Shelby's Story

When we lived in the St. Louis area, we spent a lot of weekends at my parents house and became very attached to their little Boston Terrier. For this reason, when we decided to get a dog, it was no surprise that Carolyn wanted a Boston. Unfortunately, Bostons are quite rare in Colorado. The single ad in the Denver Post had an unfamiliar area code. After calling, we discovered that the ad was placed by a man that lived near Salina, Kansas, more than 400 miles away. To our surprise, he was willing to bring his two remaining dogs to Colorado. His sister lives in the Denver area and he was overdue for a visit.

Although he had a male and a female, the male was already committed to a retired couple living in north Denver, so only the female was available. It didn't matter, however, because she was perfect. He had given her a temporary name - Shelby, after a car that he had recently refurbished, a Shelby Cobra. We thought the name was perfect, so Shelby it was.

We assumed that Shelby would have some separation issues, but she bonded to us almost immediately. On the first night, we put her into a large box next to the bed and she constantly whined and scratched at the sides. After a few hours of this, and very little sleep, we put her in the bed where she snuggled between us and immediately dozed off. This was our first demonstration of how stubborn and demanding Shelby can be. Until she gets what she wants, no one gets any peace. It also revealed a personality trait that is still evident years later. She can go from hell raiser to angelic in a matter of minutes. This variable disposition is not unusual in a Boston. They can have a stubborn determination to get what they want.

Like most Bostons, Shelby is alert and watchful. Very little happens in our house and yard that escapes her attention. Her favorite spot is in the middle of our stairs, where she has a commanding view of at least half the house. She has learned to ignore our constant attempts to get her to roost somewhere else, and we have learned to step over her. When her food or water bowl is empty, she will knock the offending bowl around and bark at it until she has our attention.

Shelby has all the classic Boston Terrier features. She is compact and muscular, with a white muzzle band that merges with a blaze that runs between her eyes. Her chest and her front forelegs are also white, and the rest of her is completely black. She has no tail whatsoever, which leads us to believe that it was cropped before she came to us. Shelby has been extremely healthy, although the veterinarian believes that she is one to two pounds overweight.

This is one well traveled Boston Terrier. Shelby had been with us for less than a week when we took her on her first trip, which was to Glenwood Springs to spend the weekend in a cabin. In addition to annual visits to Oklahoma and Missouri, she has been as far east as Illinois, as far south as Texas and New Mexico, and as far north as Montana. Few words cause this dog to perk up her ears like "bye-bye." Other attention grabbers are "walkie" and "steakie," the latter referring to the leftovers that we bring home after going to the local steakhouse. Like most dogs, Shelby loves toys. As far as she's concerned, however, they are all meant to be chewed. She loves to chase a ball or a frisbee, and loves it even more when we chase her to get them back.

Shelby is somewhat moody compared to our other Bostons. At times, she seems sad, almost depressed, and she never displays the exuberance routinely exhibited by Ali and Panda. She has been known to pout when things aren't going her way, and will lie on the couch or the floor with a sullen expression and refuse to budge until she is convinced that we all feel her anger. When she is in a foul mood, she likes to bully Ali and tries to bully Panda. Regardless of her mood, she is always looking for a rematch with the vacuum cleaner. She can be very stubborn. Sometimes I can't get her outside without dragging her on the leash, and then can't get her to come back inside without the threat of a good soaking from the hose. Despite these "flaws," when Shelby looks at you with a sad expression on her little face, she can melt your heart. When she's not behaving like a stubborn bully, she is a very sweet and affectionate dog.