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Shygirl Capers

Shygirl
Shygirl in the snow
Shygirl out having fun in the fresh new snow

Shygirl aka the Gummybear Princess aka Lars Shygirlmike’s story as told by her Mommy Melinda C. Capers

Shygirl (aka Lars Shygirlmike) was born April 1, 1992, the first born of seven pups, to Dark Eyed Girl and Emerald Blaze.

Baby Shygirl nursing from mumShygirl as a puppy
Shygirl as a baby

She was raised in Wisconsin where she had her first stellar career as a racing greyhound. A run in with a bad round of kennel cough in the kennel where she resided at the time brought about her first round of retirment at the age of four.

At seven years old, Shygirl and her brothers Tyler (ATB) and Nawty (ATB), decided a change of scenery was in order and with the help of Quad Cities Greyhound Adoption (formerly in Rock Island, Illinois), they relocated one at a time to the Buckeye state, Ohio. Shygirl was one of many "senior" aged greyhounds that were looking to relocate to foster homes throughout the midwest. I saw this note on the Greyhound-L and made arrangements with Kelly Graham to be a foster home for one of these seniors. Shygirl traveled with several other greyhounds on a GUR (Greyhound Underground Railroad) and arrived in northeast Ohio on Saturday, July 10, 1999. She then traveled to Grove City, Ohio where she remained in foster care just shy of two months.

On Monday, September 6, 1999, Ross told me that Shygirl wasn't going anywhere, that she was going to officially become part of the Capers family, although she already knew she wasn't going anywhere. Shygirl had Pele (ATB) worshiping the ground that she walked on. He adored her always.
Shygirl and Pele with mum
Shygirl, Pele, and Melinda

Shortly thereafter Shygirl started obedience classes once or twice, only to let me know that this trivial school stuff didn't amuse or entertain her in the least and she wanted nothing to do with it, so she dropped out to go onto other pursuits after she developed the keen attention span of a gnat. Shygirl was being asked to volunteer as the "test dog" on several occasions for the screening test administered by the Capital Area Humane Society to become a pet therapy dog with their group the Capital Canine Connection. Shygirl enjoyed the attention and meeting all the people and their dogs.

One day in fall of 2000, a dog didn't show up for their assigned testing time. Just to see how she would do, I asked if Shygirl could walk through a dry run of the test. After walking Shygirl through a "mock" test, she did well enough that they passed her on the spot for acceptance into their program at Children's Hospital. She went on to volunteer with Children's Hospital for nearly six years. In January 2004, Shygirl began a one and a half year period of volunteering with Odyssey Healthcare to visit with several hospice patients.

In September 2001, Shygirl & her adopted brother Pele, traveled with Shygirl's brother Tyler,and his greyt siblings Peanut and Jake, via RV with their humans to a greyhound reunion in Illinois. This was a very special reunion with the people that loved and cared for Shygirl and Tyler both. We also visited the place they called home during their days in Wisconsin. The Lazaris family will always hold a special place for us and what they share with us through both Shygirl and Tyler.

In April 2005, Shygirl celebrated her 13th birthday, while Pele celebrated his 12th birthday at a "by invitation only" birthday party at a privately owned dog park in central Ohio. This birthday gala invitation was designed by Shygirl's own Auntie Anne. My attire was provided by none other than Shygirl's own Auntie Anita, while Shygirl & Pele's bandana attire was designed by bandana seamstress extraordinaire Auntie Sharon. We paid a special silent tribute that day to Shygirl's brother Tyler, who is dearly missed.

From October 2005 through February 2006, Shygirl participated in a specially designed therapy/rehab program customized just to suit her special aging needs. Special thanks to Drs. Tod Beckett, Tami Shearer, and Amanda for taking such special care of our girl and assisting in keeping her flexible and mobile.
Shygirl's hydrotherapy
Shygirl's hydrotherapy to help keep her limber.

In the warm weather, Shygirl spent her Saturday afternoons taking a dip in the pond at BarkPark, the private dog park where she was a member for several years. She often came to work with me, and her food was delivered right to our front door by Kelly at Duke's Natural Products For Pets.

In March 2006, we celebrated Shygirl's Second Retirement with a nod to St. Patrick’s Day. Shygirl commissioned a special coloring book to commemorate this event complete with holiday related activities for the children and a photo spread of a few of her favorite outfits.

A very special volunteer greeted us at the door that evening, one whose presence we were not expecting. He was promptly greeted with a hug from me, and it was hard not to have his presence bring tears to my eyes. His name is Steve and for all of her years at Children's Hospital, he has been affectionately known as Shygirl's boyfriend. Steve told Shygirl that there was no way he would have missed it. From the first time she saw Steve, Shygirl was always tickled to see him. He always spoke to her in the most gentle voice, stroked her with a tender hand, and tended to her as the diva she knew she would always be.

Shygirl began the day after her retirement celebration with a bit of a rough start. She recuperated at home after having her remaining teeth (only five or six) removed. At this time, she was dubbed the "Gummybear Princess” by her dearest Auntie Anne and the name stuck.

She then won the April 2006 photo contest on Snobbydogs.com, with a whopping 193 votes. Her prize was a “ruby” and “diamond” encrusted collar and lots of treats. Her photo was featured on their web site with her latest glamour accessory.
Shygirl wearing rubies
Shygirl modeling her new ruby necklace and hat

In 2006, we also learned that Children's Hospital would feature Shygirl's photo of her perfectly pink Jeanie costume in the "November 2006" section of their calendar.
Shygirl
Classic Shygirl... Pretty in Pink!!!

She was at the point in her life at which most greyhound people would refer to as a Golden Oldie. I read the following quote one day, "Everyone is the age of their heart". That's how I would always describe Shygirl's heart. The winter and cooler weather brought out her frisky playful side. The warmer weather brought days lounging on the deck for hours at a time. On one of the greyhound web sites that I frequent (www.greyhoundgang.com) there is a section on senior and special needs dogs that included the following description, "With age comes sassiness, and silliness and sexiness; and these gals have that in abundance." Shygirl will forever and always be one of these girls.

I treasured each and every day with her, and continued to be bedazzled by her personality, heart and soul. Every moment is a gift and to have shared this gift with her, means more than I could ever explain in words. My special girl, with the heartfelt connection, and grace beyond any I've ever known.

As I said to her each and every evening when she started her nightly round of barking orders at us, "Who's sweet, sexy, sassy and fine?" and of course, she gave a resounding reply, as if to say, "Yes, that's me and don't you ever forget it."

As I said to her each night before we went to bed, and each morning before I went to work, when I bent over her head, looked into her eyes, and kissed the bridge of her nose, "Shygirl, I'll love you always."
Shygirl with mummy
Shygirl enjoying never ending love from mum

In May 2007, just six weeks after her 15th birthday, I wished a swift and peaceful journey on my angel's way to get her wings after a losing battle with laryngeal paralysis.

She graced our life with her presence, and commanded the attention of all that surrounded her. Remember with me, hug your hounds, light a candle, and do as I did each and every day, and as I held her in my arms for her final journey - kiss all your hounds, and look them in the eye and repeat the following as I did to Shygirl, "I'll love you always."

For me – Shygirl - my sweet grey girl, my heart aches for you until we are together once again, fly free sweet angel, for "I have seen beauty but none to match your living grace".

 

Please visit our Photo Gallery for more photos of Shygirl.