April 2010-January 11,2024
Cattle dog/Golden Retriever spayed female

After we lost Stormy, our Lab X female, to cancer on December 3, 2010, I had decided to wait to get another dog until spring, when housebreaking would be easier due to the nicer weather. That decision lasted all of 24 hours!

The following night I was surfing and saw a cute black dog at Walton County Animal Control, not too far from us. Something about her eyes reminded me of Stormy. "Nellie", as they were calling her, had been at the Shelter much too long- more than 2 weeks, since before Thanksgiving- with no interest, and was in danger of euthanasia. Several of the other dogs had 1-3 pending applications and they had only been there a few days. We have heard many times that black dogs are among the least adopted. I emailed in an application and waited until Monday morning to hear (they don't check email on the weekends) if she was still available. I tried to continue surfing PetFinder for more possibilities, just in case, but none of the pages beyond the first one in my search (the one with Nellie on it) would load! .

Monday morning I had an email that said we could come see Nellie between 2-5 PM. When we got there, the Shelter worker let Nellie out of her cage. She crawled out of the cage on her belly, urinating as she came to us. I knew that probably no one would take home a dog with a submissive urination problem. I think you know how the rest of the story goes!

Nellie was smart- submissive with people but feisty with other dogs. A very energetic and sweet girl, she was estimated at about 8 months old at adoption (our vet gave her an April 9 birthday on Nellie's records). She looked to be Lab and Border Collie or Sheltie, and is Border Collie sized (weighed 29 pounds when we took her to the vet for her shots and a checkup, and was about 50 pounds at maturity). A canine DNA test revealed Nellie to be half Golden Retriever and half Australian Cattle Dog. Someone in Nellie's past was not very kind to her, and the oddest things would send her scurrying off, tail tucked in terror. She got better (or maybe we just learned to avoid her triggers) but the good thing was that she really did love people and attention.

Nellie had several additions to her name, Nellie Mae or Nellie Belle. Both are very southern sounding and appropriate for what Jim and I like to call the "SBD"- for Southern Black Dog, that ubiquitous black Lab mix that along with Pit Bulls are so common here in the south. We also called her "Meerkat" or "Weasel" because her face was very narrow and meerkat-like and she was slinky, quick and agile- and in her younger days would stand on her hind legs with incredible balance, looking for all the world like a meerkat.

In November of 2023 Nellie went off her food. A vet visit revealed she had a mass on her spleen- hemangiosarcoma. She held her own for almost two months after diagnosis, and was on Yunnan Bayao for the bleeding. She continued to be a picky eater but generally would eat something, especially later in the day, and I had been cooking chicken and rice for her to tempt her a bit. On January 10 she was not interested in food, though she did eat a bite sized piece of steak at dinnertime, and some bread with her Yunnan Baiyao pill, and she licked our dinner plates clean. But her mouth was cold, gums were pale and she was lethargic. The following morning she had thrown up the previous evening's meager fare and staggered and fell several times before standing. I called the vet. Shortly after 10 AM on January 11, 2024 our sweet Nellie went peacefully over the rainbow bridge. She is very much missed.

This was Nellie's listing on the Walton County Animal Control website. What a forlorn looking little thing. I could not get her out of my head. She had spent more than 2 weeks at the Shelter.

Nellie's "Freedom Ride". Jim took this picture in the car on the way home (while we were at a stop light, LOL he wasn't driving down the road taking pictures of us in the back seat!). It isn't very clear, and it was getting dark when we got home so we didn't get any more that first night.

Pictures from Nellie's first full day here, 12/7/10. She is completely unfazed by the horses- in fact they were more curious about HER than she was about THEM. That's Topaz looking at her in the last picture, as Nellie was scavenging dried apples from under one of our apple trees.

12/16/10- As you can see Nellie made herself right at home. She is a bit big to be a lap dog, but nobody told HER that!

12/25/10- Jim and Nellie on Christmas day. Nellie did not mind the reindeer antlers at all and in fact wore them around the house. The sprawling picture is so funny- Nellie was very limber and just went limp when you picked her up. She got a new nickname- "meerkat"- because she would sit up like one and because she was kind of long bodied and slinky.

1/12/11- Day three of ice covered Atlanta. A winter storm dumped about 4 inches of snow on us, then sleet froze it all into ice. The roads were horribly dangerous sheets of ice. NONE of the area schools were open for a week, few businesses were open, and we didn't even get mail for 3 days! Just no way to get around unless it was on ice skates! Jim didn't work all week- no one could get IN to work for him to have computers to work ON! This was Nellie's first snow and she seemed to enjoy it. Here she is watching the neighbor's goats.

Running towards the goats- I have NO idea how she kept her footing!

With Jim and Jackson, playing. Jackson looks a little apprehensive; he seems to worry when we roughhouse with them. I am not sure if he thinks someone might get hurt or if it is just that he is a non confrontational sort of dog. He does not seem to understand play is play, and instead takes everything very seriously. Nellie, on the other hand, is like Stormy was- she thinks everything should be fun and is always up for a good game.

12/25/11- Jim opening his Christmas present from the dogs. They are just certain the package contains FOOD for THEM :-)

April 2012.

7/3/13- My dogs' sleeping positions amuse me. Nellie was in a very un lady-like position in her chair. The teeth showing too just crack me up. She was not growling or "smiling", she was sleeping with her teeth showing (though she woke up when I got the camera).

4/19/14- I love Nellie's golden eyes, which this picture shows off nicely.

July 26, 2014- Jim got back from a bike ride and resurrected the dog's pool from the basement to cool himself off. Jackson hadn't been feeling too well after a bout with a UTI and somehow hurting his back, so we wanted to do something we knew he'd enjoy, and water is definitely one of those things! We hadn't used the pool since Jackson was much younger, and never with much younger Nellie and Sophie. Nellie was not too keen on joining Jackson and Jim in the water, but with a bit of persuasion, she finally accepted it, even if she wasn't too crazy about the idea! Sophie never did get in the water!

June 19, 2016- My friend Cassidy Sutherland brought her 8 month old son Evan out to see the horses. The dogs got attention too; here Nellie is checking Evan out.

October 6, 2017- We had a houseful of guests for the 30th Annual Southern Model Horse Convention. Lisa Garcia's friend, Destiny, entertained our dogs, who greatly enjoyed the added attention.

October 15, 2017. Nellie watching a squirrel in the yard.

October 31, 2019- Nellie using an empty yogurt cup for a pillow. The dogs love cleaning up our yogurt containers after us.

November 11. 2019- Sophie and Nellie wrestling like puppies- I don't think they're aware they are 8 and 9 years old, respectively!

September 10, 2021- Nellie and Sophie enjoying one of our new Ruggable machine washable rugs. Nellie tore her right ACL 3 weeks previous. We could have done surgery but the recovery is long and she was not a young dog at age 11. Our vet suggested Rimadyl and a wait and see on possible surgery; she said the joint wouldl form scar tissue to help stabilize the joint. Within a few days Nellie was using the leg lightly. We had to help her up the porch stairs for awhile but she figured that out and is back to probably 80% of normal with just a little hitch in her getalong. And she sits crooked like this now.

February 22, 2022- I came back inside from the barn to find Nellie lying in her crate like this. It made me laugh!

May 1, 2022- One of Nellie's favorite things to do: roll around in the grass. Here she is with Sophie.

November 22, 2023- The last pictures I have of Nellie, taken the day she was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma.

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Jim and Laura Behning
75 Glass Spring Rd.
Covington, GA 30014
(770) 385-1240
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