Date of Death:
We recently lost Snowy who was a huge part of our family and pack. Now there is this immense void that Snowball once occupied. Words don't seem fitting enough to convey the depth of loss we feel. So we thought it was only fitting pay homage to her life and legacy.
This is the life of Snowy.
Back in the spring of 2010, we were alerted of the need to rescue a dog, a white German Shepherd. Some people who saw this dog even wondered if it could possibly be a coyote. The dog had been hanging around a horse stable. When we first arrived on the scene, it was obvious to us that it was a white female German Shepherd. But because she was dirty and thin, we could see why some people might think she was a coyote when they caught a quick glimpse of her. She wasn't scared of making herself seen and the riders at the stable frequently saw her. But she was smart. She knew not to get close to the horses and riders or put herself in a position of being captured. Many locals in the area were feeding her which helped to keep her there. They would drive by in all hours of the day or night and drop off cheeseburgers and the like. It was apparent that she was very young and in need of rescuing. You could see her ribs. But how did she get there? How long was she out there? Was she dumped? Did she escape from somewhere? We always wondered this. But more importantly, we needed to devise a game plan to capture her and bring her to safety. Monty and Sheri and a few other very special people (you know who you are) started working on right away. As we frequented the area to begin conditioning her to our presence, we would put food out for her nearby to us. We tried befriending her by trying to hand feed her. While she was food motivated, she would come ever-so close but not close enough to allow us to touch her. She would even walk behind Sheri within a few inches in an attempt to get the food that Sheri had in her hand. Seeing that physically capturing her this way wouldn't work, we moved to the next phase. We set up a humane trap. We are experienced in tracking and trapping and have captured dogs with humane traps in the past. However, this girl was having none of it. She would walk to the entrance to the trap and not enter. This went on for a while. Knowing this wasn't going to work anytime soon, we had to change our strategy. We set up a kennel run in the field. We tied the door open and began putting food in there for her to eat when she got the nerve to enter. Since the the kennel run was much larger than the standard humane trap, she felt more at ease with entering. Once she routinely entered the kennel run, it was only a matter of time before we were able to shut the door with her inside. After she was captured and authorities were notified, we were given the go ahead to transport her a local veterinary hospital so that her health care could begin. We had been working on her capture for weeks at this point. Once the dirt and grime was washed off of her, we could begin to see her beautiful white coat. This diamond in the rough became known as "Snowy".
While in the hospital, all of us involved in her capture would routinely visit with her to help condition her to being around humans. She was very feral. She put up with us but she never once acted aggressive in any manner. You could say she was very passive. She missed out on socialization with humans early in her life and therefore, had no reason to trust us.
The next step was to transfer her into a foster home. So we decided to bring her to our house as our next foster. We knew this would be a long process as she was an extreme flight risk. She was not bonded to us and had no reason to be. Every precaution was taken to prevent her escape while we were bonding. As she began bonding to us, we were able to let down our guard little by little, but not too quickly. Because we already had other Shepherds of our own, this helped Snowy transition into living in a home. She was awesome with other dogs and she learned to trust humans though them. She never acted aggressive with our dogs. True to her nature, she was very passive with them, too.
After fostering her for about a year and not finding the right adoptive home, we made the decision to adopt her ourselves. We knew her better than anyone, became very attached to her and she became very attached to us. She liked Monty... but she loved Sheri. Her world revolved around Sheri. Snowy was attached to our dogs as well. But now, this once practically feral dog had blossomed into a beautiful, majestic family member who adored her humans, particularly Sheri. Snowy wasn't too crazy about visitors though. She wasn't aggressive with them but she was most comfortable keeping her distance from them. As the years went by, that too changed and she would inquisitively wander up to a visitor to say hi. Fast forward, though the years we brought many new fosters into our home. Some stayed, some did not and were adopted into loving homes of their own. But when we brought a new foster home, Snowy was our first test dog. She never let us down and was always willing to allow a new packmate into the fold. She was bombproof in this manner.
After arriving to our house as a new foster, she never spent a night alone. There was an occasional stay at the vet's office for something health related which was out of our control. But we never ever willingly left her alone. Her days and nights of living near the stable in the woods, chasing off the occasional fox which was trying to steal food that was intended for her, were long gone. Snowy was home.
Through the years, Snowy learned to like all sorts of things. Some are very normal like fetch, swimming in the pool, roughhousing with her humans, going on walks. But she also had some comical behaviors (all scent driven) such as rolling on fresh sheets on the bed, nuzzling into Sheri's long hair, getting a new toy and rolling on it. She loved peanut butter, ice cream, milk, sliced cheese, chicken... and again, her human mom. When Monty would come home from being at work, she was happy to see him. But when Sheri came home from work, Snowy's expression of joy jubilation was on a whole other level. You could practically see her beaming and smiling with love.
Snowy didn't travel well and never learned to like the vehicle. As a result, she didn't travel far from her home. But she had a home where she felt safe, loved and never had to worry about anything ever again. She was safe from harm, starvation and learned what it was like to have a family of her own.
On the day she left this world, she was wrapped in our arms and our love. Yes, she was very lucky that some people cared enough to help her when she needed it most. But we like to think of ourselves as the lucky ones to have had the opportunity to capture her, show her love and receive that love in return.
Snowball, you taught us a lot and we helped you learn many things in return. But we lived a great life together. We couldn't have asked for a better addition to our family and our home is not the same without you.
We love you. Until we meet again...
Monty and Sheri