On a Wednesday morning about eight years ago, before going to work at Morgan’s Canoe & Outdoor Adventures in Indiana, I went to White’s Sale Barn. There I saw two little farm girls with half a dozen of the cutest free puppies. I took one of the precious hounds into my arms and rubbed my cheek against his long soft puppy ear. Before leaving I asked one of the girls if she wanted to say goodbye, “Nah, just take him” she said. That summer Shelton grew up on the river, camping and learning how to stick around (mostly) from the dogs on the property. Most importantly, he learned how to hunt. Shelton loved to chase squirrels. He liked rabbits, chipmunks, skunks, rats, mice, voles, and moles as well, but nothing caught his attention and brought him to great lengths of patience like the squirrel.
Some of my favorite memories with Shelton are going on hikes, bike rides, and walks in the gorge with my dad. Shelton had personality and he made sure you knew what he wanted. His high pitched cry, his loud bark, the sound he made when you rub his ear the right way are sounds that I hope those who knew him can look back on with laughter. My soul dog, Shelton was the sweetest boy, always by my side through ups and downs, sitting on my lap and licking the tears off my face.
Earlier this spring, Shelton came down with a cough. It gradually progressed, got better with some treatment and then slowly got worse again. Last week I took Shelton back to the vet when he started breathing heavy and stopped eating. After an overnight at the hospital, we tried different medication but his condition continued to deteriorate the rest of the week. Sunday afternoon Shelton passed away. My heart still aches for my best friend, but I smile thinking of the good times, knowing I’ll see him again if only in my dreams by the rainbow fountain.
This was completely unexpected and traveling, I do not have access to all pictures of Shelton. In this slideshow, there are some older pictures but most are from the past two years. Shelton traveled with me almost everywhere and loved many different people. If you have a picture or a memory of Shelton, I would love to hear it, please share!
Shelton will forever be part of Alaska. I’m comforted by the fact that he has a good place to rest, in a meadow in the woods, with lots of squirrels and birds around to keep him company. Easily one of the hardest things I’ve done, I’m thankful Fitzroy was by my side to bring me comfort and show respect for his friend.