SHD’s Best Friend

Remember Nelly? The Shitty House Dog, SHD, with body love and a problem with authority? Well Nelly’s back with a best new friend. Recently my partner and I decided that our hearts were too big and our bed was too empty to not rescue another, hopefully less shitty, house dog.

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In December, after following a Facebook page where people gave up their pets left and right with no real intentions of picking one out anytime soon, we saw a dog that sparked our interest. “Axel” now Moose was in need of a home. His owners had four other dogs, had paid too much for what they thought was a purebred Husky, and had no time for a 9 month old puppy that just wants your attention. Overall, it was a rough situation.

On that day we decided to be irresponsible young adults and grab ourselves a new fur baby.

Here is where Moose’s story begins and Nelly’s life as an only child ends.

Introducing the dogs at first with the full intentions of “if this doesn’t work out we will find him a much better home” was everything we expected. You can say Nelly “likes” other dogs. She likes to lick them, sometimes play with them, steal all of their toys, and then destroy them. She was protective of me. She needed reassurance that if and when the time came to pick one of them to pet it would be her. We did our secret handshake and she decided to adopt her new forced friend.

Lessons Learned

The addition of Moose taught me more than I had ever anticipated. I have learned about balancing. Balancing petting, balancing while trying to tie a shoe because both dogs want to lick my face, balancing partner and puppy cuddles, balancing being strict and letting them run wild, and balancing myself. I’ve continued to learn from Nelly over the year but the addition of Moose has created a whole new world to live in.

Be kind.

Sometimes Nelly loves Moose. Sometimes the thought of Moose disgusts her. Sometimes I experience those same feelings. A personal moral principle of mine is kindness. A bad first impression or interaction, a ruff (LOL) day, or some stressor I’ve put on myself can cause me to retract instead of interact. Choosing to be kind and rewind, instead of turn on auto pilot and fast forward is challenging. Puppies are much like every human being. They make mistakes. Sometimes they know better and sometimes they don’t. Remembering that at the end of the day it isn’t that big of a deal helps kindness thrive.


Another driving factor for my life is to include. One of the worst things on this Earth is standing in or near a group and being either shut out because someone steps in front of you, or someone doesn’t move to invite you into the circle. Being part of the pack is important. Allowing everyone to come to the table so they too can be heard not only adds to the conversation but also gives them value. Nelly, Jake, and I were our own pack. Adding Moose to the house gave us the opportunity to step to the side and learn from another being.

Someone is watching.

Remember that Santa Claus song, “he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake?” More often than not, there are eyes on me. This sounds creepier than it really is. You don’t know creepy until you roll over and see two sets of eyes watching you. I often find myself rolling over to a wet nose plopped on the bed waiting patiently for me to wake up. In my current role there are also usually a set of eyes on me. Those eyes belong to students in panic mode because they didn’t pass a class or they don’t understand how to register as a guest student for the summer. An administrator watching you because funding is tight and am I really that important? Colleagues making sure our office is serving students to the best of our ability. Feeling like all eyes are on you isn’t a negative thing. It’s a positive thing. This means that mistakes can be caught and feedback administered to heal the problem. You are putting your best and most vulnerable self forward because when we are surrounded by the media, you don’t always know what is real. All eyes on you also means that all of the crumbs are accounted for and calories don’t count when they’re shared with others.

Woof Woman

Animals mean just as much to me as humans do. A life is a life and it is not mine to take. Due to that belief, I find myself learning from all animals, not just humans. Be kind, include others, and others eyes can be your biggest cheering section. Who would have thought that my personal ethics could have been solidified by a Shitty House Dog and her less shitty counterpart.


Lessons From A Shitty House Dog


How Does One Obtain A Shitty House Dog?

Much like many things in my life, Nelly the Bulldog/Boston Terrier mix, fell into the laps of my partner and I. On a good day, Nelly is a 45lb ball of joy sprawled across your lap waiting for a long belly rub. On a bad day, Nelly is hiding in her kennel after releasing a puddle of urine on the carpet out of fear.

Nelly entered our lives after two heart breaks as my partner and I were feverishly searched for a dog to bring into our lives. We decided that our lives would be made better with a canine in it. The first heart break came after we had followed a dog on the popular site, Her name was Anna and she was a black Boston Terrier mix that was adopted hours before we could make the drive out to Grand Rapids to meet her. The second heart break came after Jake decided to stop at the local animal shelter to explore our options. After he fell in love with Ash, a tan pit bull terrier, the apartment complex squashed any hopes of having this beautiful creature in our lives because of breed assumptions.

We were heartbroken.

That evening my partner located two dogs in the Midland area that fit what we were looking for. Moose the 25lb terrier mix and Patty, the dog that ended up to be our Nelly. First we called about Moose but the phone went straight to voicemail so we decided it was not meant to be. Next we called about Patty who her family called Lucy. Their family picked up and we planned to meet the following day.

That night Jake and I headed to the store to pick up anything we could to look like responsible future pet owners. We felt elated with the idea that the next morning we would possibly have a new member of our family.

On July 2nd, Jake and I headed to her home to meet Patty/Lucy/Nelly. She greeted us on the front lawn with her paws in the air, tail wagging, and belly waiting to be rubbed. We took her for a walk around their neighborhood to solidify our love for this happy and chubby dog. After an hour of sitting with her and the family, they handed over her leash and sent us on our way to enjoy the 4th of July weekend.

Nelly’s Past

Little is known about Nelly’s past. She was found in mid-March as a 3 year old stray. On her face were several scars from what looked like dog bites. The Humane Society of Genesee County took her in, and labeled her as a “pit bull mix.” After a short stay in Genesee County, the Humane Society of Midland County picked her up. There they labeled her as a Bulldog/Boston Terrier. After sometime in Midland a family adopted her.

Little did the family know that Patty/Lucy was going to be a handful. She had no respect for authority, personal space, or your side of the bed. She would push her way out the front door and run down the street. She even once jumped over their 6ft high privacy fence. Patty/Lucy was a handful for a family with smaller children. Eventually without being able to convince Patty/Lucy that this was her home and she should stop trying to run away, the family listed her on Petfinder in hopes that someone could manage this stubborn dog. This is where Jake and I came into her story.


What Makes A House Dog So Shitty? 

Nelly is a great dog. When she wants to be. If given the opportunity she would spend the entire day in your lap as you lose circulation in your legs, without a care in the world. She will lay there barking and running in her dreams. She enjoys a nice long walks, sometimes by the beach but not in the water. If you say “R-U-N” she will run back and fourth from you to the door until you catch up with her. She loves bath time and prefers drinking water out of the tub. Nelly also hates her kennel and when people grab her collar. She eats the back of doors, has ripped up our carpet, and broken out of several of her cages.

Nelly had a desire for running out the door. One day she decided that while I was opening it to put the trash outside that she would take herself for a walk. Of course she did not want to listen to me and every time I got close enough to catch her, she would take off running. After running through most of the neighborhood trying to catch her, an unsuspecting neighbor began to park his Prius. Nelly loves car rides and decided to invite herself into his car, through his partially cracked driver side window. I yanked her chubby body out of the window, apologized, and hung my head very low as I walked her back to the apartment. Shitty House Dog.

One morning after returning home from breakfast at a Chinese buffet, my partner and I found Nelly, tucked inside her kennel. Her kennel was still standing but she had pulled the bars around the door back in an attempt to escape. Bloody and wet from panting, she laid in her kennel excited and regretful. Shitty House Dog.

Her title of Shitty House Dog has a larger story to it than just being naughty. On a crisp Fall Monday Jake arrived at the apartment around 4PM to be hit by the overpowering smell of what a Shitty House Dog smells like. While away at work Nelly had, for lack of better terms, exploded. Something she ate tore through her like the flu. Both her front and back end tried to expel whatever evil was rampaging through her body. In an attempt to get as far away from the mess, she pushed the plastic protective base out from the kennel which then smeared it further across the carpet. The first thing Jake did when he got home was put her in the tub for a quick cleaning before he started to tackle the rest of the mess. As she laid on a towel drying and watching Jake begin to devise a plan to begin cleaning, the evil forces inside of her stirred and out of both ends came her hot bile lava.

For two long days the sad Shitty House Dog battled her stomach illness. She lost a few pounds and a lot of fluid but she came out as the victor.

That is truly how Nelly came to be known as the Shitty House Dog.

Lessons Learned From a Shitty House Dog

Patience because if you let a Shitty House Dog rain on your parade then all of the beautiful floats that have been created will melt around you.

Love because trying to convince a dog to love you as much as you love her is like trying to convince a toddler to eat the green mash sitting on their spoon.

Kindness because even though she pushes her limits, Shitty House Dog wants to be there for you.

To laugh because Shitty House Dog does the darnedest things.

Talk to your partner about dog parenting styles because talking about it before inviting a Shitty House Dog into your life will help keep the both of you sane.

As hard as it is sometimes to love Nelly/Shitty House Dog, I would not want it any other way.