|Neely and I hiking Cannon Mountain|
Neely was born circa February 1998 in Grafton, New Hampshire. She lived the first year of her life in cruel conditions where she did not have adequate shelter or nourishment. In February 1999, she was surrendered to a local animal shelter along with three other dogs. The person who surrendered them claimed that the pack of dogs had shown up in his yard as strays, but this statement was subsequently proven to be false.
In June 1999, after a four month wait inside the animal shelter and with the stress of kennel life taking its toll on her mental health, Neely’s luck began to change. One day there appeared at the shelter, a handsome German shepherd/Labrador retriever mix that was trailed by his somewhat gullible humans. While other dogs at the shelter cowered at the sight of the mighty beast, Neely seized her opportunity and began frolicking with her soon to be lifelong partner in crime Bandit.
The trauma of Neely’s first year of life presented some challenges as she acclimated to living indoors, riding in a car, and being left alone without her humans. Neely embraced a holistic approach to her behavioral modification program and ultimately became an automobile aficionado, spectacular dock diver, avid hiker and accomplished sous chef.
Neely’s true gift was her gentle sweetness. As anyone who ever had the privilege to visit Neely can attest, her brother Bandit specialized in greeting guests immediately upon their arrival while Neely preferred a more subtle and individualized approach. For some visitors, that meant providing them with a refreshing shower on the dock. For others, it meant lending assistance to finishing their lunch or dinner, or sharing their s’mores at the fire pit. She was always willing to sample the unattended Margarita or mudslide and was constantly on the lookout for a spill. For the rest of her visitors, Neely offered the opportunity to curl up on the couch or share a sleeping bag while they stared into her big brown eyes.
Through all of her countless adventures, Neely never backed down from a challenge and embraced each day with her can do spirit. If you woke up with an urge to climb a 4,000-footer, she would lead the charge up that mountain. Prefer to stay home and watch a football game, Neely would tell you to push over and make room on the couch. Always friendly and accommodating to everyone she met, Neely will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by her family and friends.
There will be no calling hours. Services will be private. Family and friends are invited to celebrate Neely’s life by consuming a large quantity of their favorite food with wild abandon. Neely’s family would like to extend their gratitude to everyone who waited patiently for the diamond in the rough to emerge and joined in celebrating her brilliance over the course of three decades. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Canine Guardians for Life, Inc. http://www.canineguardiansforlife.com and/or to Almost Home Rescue of Maine http://www.almosthomerescue.net so that more homeless dogs can be sheltered in foster homes while waiting to be adopted. Learn more about foster dogs hiking for homes at http://www.fosterdogsummit.com
Watch a video tribute to her life below or by visiting this link here - http://youtu.be/0GCBKLnG-ho
See you on the trails, Neely.