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Happy Tail: This dog shepherds her family through grief


Robyn Malchow had the misfortune to suffer the deaths two of her dogs within a week of each other and calls it “the worst week I have ever had. I could not believe the timing and I was crying every day.”

Nettie, a German Shepherd mix

Read Nettie’s story in Robyn’s words.

She had one dog left, a German Shepherd mix named Blue — and he was despondent over the loss of his two companions as well.

“My grandma brought up getting him another companion,” Robyn says. “I did not want one at first because it had only been weeks since losing our pups.”

Nevertheless, she began looking at Petfinder and saw a five-month-old Shepherd mix named Sage. Out West Pet Rescue in Prosser, WA, had listed her on Petfinder.

“She was very shy at first but took right to me,” says Robyn, who lives in Richland, WA. “I felt guilty when we first got her because she was using the bed of one of our dog’s that had passed away. But then I realized that the love I showed my Lab gave her a great life and I was going to do the same for this little one.”

She changed the dog’s name to Nettie, a character in “The Color Purple” — Robyn’s favorite movie. “Ceelie was the main character, and her sister was Nettie,” Robyn says. “No matter how far apart they were, there was still a great love there. I felt it was appropriate and it fits her well.”

Like many adopters who add new four-legged family members while they’re still in mourning for a beloved pet, Robyn admits that she may have needed Nettie more than Nettie needed her.  The adoption has worked for all of them, Blue included.

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