her to stop, and she did so instantly. Looking from me to the large German Shepherd and back, it took her a moment to realize that all three of us were de facto in the same "pack," and she was the youngest and newest. As soon as it "clicked" with her, she relaxed and fell in stride with us as we walked outside. The difference between "outside the pack" and "inside the pack" was so drastic with her, I honestly got a lump in my throat. Engel wasn't going to make it easy on her, though, and repaid Shelley's earlier bad attitude by merrily jumping over the shorter dog again and again as we ambled along.
After their initial rocky start, I kept a weather eye on the two dogs as we started to play. At one point, the usually shy Engel boldly strode up to Shelley and unexpectedly asserted her higher status. Even more surprising, Shelley assumed the attitude of "yep, you're the bigger dog," without any hesitation or fuss (I actually managed to catch that exchange on video). And by the time we were ready to head back inside, Shelley was timidly smiling, face-licking and wagging her tail.
I was shocked to find a couple of days later that Shelley had been put to sleep; kennel space had again become a rare commodity, and apparently she hadn't warmed up to anyone else enough to make adoption appear even a remote possibility. All in all, she'd only been there a few days, and she didn't really even make a significant impression on the majority of the people who passed through.
But I noticed.
That's the main reason for this web log. For the ones here who embark on a new life with a rescue, foster family, or a lifetime adopted pack, this is just a chapter for them in a much longer story. I cherish every footprint they leave here, make no mistake. The others, however, don't get to keep writing their stories; this is their final chapter. And no matter how the story unfolded from one animal to the next, the last line should be the same for all: "In the end, they were loved, and they will be remembered."