Sheba’s Quiet Life

Things about Sheba that make me sad:

Sheba will be six years old on June 25th, at least according to her rescue records, and she will have been with us for a year and a half. I do not know a lot about dogs, just the dogs that we have had. Sometimes I wonder if she misses or missed her puppies. We know that when she was rescued she had recently given birth and was still recovering, but there were no puppies mentioned in the rescue and sixteen dogs were rescued. We do not know if that was her first litter or not, we do not know if it was a puppy mill or not. I just wonder sometimes if she misses them.

Although she lets Roger pet her, in fact she begs to be petted, she still leaves a room when he comes into it, will not eat if he is in the room, and backs up to me, or backs into my office if he approaches. We both share in walking her, she generally needs to be walked three times a day. I had shoulder surgery in early April and could not walk her and my husband did it every time, getting up early to get her out, and feeding her.

I think I have finally figured out that she will approach him when he is sitting whether at the table, at his computer or on the couch. It is when he is on his feet and moving, approaching her on foot or entering a room that she is most likely to run. He noticed that if he approaches her from either side, approaching from the right she is less likely to bolt than if he is approaching from her left. Vision? or Past experience?

Truthfully, I think that his caring for her totally while I was recovering from surgery helped her to be less wary of him, but it is still sad that despite a year and a half of a good and easy life, her past and past abuse seems to haunt her. There are occasions when she will seem afraid for no apparent reason, although I think that happens less often now.

She continues to be wary of strangers and although we need some opportunities to help her get socialized, the COVID-19 Quarantine has limited her opportunity to be exposed to our friends.

Things about Sheba that amaze me: Sheba gets “good girl” treats when we walk her and she has done what a good dog does. It is rare that she doesn’t cooperate on a walk. One thing that amazes me is how gently and carefully she takes the treats from our hands.

When we first got her, she did not seem to know what her nose was for, but now when she gets outside she seems to take great delight in sniffing every possible blade of grass. Every.

Despite her sad history, we learned last summer that Sheba likes, loves being outside. When my husband is working in the yard or the garage, she will hang out in the yard with him, on a tie out rope. She has a good length so she can move around, he makes sure she has water.

How can I possibly know that she loves being outside? She will get up when I approach and is happy to have me fuss over her a bit, but then she returns to her cozy spot in the grass. Even shaking her food dish so that she can hear the food move around in her dish, is not enough to entice her back inside the house. Perhaps that is good for my ego; there is something that she loves more than me!

She also loves being on the front porch and seems happy to watch people, dogs and cars come and go, or just suns herself.

Even though we have “invited her” she will not get on the couch or any other furniture. She is well spoiled with dog beds, but I think she could be really comfortable up there with us and curl up between us and get petted, or just snuggle. She does like close physical contact.

She does not bark! except in her sleep. It is cute and I appreciate it. We have neighbors with yappy, barky dogs who will bark at anything or anyone that moves. They have terrorized Sheba. She is bigger than they are but they scare her.

Picture  of Dog on her hind  legs, looking out the window.
Did something move out there?

All that being said, one day Sheba startled me and scared me a bit. She jumped up from her bed, ran to the other side of the room to the rear window and barked loudly, slamming into the window. I thought she was going through the window. She ran around the dining room panting, went from window to window and back again, barking and slamming into the window. There was a rabbit in her yard!

Things about Sheba that make me smile:

When we go upstairs at night for bed, she races ahead of me and then turns around on the landing to look at me. I think she looks at me with a “grandmother” kind of face and to make sure that I am actually following her, even though I am the one who started upstairs.

I take foolish, chances and take advantage of her stopping there to reach out and pet her face to face, while I am standing about 3 steps below her. That is fine as long as I don’t lose my balance, but it has become a nightly ritual.

She follows me or waits on me. When I am washing dishes, she will straddle the kitchen doorway until I am done. She will wait for me a discreet distance away when I am in the bathroom.

Perhaps like other dogs, or our other dogs, Sheba likes routine. She gets a dental treat at noon, supper at 5:00 p.m. and a rawhide treat at 7:30. Sometimes she seems to be able to tell time, other time it just seems like wishful thinking.

Picture of Sheba standing in front of me on the front porch. A large black and tan dog.
Waiting patiently

Odds and Ends

Please do not think that I never get annoyed at her, pastor, yes; saint, no. She can be very pushy and annoying when she wants something and can seem to put her entire weight into her face that she uses to push my hand. Since she gets walked three times a day, I really try to space it so it doesn’t turn into 4 times, unless the need seems great.

She is stubborn if she wants to go in one direction and not in another. She is very easily distracted, if she sees a person, or another dog, or hears a blade of grass rustle, she will forget why she was outside in the first place.

Did I say that she is afraid of small children? With the schools closed due to COVID-19, she was happy to walk around the whole perimeter of the school yard. But if kids are playing in the play ground, once she hears their voices, she will do a 180 and strain on the leash to go back the way we came.

I did say earlier that she can be annoying? Around 8:00 p.m. or a bit later, when I should have left my office and computer, she will come to get me. Pushing my hands away from the keyboard, as though she were a sheep dog and I were her sheep. She likes us all to be in the living room together in the evening, even though she will not join us on the couch. Annoying, but wise.

Misty, our Beagle adored my husband. She would often sit against him on the couch, throw her head back and look up at him and I wondered what that felt like. She never did that to me; but he was her Alpha male and I was “the other woman”.

picture of a beagle curled up at a man's feet. They are on a couch.
Misty

Sheba sits at my feet when we are on the couch and she will on occasion throw her head back and look up at me. I feel bad because she does not do that for Roger and so often ignores him. But that action, that act of adoration or something, whatever it means is quite lovely and humbling.

Not holding back the tide,

Michele

Copyright © 2020 Michele Somerville, The Beach Girl Chronicles and msomervillesite.Wordpress.com – All rights reserved.

Published by msomerville2014

About: Michele Somerville is a wife, mother, stepmother, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend. She lives with her husband and their dog Sheba. Sheba is their fourth rescue dog in 30 years. She is a retired ordained United Methodist Elder and serves two churches part-time in North Central Pennsylvania. She obtained her Bachelors’ Degree in 1999 from Mansfield University and her Master of Divinity in 2004 and Doctor of Ministry in 2016, both from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York. My Doctor of Ministry Thesis was:” Prophetic Words of Grace: Biblical Storytelling in the Local Church.” Michele began writing and performing character monologues for worship in 2008. She began by asking the question about nameless characters in the Bible, “What would they say if they could speak for themselves?” and then using her theological education and experience of the human condition to attempt an answer that is both academic and creative. Much of what you will read here are memories from growing up in a tourist town, in a bar, in the 1960’s, shaggy dog stories about our rescue dogs, life in a small town, and stories of faith and hope. Throughout her life she has lived in many states, including small towns, large towns and cities. She lived in Rota, Spain, for nine challenging months. Despite all the places she have lived since moving away from home in 1970,Michele is at the heart of all things Jack and Maggie’s daughter, and a beach girl from Onset, Massachusetts.

4 thoughts on “Sheba’s Quiet Life

  1. Sheba is a lucky dog to have such a loving home with you and Roger. Benji came into our lives 9 years ago. He is an old guy now at 14. When he first came to us, he would flinch every time my husband took off his belt. So sad!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like Sheba is lucky to have you, and you are lucky to have her. Our sweet Charlie passed away this year at almost 15 years old. He’d been with us since he was a puppy. We miss him everyday, but feel so blessed to have had so many good times and so much love and affection over the years.

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  3. Charlie was one lucky dog. They take up such important space in our lives and leave huge voids with their death. We are privileged to love and care for these souls. There was a cartoon movie, many, many years ago “All dogs Go To Heaven” I never saw the movie, but I believe it. Perhaps there will be other surprises in heaven too. But I think there is room for our dogs. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on this post Christie, I find the community connection of blogging to be inspirational and life affirming. Blessings, Michele

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