My sweet Sheba went to the bridge on Monday night. Making the decision to not put her through the trauma of another vet exam again, even though she could have hung on a little longer was one of the hardest decisions that I have ever made. While I know it was the right thing to do, I wish I could take it back. I miss her so much.
It was never my intention to adopt a second dog when she first came on the radar. In June 2001 and she and a male had been dumped at a local shelter. An independent rescuer had contacted our rescue looking for assistance in transporting both dogs from the shelter to her. I had the day off so I volunteered to help. I met her halfway, transfered the dogs and the next day I left for a business trip. I returned a few days later to disaster, a huge snafu had resulted in the male being returned to the shelter and left Sheba in limbo with a threat that she would be sold to a guard dog company. The dogs had been fine with me and I couldn't leave Sheba to that fate, so I went to the 'rescuers' house to get her and took her on as a foster. That began my life with Sheba. The little we were able to find out about her, she was 4 years old and had lived in 2 previous homes.
From the start she and Cody didn't get along, Cody was a alpha bitch who didn't want to share her house with another female. I thought Sheba would only be with me for a short time so we put gates up to keep them separated. The gates stayed up for 4 years. We had a few applicants for her, but became apparent that Sheba didn't want to leave. She started barking at strangers, basically anyone who wasn't my DD, my boyfriend or me if they came close. The rescue setup an eval with a trainer who stated that Sheba was unadoptable and should be put down. I was really in over my head, but Sheba had already wormed herself into our hearts so I adopted her and had the trainer come to work with us, to help me teach her focus. Managing a dog with fear aggression was harder and more stressful than I ever imagined it would be.
Sheba loved playing fetch and would gladly do so at every chance. She had so much energy and I think she would have been great at a sport if she had the temperament to be around people. She loved going for long walks at night. But most of all, she loved being with me. No matter what I was doing in or around the house, she was always close by. My life centered around her and her needs as her life centered around me.
This spring she started going downhill quickly after a bout with Vestibular disease. She started having a lot of problems getting up and lost a lot of muscle mass in her legs. Her back legs knuckled and crossed. When she tried to walk or run and she would fall. Playing ball was now just a memory. In June she turned 12 and just a short walk around the yard would tire her out. I bought her a harness to help her walk, she hated it. She started having fecal incontinence. With her quality of life going, I knew there was one decision left. Sheba had always been terrified at the vets, and it got worse as she aged. The vet confirmed my suspicion of a spinal cord disease and that it was getting worse rapidly. I knew it was time to let her go.
Sheba for better or worse, you had a huge impact on my life. I miss you so much. Run free and happy my girl.