Home > Animal Rescue, Pet Adoption, Pet News, Shelties > Little Lady Lost: An Update

Little Lady Lost: An Update

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been over a month since Lady came back home.

On Sunday, I was driving through Eagan and passed many of the locations I had spent so many hours searching for Lady. It brought back a lot of memories for me. I am so glad I no longer have to worry about her being out there with the coyotes or dealing with the cold weather or getting hit by a car. Except for a bad haircut, you’d never guess that she had been missing for 12 whole days before she was found. I have many people ask how she is doing, so I thought I would give everyone an update.

As I mentioned in my post “Little Lady Lost and How She Made It Home Again“, Lady came home a little dehydrated and completely encased in burrs. What I didn’t tell you was that she was so encased in burrs and feces that they couldn’t even take her temperature at the emergency vet clinic.

Other than making sure she was fine physically, we (me, Estelle and Karen) were most concerned in making sure Lady was comfortable. I couldn’t bear the thought of her having to deal with all those burrs in her coat and poking into her body for one minute longer, so when the veterinarian asked if we wanted to cut them to cut the burrs out, we said “Yes.” As a result, Lady ended up with a less than glamorous look.

Lady before she went missing

Lady after the burrs were cut out of her coat

Lady in her winter sweater to cover the bald spots and keep her warm

Honestly though, I could care less how Lady looks. At the time, I was more concerned with her physical and mental health. Did she eat something that could hurt her or make her sick? Would she be terrified and skittish after being out on her own for so long? She had been off her meds, specifically clomipramine, for nearly two weeks. (I was told that the last time she had been off them she had been an absolute mess, so I really worried about her mental state after this whole ordeal.)

We treated her health issues with fluids (for dehydration), antibiotics and de-wormer (in case she had eaten something that had given her worms), but her mental health seemed completely fine. She didn’t show any of the anxiety or nervousness I expected, but rather acted as she did before she went missing.

Lady chewing on her Angry Bird toy

I had fully expected that she would be jumpy or timid or suffering from anxiety after her ordeal, especially since she had been off her meds for so long, but in fact, from the moment Lady has come home, she has acted as if she was never gone. She has played with her favorite toys, stolen the cat’s food, and even tried to engage Jasper in play, giving him playbows galore.

Disemboweling my new toy from my foster mom, Dawn.

In some ways, she seems even more normal than she did before she went missing. I know that probably sounds strange, but what I mean is that she is even more affectionate, more animated and playful, and somewhat calmer, than she was before she left. Maybe knowing that she is home is all that she needed to feel more comfortable in her skin or maybe the calm, predictable life at home is the exact opposite of what she experienced in those 12 days and she just feels more able to relax now that she is safe. Whatever the reason, it’s nice to see her so happy. As a result, I have chosen not to start her on clomipramine again, unless or until she shows signs that she needs it.

Since Lady has come home we have taken many excursions to the dog park. The first few times I kept her in her harness and a leash so I could be sure that she wouldn’t run if startled. Although, a little more skittish at first, she has done quite well ever since and loves to go for walks. In fact, she just recently (this past week) started taking treats from our friend Jill, a friend from the dog park. This is a huge step for her since she has always backed up when offered a treat before. She is also starting to check out some of our other dog park friends more closely, like Kellie and Kym.

While she does stop to sniff quite often, like she did before, she rarely lets me get too far before hurrying to catch up. She doesn’t like to be too far from me these days and that’s more than fine with me.

Lady back at the dog park again. Fur is starting to grow back too!

Lady also had her first bath since returning. She didn’t really like the experience all that much, but she handled it with class. She didn’t even get all goofy like Jasper did after his bath. Apparently, ladies just don’t act that way. πŸ™‚

Lady after her bath

Lady chewing on her new bone

She still loves playing with toys and spends a lot of time chewing on the bone that Aunt Cindy got for her. She has also learned a few new commands since returning home: “down”, “watch me” and “stretch” (extend front legs and go into a bow) – and she has gotten even better at “sit”. She also loves taking long naps in her favorite spot near the toy basket and has claimed the new dog bed as her own. Jasper doesn’t seem to mind.

Lady sleeping in her favorite spot

All in all, I have to say that Lady has done quite well after her little adventure. The only lasting remnant as far as I can tell is a recognition of the sounds coyotes make. I ran across a video of some coyotes yipping while searching for funny videos on YouTube. When I played it, Lady immediately stood up and looked around, trying to find the source of the sounds. She looked quite unsettled and nervous. Jasper, on the other hand, had no reaction at all.

Estelle, from Minnesota Sheltie Rescue, suggested it might be PTSD and I am inclined to agree. As silly as it sounds, it never occurred to me that she might recognize the sounds until I saw her reaction. It makes me sad to think of her sitting out in the dark woods somewhere and hearing those eerie sounds and being so very afraid. Needless to say, I will not be playing that video again. If you want to hear what they sound like, click on the video below. It gave me the heebie jeebies.

Lady and I want thank everyone who helped bring her home. I think she knows she is one lucky girl. She had so many people who helped her, whether they prayed, spread the word, set up traps, alerted the media, handed out fliers or called to report a sighting. In many ways, I consider what happened to be a miracle. I’m thinking we can all use a miracle now and then, can’t we?

As a last note, I mailed the adoption papers for Lady today. I had planned to submit them at Christmas time, but the holidays kind of took over. So now, Lady will not only be the first adoption of 2012, but she will also have an adoption anniversary that falls on the first new day of each year.


  1. Cindy
    January 2, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Thank you for the update Mel. Whether she is shaved of burrs, dirty or clean and fluffy from a bath, she is still a very beautiful special little girl. So glad she is with you to stay and that she still doesn’t need the anti-anxiety pill. I pray that she will be able to stay off those. Looking forward to upcoming blogs about the Three Muskateers. Happy New Year!!!!

    • Mel
      January 2, 2012 at 6:11 PM

      You are so welcome Cindy. I think she is beautiful despite her new haircut. The fur will grow back eventually, until it doesn’t matter. What matters is she is safe and warm and home.

  2. January 2, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    So happy to read this update. I’m so pleased that Lady seems to have few (if any) emotional scars from her ordeal.

    • Mel
      January 2, 2012 at 6:10 PM

      Thanks Roxanne. I am happy about that too. I really worried she would, but as far as I can tell not many seem to have lingered.

  3. January 2, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    It is a joy to read a further update about Lady and to know she likes sticking close to you now. She looks very content and happy in your photos. There’s an advantage to having a poor haircut; she can now model various sweaters. πŸ˜‰ So happy to hear you’re adopting Lady!

    • Mel
      January 2, 2012 at 6:07 PM

      Thanks Lindy. I heard from several of my friends that an update was needed. I feel bad that I didn’t do one sooner. I think Lady is very happy to stay here with us. I ould not imagine letting her go home with someone else now.

      I love the idea of her modeling sweaters. Hmmm!!! Not a bad idea! πŸ™‚

  4. Jan
    January 2, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    Dog memory is so remarkable. You never know what they remember for years and what they forget the next day. Glad to hear that she came through so well.

    • Mel
      January 2, 2012 at 6:05 PM

      I agree Jan. I am amazed by what Lady remembers, but also by her ability to let some of it go and just enjoy being home.

  5. January 2, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    Such an itty bitty girl without all the hair! Those red skin spots – she must have been in pain from those burrs all the time. Wow, really interesting about the clomipramine…I’m glad she’s coping so well – good to see her out and about again!

    • Mel
      January 2, 2012 at 8:28 PM

      I agree Mary. Seeing those red spots made me realize how close to her skin they had to have been. Poor baby. I actually winced when I first picked her up because of how many burrs there were on her belly. All I could think was I was hurting her.
      Yes. The being off clomipramine surprised me too. I am not opposed to putting her on it again if needed, but so far she seems to be fine without it.

  6. January 2, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Thanks for the update. Lovely to hear how she is doing.

  7. Karen Hollebrands
    January 2, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing the update with everyone, Mel. She is lucky to have you for her Mom, and I am so glad she settled right back into routine with you and the gang.

    I do love her beautiful sweater! And I bet she also has a stylin’ pair (or 2 pairs!) of ruby red slippers that she wears, clicking the heels together and repeating “There’s no place like home!” πŸ™‚

    • Mel
      January 2, 2012 at 8:25 PM

      Ruby slippers! Now there’s a thought. Karen – You are brilliant!

  8. January 2, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Dogs are so amazing. When we expect one thing from them, they just surprise us. I’m glad Lady is doing so well now that she’s home.

    And one question: is Mel experiencing any PTSD? You both went through a lot.

    • Mel
      January 2, 2012 at 8:24 PM

      Nope! No PTSD that I know of! I’m just extra cautious now.

  9. January 2, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    I’m so happy to hear that she is doing well – with few physical or emotional scars. I am even happier that she will be staying with you permanently. I think it would be too hard to give her up after going through so much to get her back.

    • Mel
      January 2, 2012 at 8:22 PM

      Thanks Vicki. It would be really hard to give her up after all we have been through for sure, but I think I knew she might be staying forever before she disappeared. She just seemed so happy here. How could I make her go live with someone else?

  10. January 2, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    after being lost like that for such a long time, i too would have expected a few changes in Lady’s behaviour. it’s great to hear there were none really to speak of, except for the better. as for the meds – if there’s something absolutely positive that came out of her little [mis]adventure, that would have to be it πŸ™‚ our dogs are far more resilient than we give them credit for!

  11. January 2, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    Yay, Lady! What a good girl!

    My Molly was more settled at home after here ordeal, too. She was also suddenly super bonded to me and NEVER made any attempt to run from me again. Molly didn’t need a haircut like Lady’s, though, she had the coat of a Basset. πŸ™‚

    So glad all is well!

    • Mel
      January 3, 2012 at 7:05 AM

      Thanks Elizabeth. I was wondering about you and Molly and if you experienced the same thing. Lady has become really bonded to me since she returned too. Maybe the thought of being out there alone again is enough to keep them from wanting to be lost again. Or, maybe they just love their humans more because they were without one for so long.
      So glad Molly didn’t get the same haircut! I wouldn’t wish that on anybody! πŸ™‚

  12. January 2, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    it’s good to hear that she’s doing well…luv the winter sweater she’s wearing – Cassie
    that howlin sound from the video is sooo scary…- Princess
    ruff…she looks happy to be back home..and look at those basket of toys – Vanilla Bean
    luv the last photo…very nice…glad to know that Lady is moving on- Keanna

    • Mel
      January 3, 2012 at 7:01 AM

      Thanks Cassie! Princess – It scared me too. Too scary! Ruff – Are you thinking you want that basket of toys? πŸ™‚
      I’m glad she’s moving on too Keanna. So relieved she is home safe and sound.

  13. Jen
    January 2, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    I am so glad to read this update on Lady and I am so happy that you both have seemed to have recovered well from this traumatic event.
    I heard a song by Kenny Rogers the other day, “Your My Lady” and I immediately though of you and her! I think that song has her name all over it for now on:)

    • Mel
      January 3, 2012 at 7:00 AM

      LOL! I have a feeling I’ll be thinking the same thing when I hear that song again Jen. It’s amazing that we have done so well, especially Lady, after that ordeal. I am so glad she is home.

  14. January 3, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    Watching our babies conquer anxiety and grow into trusting, loving beings once more is such a gift, for you and for Lady. Congrats on the beautiful progress! You’re a match made in heaven. πŸ™‚

    • Mel
      January 3, 2012 at 6:58 AM

      Thanks Kim. Definitely a match that was meant to be!

  15. January 3, 2012 at 3:23 AM

    What a very touching story! I’m so glad that people are there, ready to help Lady to find her home. She is truly “lucky” just like what you said. BTW, I love that last picture of Lady, it is like there is a rainbow behind her.

    • Mel
      January 3, 2012 at 6:58 AM

      Thanks Jacqueline. I am glad she is home. Finally. (I love that picture too.)

  16. January 3, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    So nice to read this update… I’m glad to hear she’s doing well. I love that she is the first official adoption of the new year – it speaks of fresh starts and hope and good things for 2012. πŸ™‚

  17. January 3, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    Congratulations!! I knew it, I knew you couldn’t be letting her go to someone else after all that. Harrowing experiences seem to help bond us with our loved ones even more. I am so pleased Lady is officially home for good. The four of you make a wonderful family.

    Thanks for the lovely update. It’s so beautiful so see her thriving again.

  18. Harold Delk
    January 3, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    Thanks for sharing the update; so glad she (and you) are doing so well. Curious about taking treats to the dog park though: most dog parks (and I agree with this) do not allow or highly discourage bringing treats into a dog park. Without going into great detail; it potentially causes problems and can lead to some rather unpleasant experiences if any dogs are “food aggressive.”

  19. January 3, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    It’s great to hear that Lady is doing so well. And it’s interesting that she doesn’t seem to need her medication anymore. I know Roxanne was trying to reduce Lilly’s dose and she he’d to bump it back up. It’s exciting that Lady’s starting to trust some of your other dog park friends, too. It must be fun to see her coming out of her shell after all she’s been through. Our best for a great 2012!

  20. January 3, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Hi Y’all!

    What a wonderful way to begin the New Year! Lady and her forever family…a love story…

    So great that she no longer needs her meds.

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  21. January 3, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    I had a cat, who went through a really rough time with me moving and such who I got when he was a year old who had a very loving owner. When I moved in with my ex, Sparky took off for days and he had never left me before. My ex was a bod guy, and I actually think Sparky needed took off to figure out whether to stay or not. Which sounds crazy, but I really believe he didn’t know whether to stick it out with me and the situations I had put him through in such a short time. When he came back, he was the most loyal cat I ever had. He stuck by me through some of the worst times of my life and that’s when I realized when he ran off that he had made the decision to stay with me. He was my heart cat. And I’ve never forgotten that.

    Lady’s story reminds me of Sparky. She just needed to know for sure. Happy Adoption!! πŸ™‚

    • Mel
      January 4, 2012 at 6:53 AM

      What a wonderful story 24 Paws. Yes. I think she did just need to know for sure. Thank you.

  22. January 4, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    this is really incredible. thanks for the update! i am most floored by the change in her anxiety issues, and i think it’s absolutely fantastic that you’re going to try to let her go forward in life without the medication. do you know how long she was off her meds that last time when she had a bad reaction to that? i mean, i wonder if she was off them for only a couple days or something–not enough time for them to be fully out of her system. maybe she just was without them to the point of adjusting this time?

    • Mel
      January 4, 2012 at 9:09 PM

      Thanks Lauren. To be honest, I am completely open to putting Lady on her meds again if she starts displaying any anxiety or stressed behavior again. I wan her to be comfortable. But, right now she seems to be doing well. I suspect that the last time she went off meds had to do with a new home, new rules and the family having a daycare downstairs. I suspect that she was too stressed out with all that activity. My home is pretty quite and we have a regular routine. I think she thrives in that kind of environment.

  23. January 4, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    I love happy endings and this one really warms my heart! Lady is so lucky to have you (and vice versa) and wish your family a happy and healthy new year!!

    • Mel
      January 4, 2012 at 9:06 PM

      Thanks Jules!!!

  24. January 4, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    How awesome that you are adopting Lady πŸ˜€

    • Mel
      January 5, 2012 at 7:17 PM

      Yes it is! πŸ™‚

  1. July 24, 2014 at 8:32 PM

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