Boxer Tales Part 2 – Shaylea

IMG_4116 (002) Shaylea's portrait by Mark

Photo portrait of Shaylea by Mark Winslet

Within two years of divorce, I saved enough money to move myself and the dogs out of our little bungalow into a new home with a fenced in back yard and pool.  I got a promotion and a fresh start. I graduated from eating beanie weenies with boxed wine, or no wine, to fresh fish and a decent bottle every now and then. I still washed and reused baggies, though.  Being broke will make an environmentalist out of you. Life was good.

By this time, my little father and son Lhasa Apsos were in their senior days.  They died within 3 months of each other, leaving Buster the lone dog.  I went in search of a companion through Mississippi Boxer Rescue. Buster and I drove 3 hours to Ocean Springs. Shaylea was a year old and being  “re-homed” because her family was transferring overseas and didn’t want her quarantined. Shaylea and Buster hit it off, and home we went. Buster resumed his position in the front passenger seat and Shaylea got in the back. She was a bit anxious and threw-up on the way home. But she was good, and I wished I could tell her family they made the right decision.

When Shaylea first saw the yard, she darted out the back door, over-looking the pool between the patio and the grassy field.  At first I thought she was deliberately going for the water as she jumped and belly-flopped on the surface.  Then she started to sink.  The whole incident probably lasted about 10 seconds, but it felt like slow motion.  Do boxers swim? I didn’t know!  Before I could jump in to save her, she floated to the surface and scrambled into my open arms by the edge of the pool. She never went near the water again.

Buster didn’t get to be the center of attention for long. Shaylea also had a bit of separation anxiety. She followed me everywhere, even into the bathroom.  Buster used to hang out while I was in the tub, hoping for a bite on a random bath bubble.  I thought that was charming.  But Shaylea would barge into the small toilet area, concerned that I might leave through some trap door. It was seriously all about her.  Nor did Buster get a chance at being the alpha dog. Shaylea, aka “Queen Bee” stepped right into that role. Because Buster was sweet and deferential, they got along beautifully.

IMG_4132 (002) Shay and Buster

Shaylea eying Buster’s toy.

IMG_4178 (002) Shaylea water color

Water Color of Shaylea by Jacqueline Stubbs

Shaylea rarely stopped moving.  She was very difficult to photograph.  My Mom tried to get some good shots so she could paint her, but had to improvise in her watercolor.  Fortunately, my boyfriend is an excellent photographer and was able to capture her beautifully.

Shaylea, like Buster, lived a long life.  She and Buster bonded and spent many years together, moving on to The Woodlands, TX from Mississippi with my transfer.  Her’s was another happy and healthy rescue tale. Next, I decide to upset the balance with a 3rd boxer.  That is another, more complicated tale….to be told later.

IMG_4115 (002) Me with Shaylea outside

Photograph by Mark Winslet

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