Dogs have always been part of my life; a love passed down from generation to generation. Protracted unemployment in the early 90s required some creativity. Thus, my pet care business was born.
This is a continuing series.
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CHAPTER SIX: SHEEBA
Her people, Sue and Sandy, travelled frequently, so Sheeba was a regular house guest, from the time she was 18 months old.
Quite a sight with that woolly coat; she was the quintessential “shaggy dog”. Grooming was an issue, because , as we soon found out ourselves, she didn’t take kindly to it. Had in fact, been banned by every parlour in the area!
This was a bit of a dilemma, so Sandy took it upon himself, but, sadly, he wasn’t very good at it. Poor Sheeba always looked a mess! Hubby and I both gave it a try and got bitten for our troubles. She had a sore spot, (we never figured out why or exactly where), on one of her back legs and if anyone touched that area, she didn’t hesitate to sink her teeth in. Ouch!
Sheeba was fine with the other house dogs, otherwise she would have been banned here, too. One notable exception was a Shepherd/Husky mix named Pearson, who came looking for trouble. She ended up on her back, with a nip to the leg! Thankfully, it was just superficial and Pearson recovered quickly, but, she never again attempted to disturb the “Grande Dame”!
Although Sheeba was mellow with her fellow guests, (Pearson excepted), it was a whole different story outside the home. If any strange dogs dared to come near her while she was walking on leash, they were subjected to ominous growling and gnashing of teeth. No fooling around!
One day, I was alone with her and headed for the back field of the school, near my house. A man was there, playing “fetch” with his dog, so we turned around and went the other way. Damned if he didn’t follow me, with his dog still loose! Steeling myself for the inevitable, I gripped the leash hard and called out to him.”Please hold your dog! This one doesn’t like to be approached.” With a puzzled look on his face, he did what I asked and came forward slowly. “She’s friendly and just wants to say hello. That’s why I followed you”, he said. “Idiot!” was my silent thought, but aloud I reiterated my previous comment and added, “this is why we changed direction.” It continually perplexes me how some people can be so reckless!
We had another frequent house guest named Sasha, who was a miniature replica of Sheeba. The two of them got along famously and people everywhere commented on the resemblance. Sheeba and her “Mini-me” made everyone smile.
As Sheeba aged, her back end became quite rickety, and she needed a little boost to get up from the floor. Once upright, her motor skills were good enough to walk outside, do her business and come back in without falling. Appetite and sense of smell both remained strong and even though she was hard of hearing, somehow, the sounds of doggie dinner prep woke her up, every time.
She was a mid-sized dog and weighed about 50 lbs., so we were all amazed by how well she was doing at age 18. That’s over 100 in human years!
The inevitable did come, about 6 months after her last visit. Sandy phoned to tell me and, although it was a sad moment, we also marvelled at the fact that she had enjoyed such a long and healthy life. It seems to be true that mixed breeds fare better than purebreds in this respect.
She was such a large part of our lives for over 16 years!
Things just aren’t the same around here without her.
Miss you, Sheeba!
© D.D.B. 2013