Lucy, our oldest sheltie, passed away last month. She was 13. We are still deeply missing her. She got more cards and emails than I ever expect to generate when it is my turn to leave this earth.
Lucy was five when one of my ex-choral students rescued her from a dark, dirty cellar where she had spent the first 5 years of her life. Lucy weighed just 17 pounds when she was brought to us, was just loaded with fleas, had several fiery red hot spots on her body, and was extremely dehydrated. She was so filthy from years of no bathing that there was no white visible on her coat. She stunk so badly that we instantly had to bathe her just to see what was wrong with her skin.
Next she was taken to our vet, so he could check her out carefully, and to be sure the patchy spots on her were not some sort of mange. Since we had other dogs, we had to keep them separated from her until we were sure what skin diseases she had.
Back at home, tar baths became a regular procedure until her skin began to clear a bit. We put her on Front Line, and Heart Guard once we got the okay from the vet to do so. She was not spayed and couldn't be for a time because she was too weak and also in heat.
Week by week, she began to gain weight, her coat slowly became healthy, and we were finally able to have her neutered. There was a sadness about Lucy for several months...a depression of sorts because her life had been so horrid in the cellar. She was afraid to go outside because she had not been exposed to that much light, so it took some time for her to get used to enjoying the outdoors. Eventually her depression began to lift and this look of joy came over her face...this special light in her eyes. She began to enjoy life.
Even with all the negatives that happened for those first five years, Lucy was the gentlest sheltie of all the ones we have had or presently have. She loved children (unlike many shelties who tend to be skittish around little ones), and was always happiest resting her chin on someone's foot.
We are very thankful for our wonderful gift. She turned out to be the most expensive free dog we ever rescued but worth a million times what we ever spent on her. She gave us love, joy, and tons of kisses in her short time with us. May she rest in quiet peace mixed with tons of security and love. We miss you, Lucy.