Acquired: Other (stray, given dog by friend etc.)
Posted October 12, 2014
Nessie came into our lives purely by accident; she had been the neighbor's dog for years and, after wandering over to our house one day, the neighbor asked that we keep her because she didn't have the resources to take care of her anymore. Nessie was a beautiful purebred Collie (or a "Lassie Dog" as I called her) who had been professionally trained, bred and had performed in countless shows. She had also been debarked. Having never encountered a debarked animal before, or knowing this was even possible, I found this to be one of the saddest parts of Nessie; when she was excited she made a noise that sounded like an old refrigerator door opening. Nessie was also an older dog and came with a myriad of health concerns. We took her in knowing that she would be a beloved house guest but probably wouldn't be around too long. She suffered from incontinence (hence the name Nessie, short for Loch Ness since her "accidents" resulted in a lake of pee) and severe hip dysplasia. Unfortunately, in larger dogs, this is a common ailment and something we had dealt with before with past dogs. Nonetheless, Nessie was a calm and affectionate dog. She always reminded me of Nana, the dog from Peter Pan, who would go along with just about anything. She loved to play with our high-energy beagle but smoothly kept out of the way of the cranky cats. Additionally, she shed much less than we had been expecting, but still maintained a glorious coat. After about two years in our house she lost the ability to walk, completely, and shortly thereafter suffered from a stroke from which she did not recover. It was a very sad thing to see our gentle giant pass away, but it was something we were prepared for knowing the health problems that tend to accompany larger, older dogs.