Right after Boomer died in October, I knew we needed another Sheltie. Mostly for Milli, who would not fare well as a "only dog" (although Cosmo is still with us, he's not much of a playmate and stays pretty stationary except for meals).
So, I started scouring Sheltie sites. No eligible dogs at Triangle Sheltie Rescue. No puppies available for purchase within driving range. But I heard about a breeder south of Raleigh that might have some puppies in a few weeks.
When I emailed Diane, she told me that she had a two-year-old small Sheltie available for purchase. The dog had just weaned her first litter of puppies and would not be bred again. Some of the puppies had heart problems. So we made the one hour trip to see her the Sunday after Boomer's untimely death.
"Zen" immediately snuggled into my lap and sat quietly, letting me pet her and stroke her wiry fur. I really like soft fur and she was kind of a mess coat-wise. The breeder told me she hadn't been bathed since the puppies were born (more than six weeks). I also love sable Shelties and this was a blue merle...lots of spots and she was mostly black and white with just touches of brown.
But she was so sweet. And I was in such anguish over Boomer that we took her home that day.
"Zen" just didn't seem right for her. She was more high spirited than zen-like. And though her AKC papers listed her name as "Zazen" I knew I wanted to choose a better name. I worried that after two years that she wouldn't be easily changed, but I soon realized that "Zen" (or Zen-i-fur as her breeder momma called her) didn't really respond to her name anyway.
She had been raised with other dogs, had never lived in a house, was not housebroken and was a bit meek. What she COULD do was walk in a show ring, stand out with her back legs and look gorgeous. She was the pin up girl for October in the Florida Sheltie calendar!
When we got home, she was completely bewildered. Here was a big open space, a different house and none of her playmates in sight. Only a jumpy puppy and and grumpy old gentleman.
We found out instantly that she had never climbed stairs and wanted nothing to do with them. It took three long weeks of carrying her up and down our three flights of stairs to teach her how to do it. Now she bounds up and down with Sheltie energy!
She had been fed one cup of dry food each night at 9 pm when she went to bed. So I dutifully fed her
that familiar food for the first day, but after that, I switched her to our regular gourmet diet of lamb and roast and organic chicken and pureed veggies and brown rice and yogurt. She adapted INSTANTLY. What a surprise. Now she is a regular chow hound and has even learned to Sit, Wait and EAT on command. We even started agility training two weeks ago!
But her name. Zen wasn't right. Maybe it was Shelby. Or maybe it was Lexie. We spent a few days trying on Lexie and I just couldn't get it out of my mouth. I called her Lacie, like the Sheltie next door who had recently died of cancer, just like my precious Boomer. She looked like a fancy Lion Fish, so I investigated possibilities using a Lion Fish name. No go. I couldn't decide. And felt bad that I was changing her name at all, given all the other changes in her life -- no puppies, different house, new food, new humans.
And then, one afternoon, about a week after she arrived, I realized that she was a Sophie. It fit perfectly. She WAS Sophie. It took me two weeks to remember it, but when we took her with us to Tennessee, I nicknamed her Soffers and it has been Soffers ever since.
Last weekend, she went into heat again. I was shocked. The breeder told us to spay her in three months and it's only been seven weeks since we took her home. So I made an appointment to have her spayed tomorrow but worried about it. There is more danger of blood loss when surgery is done while the dog is in heat. And I wanted a second opinion.
So I took Milli to a new vet today- Brian Lapham at South Point Animal Hospital near Southpoint Mall. He was WONDERFUL with Milli, who was having some limping in her back leg. Nothing wrong with Milli but when I mentioned the spaying, he recommended against it.
Then when he called tonight with the results of some tests on Milli (all negative thank goodness), I mentioned the time frame of Sophie's heat again and he was immediately concerned. He believes it maybe be an uterine infection - specifically the lining of the endometrium. So I am rushing her in tomorrow for an appointment. Will let you know how it goes.
In the meantime, little Soffers and Milli and Cosmo are all sleeping on the kitchen floor at my feet. It's good to have Shelties. It's good to have dogs. And one of these days, I will actually bury Boomer's ashes and let him go. My heart is full.