More Dog Days

3 min readJul 13, 2021


So we’re in the Dog Days of Summer, so you might expect to read at least another blog post about one of my dogs. The star of this week’s blog post is Sheila Barker Henderson.

Some days you remember forever. For me, one of those days was September 1, 2010. On that day, at approximately 11:00 a.m., my life changed forever when Dr. Rebecca Bailey, who (at that time) was a veterinarian at Robinson Animal Hospital, called to ask if I’d be interested in fostering a senior, needy Newf that a client found roaming their neighborhood.

Dr. Bailey maybe hastened my decision by saying she needed to know pretty soon, if the answer was “no”, she would put her to sleep. I jumped into my car and headed to the Gray location of Robinson’s, where Dr. Bailey was practicing that day, and where Sheila, as she was named, had been brought in.

Sheila, my Dowager Empress, was heartworm positive, had 2–3 kinds of mange, 2 kinds of eye infections, and an ear infection. Her mange was so bad she was nearly bald; her ribs were easily visible. One of the techs, Angie Rose, later told me that, according to Sheila’s blood work, she was so malnourished that if she hadn’t eaten in the next 30–36 hours, she would have died of starvation. While Sheila wasn’t well enough to move in with me for nearly a month, this is the day that we celebrated her adoption (I was a foster failure!). Knowing of my love for nearly all things English, several of my friends routinely commented that Sheila probably thought she’d died and gone to live in Buckingham Palace!

Sheila always seemed to be so grateful for anything I did for her. Except for the last couple of days of her life, I can count on one hand the times she was less than cooperative with me. I truly think she understood quite a bit of what I would say to her; tone is everything!

While looking at some recent Facebook memories, I came across this, from July 8, 2015. It’s Sheila’s obituary.

The house is terribly lonely without Sheila in it. I’m holding everything together right now, but that may change.

After a period of declining health, especially over the last 3 weeks, after much praying, soul-searching and consulting with my vet, Dr. James W. Robinson, I made the decision to have Sheila put to sleep; it has happened within the hour. My good friend Lottie Ryans called this morning to check on us; I told her what was going on and that I was trying to make up my mind if it was time. After telling her that Sheila just wasn’t eating, couldn’t get up, etc., Lottie wisely said, “She’s told you what you need to do.” Sheila Barker Henderson. A gentle life, well lived. Date of adoption : September 1, 2010. Date of death: July 8, 2015. Furrever in my heart……

(According to several vets best guess, Sheila was probably between 9 and 12 when she died. Sheila Barker Henderson.)

Copyright July 9, 2015 and July 9, 2021 by Rebecca A. Henderson

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