Shelby the Hand Jiving Westie

Jun 18, 2016 | 2016 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures, Lee Juslin

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.


Playing handjive with daddy

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.”


Shelby going after a squirrel

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.

Want to know how to see your ad like this at the end of an article? Email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] for more info. 10% of all ad sales goes to animal rescue.

Lee Juslin is a free lance copywriter living in North Carolina with her husband, Scott, and her band of misfits: Tarquin, a Wheaten Scottish Terrier, and three handicapped cats. They can be seen on their website: Hampshire Hooligans. She owns I B Dog Gone, a small embroidery business and is the author of the Nurse Frosty books for children and Frosty’s Story: Tales of a Therapy Dog. She supports a number of national and regional terrier rescue organizations.


  1. In the face of Malessezia and the accompanying secondary infections, I can understand why/how the hyperthyroidism may have been missed, and surrendering to rescue was IMPO a very responsible act on the part of the owner who found herself in a ‘Life Happens’ situation and put the dog before her own issues rather than selfishly muddling thru not being able to care for Shelby in the manner in which she had become accustomed. I’m grateful to SSWR for their diligent and expensive efforts to resolve her issues and find a home where she is still, in her own way, providing ‘Therapy’ to the people she meets in her new environment.

  2. Ooooh, I’m so happy she is in her forever home now!! She looks so happy!!


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