The Guardian


As is common with horse people, we’re also dog people.  You’ve read some about my Beagle, Sami, but I want to use this time to tell you about our other girl, Neela.


My boyfriend adopted her from a rescue agency some 11 years ago.  She was just a yearling, and they almost didn’t meet because she was in heat, so it wasn’t a good idea to have her around the other dogs at the mixer.  The foster parents kept her safely in their car until they found David.  He loves to describe the first time he saw her, sitting tall and proud in the passenger seat.  Neela hadn’t had the best life so far, previous owners had beaten her so badly they broke a hind leg and never had it vetted, so it healed in it’s own way.  Most people would have turned away, an abused dog with an injured leg is a lot to ask, but David knew she was the right choice for the family.  We’re so glad.


From there he took her straight to his vet to have her checked out, and it was decided despite the appearance of the leg, it wasn’t causing her pain.  They decided to leave it alone and see how it went.  Neela had adapted, and continued to do so her entire life.  Our home has many “Neela-colored” marks on the wall at hip height where she’ll lean to get comfortable.


Neela had joined his family around the same time the two youngest kids were adopted.  She immediately took to them both, but formed a special bond with his son.  Today they still cuddle on the couch together.


Our girl is now 12, and despite having a rough start, has stayed fit and young with the help of her little sister, Sami.  Over the weekend we noticed unusual behavior, and when we felt around, pain in her abdomen.  We were able to get her right in to a Veterinary ER, and soon learned that our girl had a cancerous tumor on her spleen.  It was advanced, and likely metastasized.  The Vet explained all our options, but agreed that a surgery was risky at best, and since it didn’t offer any life prolongment, not the right choice.  We brought her home, and opted instead to manage her pain with meds, until the time comes to let her go.  Her possible life expectancy is up to a couple of months, but of course, there’s no way to know for sure.


Heartbroken as we are, I wanted to use her remaining time to share her story, and our fond memories with you…


The photo in the headline was taken shortly after we started dating, that was her first play date with Sami.  It was a chilly fall day, we took them to an arboretum to get to know each other on neutral ground.  They took to each other right away, but the funniest moment of that day was when we crossed the pond on the Japanese garden on stepping stones.  Ice had formed on the pond, Sami was light enough to skip across it, but Neela tried and went halfway into the water!  David flailed, grabbing at Neela to pull her up and not drop his camera.  When we finally got her back to shore, she tossed a glance back at the pond and snorted.  I don’t know who the pond thought it was, trying to get her, but she had no time for it’s nonsense!


neela 10


She’s always been difficult to photograph, her eyes often take on a green glow, like here.  This was taken during her daddy’s recovery from shoulder surgery.  Nursing has always been one of her skills.


Neela Marley

Another shot with her glowing green.  This is her Neela Marley look.


neela 9


Ever the big sister to Sami, Neela loved to taunt her, just out of reach of the tie-out.  It’s obvious Sami didn’t appreciate being teased.  Neela responded well to the invisible fence training.  A hound dog is a different story…  We did have to run the fence all the way across the driveway after she made it into a couple of pizza delivery cars, a FedEx truck, and the school bus.


neela 6 neela 2 neela 1

Neela and Sami love their boy, especially when he brings other boys home that they can share.  The girls are always the life of the party when there’s a sleepover.


neela 7


At home, her furniture is the ottoman, but at Gammy and Gampy’s house, all grandbabies are spoiled.  Here she is with her Gammy, on the sofa!


neela 5 neela boat 1 neela boat 2


We only took the girls boating once, but safety always!  Neela wasn’t a fan of the experience, but handled it like a trooper anyway.


neela 3 neela 4 neela 8 neela bed neela close up neela drama


Ever the Guardian.  Neela takes her job as watchdog over our family very seriously.  Despite her affectionate behavior with all of us, I’ve never doubted that if someone who didn’t belong did get in the house, she’d gladly escort them right back out.  It’s difficult to imagine that the barking that drives us crazy sometimes, won’t be heard for much longer.  The sound of her furry THUMP, then slide as she would settle in right next to our bedroom door during thunderstorms.  The way she drooled watching us eat pizza, because she loves the crust (which she’ll now have as much as she’d like).  Sami and Neela chasing each other, and singing together in their doggy duets.  Both of them circling like sharks when we have eggs on the weekends, then eating them so fast they couldn’t have even tasted them and looking expectantly back at us for more.  All those precious moments we take for granted, I’m doing my best to commit to memory now, before they fade like the sun at the end of summer.


neela new bed


This is my most recent photo, just taken last week.  I’d needed to get new bedding for Sami’s crate, and I picked up a new blanket for Neela so she felt special too.  I just got the plastic wrapping off before she took it from me, eager to start working her smell into it.  I wrapped it around her, then later spread it across her bed, where she spent the rest of the evening trying to touch every inch.  This is how I want to remember our girl, blissfully happy and comfortable on her little floor throne.









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