by Lee Juslin
Shelby was an owner surrender to Sunshine State Westie Rescue (SSWR), a relatively new rescue organization in Florida.At eight years old, Shelby had a number of medical issues including a severe yeast infection (Malassezie Dermatitis), an associated ear infection and an eye infection. Plus, she felt so bad, she showed no energy or interest in anything, but, most shockingly, Shelby was a certified therapy dog. The owner’s story was that she had broken her arm and could no longer take care of Shelby.The SSWR volunteers had a big job ahead in getting Shelby well, but working with their vet they gradually got her medical issues under control, and this once sad little Westie is today happy and healthy and has been adopted into a home where she is loved and cared for. Her adopter’s vet diagnosed her with hypothyroidism, which he felt was the underlying cause of her yeast infections and treating it has eliminated her recurring infections.
Shelby loves chasing squirrels and playing with her toys and her brother. She loves cuddling and is particularly fond of men. She especially loves going for walks around her neighborhood where this once working therapy dog serves as the neighborhood ambassador greeting everyone she sees. Shelby is particularly fond of belly rubs but if you stop, she will put her paw on your arm asking for more. He new people call this Shelby’s version of “Hand Jive.” Author’s Note: While I’ve done a lot of profiles of dogs being brought back from severe illnesses by dedicated rescue groups and while each of these is meaningful and heartwarming, I find Shelby’s story particularly upsetting. Having had the privilege of working with a certified therapy dog for ten years and seeing first hand what a treasure these dogs are, I am beyond appalled at what happened to Shelby and I find the forgiving nature of dogs in the face of such human ugliness, humbling.
You can learn more about Sunshine State Westie Rescue on their FB page. Volunteer, make a contribution, apply to adopt a rescued Westie, or sign up to be a foster parent which are sorely needed at this young rescue: SSWR on Facebook.
Check out more animal rescue & therapy animal stories in our Pets section.