Chelsea

"Chelsea Bear of Chelynnah"     8 Nov 1997 - 14 Sept 2012

'Pedigree' and Show Results

Chelsea left us in September 2012, just 8 weeks shy of her 15th birthday.  We miss her every single day.  Below the photo is the story of how she came to be in our lives.  We each also wrote our own memorial to her.  Please click the links to read the legacy she left us with and how she changed our lives completely. 

Remembering Bear - Nick                                  Chelsea's Legacy - Wendy A Year Without Bear - Wendy

Chelsea is our ‘Heart Dog’ – our ‘Chelsea Bear’.  If not for her we’re not sure how we would have made it through such a rough time emotionally and physically as we had when we first got her.  And certainly without Chelsea we wouldn’t have our whippets!   We owe so much to a little puppy that we almost didn’t go see, and this long page doesn’t begin to do her justice.  She has never met a stranger.  She truly loves everyone she meets and convinces them they are the most special person in her world (and believes she is the most special person in theirs).  Her eyes and face completely light up when she sees her favourite people, and she gives the best cuddles when she senses you’re feeling down.  She is our empath dog and we are forever blessed that she is a part of our lives.

Gosh – where do I even begin. There is just sooo much to tell, both about her, and about what she managed to bring us through.

In January of 1998 Nick decided that he wanted to get me a dog. The landlord okay’d it and we tried to find a mini-dachshund breeder (my breed back home in Canada). There were very few anywhere near us, and even the one that was only a few hours away wasn’t breeding for at least another year, so we decided to broaden our horizons and look to rescues and see what was there.  We called every rescue centre within a 40 mile radius and all they had was either little fuzzy dogs (yorkie types) or big GSD or Lab or Collie mixes. I have allergies and needed a short coated dog and we lived in a small flat so needed a medium to small dog and there was just nothing suitable (I also wanted a female).

My new boss had just recently adopted a rescue puppy from a place about an hour or so away and he gave us the number which we called and they said they did have one female – a 12 week old puppy. They said she wasn’t very pretty, but she was smooth, might be about medium sized. Probably wasn’t what we were looking for but we were welcome to come and look at her. We made an appointment for the next afternoon; however, my back had been playing up badly for several months and the next morning there was just no way I was driving an hour so we called and cancelled the appointment – after all the lady had said the dog probably wasn’t what we were looking for anyway.

I couldn’t get the dog off my mind and the next day I was feeling better so I called Nick from work and asked him to call and see if we could go see her (Nick was on holiday for 2 weeks at this point – part of why it was a good time to adopt if we were going to). We went that afternoon and there was this little tiny BEAUTIFUL smooth-coated golden puppy! She was adorable. I was willing to take her, but as Nick had never had a dog before I didn’t want to just take her because she was the first dog. I gave her to him and he totally fell in love with her and said there wasn’t a choice – she was ours! The lady at the centre pointed out one of her own dogs which I now know was a small sighthound and said that was probably the size Chelsea would grow into. They didn’t know anything about her breeding except that the mom was a very wiry-haired terrier mix.

We adopted her on the spot – and while we were standing there deciding for sure the thought popped into my head that her name would be Chelsea. Had never thought of the name before – no idea where it came from, but that’s what it was. Part of me thinks she told me her name, silly as it sounds.

Now for Chelsea’s background – and this was soooo sad. She was 12 weeks when we saw her there at the rescue centre. She had already had 3 homes before getting there. She was taken from her mother too early, she then got quite sick, so those owners passed her on to someone else, who still found her too sick so passed her on to someone else who then made an effort to find out where the mother and pups had been turned into and gave Chelsea into this rescue place. She was sick, full of worms….they didn’t know if she would make it. They had to isolate her from all the other dogs/pups until she was completely clear of it. This is where the ‘she’s not so pretty’ comment came from. The people at the rescue centre loved her to bits with all she’d gone through, but in their minds she was still that poor sickly puppy that was first turned into them.

They got her back into shape and that’s where we came in. We signed all the papers, paid our money and took her to the car to take her home. We turned down the offer of a blanket for her as we ‘knew she would be fine’. OOPS!! Remember Chelsea had already had 3 homes and to her cars were something to be terrified of – every time she’d been in a car she’d been abandoned!! So I’m driving and Nick has this puppy in his arms and 10 minutes into the drive she promptly gets sick all over him. We clean it up, and she does it again. This goes on about every 10 minutes or so on the drive home. Now remember he has never had a dog in his life. I am totally terrified that this is putting him off the dog completely, but instead it was this incredible bonding experience for them. We stopped at a gas station not too far from home to get some stuff to help clean up Nick and the car, and when he got out of the car she went NUTS!! She already loved him. So this dog that was bought for me was already HIS. We got her home and fell in love with her more each day. She was an amazing little dog – so good. I can’t believe anyone turned her out. It still breaks my heart.

Earlier I mentioned my back problems. It turned out that they just got worse – to the point of me honestly wishing I was dead. I would lie awake at night in the most agonising pain. Nick was sleeping on the floor. Chelsea was in bed usually at the start and would go sleep with him partway through the night (btw – as far as Nick was concerned the dog was NOT sleeping in the bed with us – until we got her home and Nick decided that there was no place else she belonged except in bed with us – but that’s another story). One night the pain was soo bad we had to call out the Dr (they still do housecalls over here). She knew I was in pain so this little tiny puppy crawled from the bottom of the bed very carefully up against my back, stopped at my head, wrapped her paws round my neck and curled her head over mine and hugged me. And when Nick had to move her because I needed to move she snapped at him because she was ‘taking care of mummy!’

About the second week of February I got in to see a neurosurgeon and 3 days later (after a rush MRI which showed a completely prolapsed disc in my back) went into the hospital for surgery to have the prolapse removed. They didn’t know if I would be able to walk for the next few months it was so bad. During this time Nick was completely a mess – he hated that I was sick and he couldn’t do anything. He was worried during the surgery (he was an intern at the time himself so REALLY knew what was going on) and what actually kept him sane and gave him the strength to keep focused was this little puppy relying on him to take care of her. Without her he’s not sure he would have got through it. And when I got home from the hospital (able to walk by the way – the pain post surgery was FAR less than the pain pre-surgery and the nurses were amazed by how well I was getting on!) it was because of Chelsea that I got up and around as much as I did. We had people stop in through the day to let her out, but I still took the odd turn myself which I probably wouldn’t have done had we not had her.

I was 6 weeks recovering before going back to work part time and all the time I had this tiny 4-legged nursemaid who totally took care of us. In fact I think she took care of us far more than we did of her!

As I got better and went back to work we started to take her everywhere with us that we could. It took ages to outgrow her car-sickness but eventually with perseverance, teaching her to throw up into a bag, and giving her extra cushions she finally got past it and LOVED going places with us (even when she was still carsick she would love to just be with us). As we took her on holiday and shopping and everywhere we would often be stopped by whippet breeders or people who’d had whippets and be asked what else was in our whippet. That’s when we realised that her dad must have been a whippet! Because she has no real terrier look about her.

We started researching whippets on the internet and joined whippet lists and the more we learned about whippets the more we KNEW that she definitely had to be a whippet mix. All the traits that we loved about her were whippet things. Her prey drive (which had worried us – we thought we were bad doggie parents because she wasn’t reliable on recall) made sense all of a sudden, and now we didn’t feel so bad about crating her (which we’d had to do shortly after I went back to work because she chewed holes in the wall!). Everything made sense and fell into place for us. We started treating her like a whippet and she blossomed!

From that point on we knew that our next dog would be a purebred whippet and for the rest of our lives that’s what we would have. We were SOLD - and we've never looked back!

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