Dr. Earley’s wife, Georgia, rescued our dog, Libby, from an unhappy situation when she was about 4-months-old. I took her home one night to meet my husband, and she adopted us both as soon as she entered our home. The next ten years were dedicated to a companion that demanded and deserved stimulation 365 days a year... no matter the weather. She was an Australian Cattle Dog, also commonly called a Blue Heeler. This is a working breed that requires daily exercise and mental stimulation.
Libby was a very confident, independent, and focused dog. She chased and caught frisbees as long as you could physically throw them. Her other passion was rolling rocks and licking them - often times until her tongue would bleed. You could easily say she had obsessive-compulsive disorder about rocks!
Although Libby was very serious about her various jobs, she did have a comical side. You could ask her to go find a particular toy and she never disappointed. It might have taken a little time, but she always came through with the right toy. And how she loved to shake them! Amazingly she never purposely destroyed a toy. Instead, her toys had to have surgery many times to repair wounds inflicted by shaking.
Libby hiked all over WNC and in surrounding states. Her love for the trail was instinctual. Her favorite trails were in the Black Mountain area. We hiked those trails so often that she knew them by heart. I remember a couple of times she lost her tennis ball off the side of the trail and was unable to find it. When we returned to the same trail later, she looked for her ball again and found it! She never ceased to amaze us with her intelligence. She also had perfect trail etiquette. She came across black bears, turkeys, squirrels, a rattlesnake, and other wildlife in her many adventures. We can't begin to imagine how many miles those little feet traveled over mountain terrain, rolling rocks all over WNC.
Libby also loved doing agility exercises. She had her own little course in a field in front of our house. We would go out and watch her enjoy herself jumping and running through weave poles. Her favorite obstacle was the tunnel. If the tunnel was anywhere close, she was going in! She competed for fun in novice level and won many blue ribbons. Even though we only competed for fun, Libby took her job very seriously.
She had lots of friends, human and canine. Many of her hikes were with friends. Some of her human friends became very good at throwing the frisbee. Libby also loved camping with her friends. Her favorite campsite was any site with water and rocks. She was a great camping buddy.
We were very fortunate to have our friend and my coworker, Kelly Brown, as her pet-sitter. Kelly referred to Libby as her "godchild." Libby was definitely at home with her. We called Kelly's home "The Farm.” When asked if she wanted to go to "The Farm," Libby would bark and run around shaking her toy. Kelly kept Libby's favorite stick in her barn, and they would play fetch. Many times I would meet Kelly in the parking lot, and Libby would just hop right up into her truck, never looking back, and off they would go to the farm. We never had a single worry when she was under Kelly's care.
Libby also donated blood to a few patients that were in need. She did not meet the weight requirement to be a regular donor, but she was able to help out a few tiny puppies. As a veterinary technician, I was lucky to have a dog that never fussed about having medical procedures done to her. She would allow me to draw blood without restraint, and she took injections without any complaints. Dr. Earley was her primary veterinarian, and he provided her with 10 years of exceptional care.
In 2009, after 10 years of excellent health and tremendous energy, she very suddenly became ill with a neurological problem. We took her to the veterinary school at the University of Georgia to have an MRI performed. Unfortunately, the MRI diagnosed a brain tumor that was not operable. We knew we had to say goodbye and release her from her pain.
Libby had a strong spirit, which can still be felt. We have so many beautiful and amazing memories of her, and it is an honor to have a story written in her memory. Thank you to all of our friends who helped to contribute to her amazing life.
One of Libby's dear friends wrote something very sweet and true in a beautiful card to us after her death: "I had this memory of her yesterday of her bringing me her frisbee to throw, but only a couple of times. She would always take it back to one of you pretty quickly. It's like she wanted to include me, but really was thinking ‘Sorry, but you stink at throwing the frisbee.”