About five years ago I noticed that my beautiful Sheltie mix Jessie was missing the company of her sister, my daughter’s dog Aidenne. My daughter brought Aidenne with her when she moved away from home, leaving Jessie to mope. I searched the rescues that were within driving distance and found the purebred Sheltie she is watching over in the above photo, St. Bob who was rescued from a puppy mill. The two became friends, and it wasn’t long before I was taking them to events and parades together. St. Bob was somewhat crippled from his years in a cage, so he rode in a wagon on longer walks.
I was told by the rescue that St. Bob was six years old. Probably they truly didn’t know he was closer to nine, as the puppy mill owners likely lied to them. What was more important than that though was the fact that he had a congenital health problem aside from his skeletal deformities. He always coughed, and from my experience as a dog groomer I assumed it may have been due to the occasional ingestion of his own hair, and/or possibly a pulmonary problem. He was a sweet dog though, and the bond between him and Jessie was obvious in the five years he was with us. In the past month I noticed he was aging quickly, and could no longer jump onto his favorite loveseat and sleep with his Teddy bear. Two weeks ago though, Jessie’s friend began to have seizures, a precursor to his imminent demise. It was determined that at the age of fourteen, St. Bob had to be euthanized due to kidney failure. Jessie went back into her depressive state.
As fate would have it, My daughter and her husband moved into a house where pets were not allowed. Aidenne returned to live with us, but Jessie still mourned the loss of St. Bob. A week ago I remembered the coupler and how I trained them to walk together a few years earlier on a gang line. Right at first the pair seemed to be working against each other. Aidenne on the left in the above picture was moving a lot faster than her depressed sister was, and it took them a least a mile to walk more in synchronization. Just yesterday there was a Canine Carnival at the boarding and grooming facility I used to work at in Pocatello, so I loaded them into my car with the gang line. My daughter-in-law came with me with my grandson and their chihuahua mix and fun was had all around. Jessie and Aidenne won a round of musical hula hoops and scored a box of homemade dog treats. Afterward we walked at Sacajawea Park on the Portneuf River, and the girls settled into a more comfortable pace.
I don’t know how long Aidenne will be with us, but so far her presence has begun to help Jessie with her depression. Dogs, like people, are capable of very strong emotions and my sweet lady friend is no exception. Jessie and Aidenne will turn nine this summer though, so part of me hopes she will live out her life here. A friend is an asset with unmeasurable value, even if she is your sister.