An Alberta Sheltie Rescue Success Story
Spirit was adopted as a pup by a young girl who did not realize how active a Sheltie would be and how much training, grooming and attention they needed. When he was 2 years old she gave him to what she thought was a good farm family.
Spirit spent the next 2 years chained up most of the time with a heavy chain, which was actually welded to his collar or locked in a Quonset. If he did manage to get loose he chased the cows and was generally a nuisance (which was why he was chained up in the first place). Finally the husband was fed up with the dog and threatened to shoot him if they could not find another home for him. The wife called a rescue group in a nearby city and brought the dog to them 2 days later.
Spirit ‘s collar and chain were imbedded in his neck and he had a lot of scarring on his face. His coat was a mess and he was a sad little dog. The rescue used bolt cutters to get the collar off his neck and he started to show some of his doggy personality. He had fleas, and lice and his ears were badly infected. His butt hair was matted and tangled with feces and had to be cut short. He had a couple of baths to get the barn smell off him and the whole time he stood perfectly still as if he realized this lady was going to make everything better for him. He would not eat from a bowl, paced and tried to get out of the house and seemed like a dog with a broken spirit, getting very nervous when approached or touched and making no eye contact.
The rescuer felt that even though he was in rough shape there was a sweet boy inside with loads of potential just looking for somebody to love despite how he had been treated. They got in touch with sheltie rescue and he was picked up and brought to Calgary. He got more baths and treatment for the fleas and his ears cleaned of the gunk in them and treated and when he was dewormed they found about every kind of worm in his gut that you could name! The lesions on his face were determined to be Dermatomyositis (a genetic autoimmune disorder) made worse by no treatment and his neglected state.
Thru all this Spirit’s personality started to shine thru and he was moved to one of the rescue's foster homes. Within a few hours the foster family wanted to adopt him! It was his 4th birthday and he had found his forever home. And he had a new name: Spirit! Now he is healthy and warm and well fed and has another sheltie to play with and other family dogs who visit.
Considering what he went thru in his early life you would think that Spirit would be a damaged dog but he has a wonderful personality and always wants lots of pets and cuddles. He is a big boy and a bit clumsy but he has been doing agility training for a while and knows most of the equipment. Pretty soon we will see him in agility trials! Everybody loves him and he loves everybody.
An interesting side note – 2 years later Sheltie Rescue took in another dog who turned out to be a half sibling of Spirit (but different litter) He too had DM which was treated; he too has a wonderful personality and welcomes everybody.