“Shelby’s Story” by Alicia Levin

In June 2015, my husband and I adopted our first dog, a lab/pit mix puppy we named Shelby. Two years later, we still ask ourselves: who rescued whom? We moved to Houston during a terrible flood over Memorial Day weekend 2015, the same storm that swept Shelby and her sister puppy away from their mama. At some point, she was picked up in Missouri City and eventually came up for adoption. When we met her in the shelter, we both felt the energy and love emanating from this seven-pound puppy, and there really was no question about it. She was already part of our little family. I’m still so grateful to have her in our home. In the months before we met Shelby, my husband and I had lost our first baby, stillborn at 5 months, while living in Kansas. Soon after, he was transferred to Houston, and we began the process of leaving a home we loved. Our hearts were still hurting so much, but this little pooch knew just what we needed: snuggles and kisses and most of all, a creature to love and care for. I often say that although we may have rescued her, she saved us right back. Even as a grown-up doggy, Shelby has a sense for human emotion, and she will cuddle and lick anybody with a secret worry or sadness. At fifty pounds, she’s rather large to curl up in your lap, but there really is no turning away the Shelby treatment.

In December last year, we were blessed to welcome our daughter Juliette, and we couldn’t wait to introduce the baby to Shelby, her “big sister.” Since their first meeting, Shelby has taken her job very seriously, and now that Juliette is big enough to interact with her, we can tell that these two are going to be awfully good friends. Juliette thinks Shelby’s licks are hilarious, and Shelby protects her baby by standing at attention whenever a stranger approaches.

As I write this, Shelby is licking my toes as if she knows I’m talking about her. In a few minutes, she’ll demand a head scratch and then a belly rub, and if she’s really in a mood, she’ll insist on playtime outside. It’s hot out, but a quick game of chase makes her so happy. It’s easy to show Shelby how much she is loved, and every wag of her tail assures me that it’s mutual. How lucky that in the midst of our sadness, a homeless puppy needed us as much as we needed her!

~Shelby now lives happily with her parents and Juliette, her new little sister in Fort Bend County, Texas.




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