In May of 2021, a precious, ten-year-old Shepherd named Izzie came to us after her lifelong owner passed away. Understandably devastated at the loss of their relative, Izzie’s surviving family member wasn’t able to take her and was left without any legal directive for Izzie’s future or continuing care.
Luckily, Izzie safely came into our care and was medically assessed by our Veterinarians and Clinic Team. She was diagnosed with Arthritis/Degenerative Joint Disease and was given anti-inflammatories and pain management medication. Even with her medications and loving care from our Dog Care Team and Volunteers, Izzie was not eating and was showing signs of extreme stress and depression. This sweet, senior shepherd was reluctant to leave her bed and was clearly missing her beloved owner. We knew we needed to act as quickly as possible to find her a home.
That night, Michelle could not sleep for some reason. After tossing and turning, she picked up her cell phone and started scrolling through Facebook, Izzie’s adoption photo and story popped up on her screen. Michelle read it and cried at the thought of this ten-year-old dog grieving the loss of her owner so much that she stopped eating. Michelle was previously a CNA at a nursing home and is professionally familiar with caring for those that may feel abandoned and confused. At 2am, Michelle completed her adoption application online and fell asleep hoping that it would be Izzie’s last night at our shelter.
Michelle’s home sits on 22 acres, working ranch and she knows how sensitive shepherds can be. After reviewing her application, our adoption team contacted Michelle to setup a meeting. She drove to the shelter, and melted when she saw Izzie slowly walk up to her. Izzie was officially ranch-bound. Michelle’s priority was to get Izzie settled in the house and focus on improving her appetite and assess any sign of atrophy that may have developed.
“Izzie made it clear that she was my protector early on and immediately chose to sleep next to my bed. Over time, she wanted to be out in front by the window where she “kept watch” over our home and property,” – Michelle, Izzie’s Foster Mom. It apparently provided the best protective vantage point for Izzie’s night shift.
There is a big fenced in yard in the front of house as well that she can use until dawn, when all the ranch activity begins. With her food intake and rest balance back to normal, Izzie not only gained weight, her mobility increased quite a bit. Her arthritis and disk disease are chronic conditions and a regular exercise plan is important to manage pain and minimize the progression of both maladies.
She keeps up with the other dogs fairly well, considering one is a quick, wiener dog and the other two are experienced, border collies. Izzie loves to visit the other animals at feeding time and gently “influences” anyone that strays into danger. The chickens are free range, egg laying chickens and Izzie has always respected them as part of the herd and does not chase or harm them.
They are a couple of miles from the paved road but she will follow Michelle when they need to go that way. Izzie also looks forward to going to the lake with Michelle and cooling off along the shore. They both enjoy this quiet bonding time together.
When Michelle has riding students in the arena with her, Izzie lays down and quietly observes the lessons while keeping a watchful eye over the ranch for any suspicious activity. She is great with children and gently checks out returning friends and repeat visitors; as any good shepherd would do.
“Izzie is happy just being by my side, playing with all of the other animals and blissfully enjoying roaming on the vast ranch she now calls home. She is the sweetest dog I’ve ever had,” – Michelle, Izzie’s Foster. Along with Izzie’s improved health and mobility, Michelle has provided the priceless gift of family, freedom and love to this homeless Shepherd, who has forever found her “flock.”
By: Lisa Decelles, Development Coordinator
Nevada Humane Society has recently partnered with FreeWill, a service which allows pet owners to write a legal will and make other estate planning documents free of charge. It allows pet owners to ensure that their pets are with trusted people for their future.