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2006 Shelbina Express: Isobel


© 2016 Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation

Female #109, Isobel (Izzie)

From: Tracey Fulmer <t_fulmer@YAHOO.COM>
Date: Thu Apr 6, 2006 5:00:56 PM US/Pacific
Subject: [KBL] It's official: Izzie has a home...

...and her home is with me!

Isobel (Izzie) is thriving here in Mass. The only word to describe her is sweet. Well okay, also smart. We've mastered the stairs both ways (with the exception of going up the slippery, hardwood indoor stairs.) I've never seen a dog more proud of herself than when she went down the stairs for the first time on her own. I wish I'd taken a video because she was just adorable, so tentative, placing each paw before she moved down to the next step. We have "sit" pretty well mastered (unless there are distractions) and are getting close on "paw" and "down". We're already doing some jumps about two inches off the ground. Whatever she does, she gets tons and tons of praise. I see her confidence growing daily and I admit that I push her a little bit to get her to try things. But when she gets it and does it for the first time, she's so thrilled with her little self that she goes back and tries it again. Before she wouldn't walk down the two steps from the garage. Now she jumps and misses the second step completely. What a thrill to see this little girl come to life before my eyes!

Bailey still ignores her for the most part. But when he decides he wants to play, he scares her (he barks and tries to nip the legs to get her to run, which Izzie isn't so sure is play.) She gets the crazies and tries to jump in his face, which he obviously thinks is beneath his mighty Kerry image. I'm sure they'll figure it out eventually. There's not an ounce of animosity between them and often I catch them snoozing next to each other.

Izzie has been meeting lots of dogs and is fabulous with all of them. She's not afraid of two German Shepherds we see at the park who like to wait and pounce with their greetings. Not one dog has taken offense to her. (Wish I could say the same for Bailey, whose a little rough around the edges when it come to dog etiquette.) She's been coming to my agility club practices and hangs out while Bailey does his thing. Izzie doesn't make a peep but watches and waits for me to bring her some goodies too.

A note to all of the other adopters: check your collar or better yet, use a Lupine collar. Izzie got startled and almost backed out of her collar, even though the collar was on pretty tight, when a loud car went by on a walk. I scooped her up quickly, but it was close. These rescues are very skittish and it only takes a second for an accident to happen. I feel so fortunate to have adopted one of these delightful rescues and wanted to thank all of the donors and volunteers -- especially Jan, who gave 110% of her heart and soul -- who made this rescue a possibility. I just adore my little Izzie! And of course, my incredibly good boy, and Kerry #1, Bailey!

Tracey Fulmer in Newton, MA

From: Tracey Fulmer <t_fulmer@YAHOO.COM>
Date: Thu Apr 6, 2006 7:14:32 PM US/Pacific
Subject: Re: [KBL] It's official: Izzie has a home...

Some details on Isobel:

Izzie is a little over 2 years old. She was # 109 and the littermate of # 110. Izzie isn't skinny, but she is small -- only 27 lbs and I'm guessing around 16 1/2 or 17 inches tall. Her teeth are decrepid and caked with gunk (and soon to be cleaned when she's spayed). I don't know what the cheapest puppy mill food is, but whatever it is, it sure does nasty things to a dog's teeth. She has yet to have an accident in the crate or the house (boy did I get lucky!)

I've sent in pictures to be posted on the web site. I'm not the best photographer, but you can see a bit of her personality coming through.

I've also learned not to swear at my computer. Izzie's tail goes down immediately and she leaves the I'll do my best to curtail that bad habit!


From: Tracey Fulmer <t_fulmer@YAHOO.COM>
Date: Tue Apr 18, 2006 4:59:55 PM US/Pacific
Subject: [KBL] Updates on Shelbina Rescues in New England

Izzie, my little girl, is also doing fabulously. She's so incredibly willing to please that when she sits, she puts her paws perfectly together and her tail doesn't stop wagging in anticipation of her praise and treat. We start group obedience classes next week and I have a feeling she'll be the star. She still can't climb up the hardwood stairs and yells at me to carry her up if I leave her downstairs alone. She is persistent! Still not much interaction between her and Bailey, but they seem to enjoy each others company nonetheless. Izzie is very submission with other dogs, which is a total change of pace for me. I have to keep an eye on her as other dogs, even puppies, tend to pick on her. Bailey has actually come to her rescue a few times, so the pack has formed.

Tracey Fulmer in Newton, MA
Rescue Coordinator, New England

From: Tracey Fulmer <t_fulmer@YAHOO.COM>
Date: Thu May 11, 2006 12:09:40 PM US/Pacific

Sending an update on Isobel from the Shelbina Express rescue.... She's doing so well and loving life here in MA. This little girl is so willing to please it makes my heart ache. When she sits, she sits wth her paws perfectly together, tail wagging. When she gives paw, it is a firm handshake (she even grips a little with her nails) then she firmly plants her paw back on the floor, right next to the other one. It's almost a miliatary style salute! When she does down, she practically jumps up before she goes down. I crack up every time.

And her recalls are spectactular! At the park when she's off leash, as soon as I call, her head snaps up and she comes flying, practically skidding to a sit right in front of me. Her focus is tremendous. I confess I've already started introducing her to the agility equipment. Two weeks ago, she was afraid of each obstacle. Now she puts her paws on the A-frame and tunnel. She still hasn't mastered the inside sliippery stairs, but she can jump in and out of the car (although sometimes she forgets she can do that.) Even with all of the exercise we get, her muscles still aren't very solid.

I've been trying to expose her to new things as much as possible, and this past week we attended our first group obedience class. It's for dogs who need remedial training and rescues who aren't puppies. She fit right in.
During class she was such a trooper, sitting all prim and proper at my feet. Then when it was our turn to try walking on a leash and doing sits, etc. she got a little nervous and checked out. I couldn't get her attention back and neither could the trainer, so the trainer kept coming by and giving her treats to make she'd have a wonderful experience. I have no doubt she'll keep improving with each visit.

The trainer absolutely fell in love with her, as did two girls (5 and 7 yrs old) sitting next to me. They were there with their parents and their new rescue (a 9 month old lab/shepherd mix appropriately named Bonzai). These girls couldn't keep their hands off Izzie, who was in heaven. She rolled on her back for a belly rub (something the proud Bailey would never do in public!).
And finally, she and Bailey have started to play a bit. I think she now knows that Bailey's attempts to nip at her legs and his barking are all in good fun to entice her to run. I personally don't know how she can resist his play bows with that slow, baiting tail wag.

She's just a treasure and I feel so lucky to have her. Of course, I feel the same way about Bailey, too!

Tracey in Newton, MA

From: Tracey Fulmer <t_fulmer@YAHOO.COM>
Date: Sun Jun 25, 2006 8:42:48 AM US/Pacific

Today, Isobel made it up the inside hardwood stairs all by herself. I've never seen a happier dog. We had to go back down and do it again! We'd been working on it to the point when I'd say "up the stairs" and she would stand there with her front paws on the third step and wait for me to lift the back right leg, then the left front paw, etc. etc. etc. She finally got the muscle strength and confidence to push up all by herself. Good thing, too, since she's actually getting a little chubby.

So we've started to cut back a bit on food. Her coat, which the vet in Iowa said might need special shampoo because it was so course, is now luxurious and starting to turn into what looks like a beautiful dark gray. Her body has also changed -- she's more square, with her back legs seeming to elongate and strong muscles developing in her upper body. Did I once say she was afraid to walk around the neighborhood because cars whizzing by scared her? Well, not any more!! And that tail is up and wagging like a hummingbird most of the time, especially on our walks. Isobel is perplexed if we walk by somebody who doesn't stop to pet her, and stands there waiting to see if they'll come back. She LOVES to play tug, grunting and sighing with every pull (sounding very much like a tennis player). She'll even jump to grab the leash out of my hand while we're hiking on the trails -- that Kerry spunk sparkling right out of her dark eyes. Unlike Bailey, who tiptoes around any standing water, she gets a kick out of running right through the mud, usually more than once, at top speed. And what a cuddler! Whereas Bailey prefers to lay at my feet, Isobel drapes her head across my chest. For a wake up call, Isobel licks at my toes, while Bailey goes straight for the Kerry facial. They make quite a team!

For anybody planning to go to Montgomery this year, Isobel will be there competing in Novice agility. And of course, Bailey will be there as well, jumping and weaving his heart out (he recently earned his Excellent Agility title). Both Kerries would love to shake your hand. Bring lots of treats; chicken is preferred.

Has it been just over 3 months since Isobel escaped from the mill? How did these creatures survive with the humidity, the mosquitoes, the thunderstorms, the freezing cold? How could these inquisitive minds tolerate being cooped up in cage 24/7? It just boggles my mind that they can emerge from that hideous existence virtually unscathed. I look at this utterly sweet, adorable, spunky Kerry and my heart just melts.

Pictures to come If it ever stops raining here in Boston. Tracey Fulmer in Newton, MA

From: Tracey Fulmer <>
Date: Wed Jun 28, 2006 6:27:52 AM US/Pacific

Attached are new pictures of Isobel and her pal, Bailey. You can see Izzie's coat is starting to turn. Since she was pitch black when I got her in March, I attribute the change to good nutriton for the first time in her life.

Bailey and Isobel

She always looks like she's smiling and ready for her next adventure.        
Her lucky owner,  Tracey

At the New England Kerry Gathering, August 19, 2006

Tracey Fulmer, Rescue Coordinator for the East Coast, with her Kerries Isobel (Shelbina Express Rescue) and Bailey--both trained in agility.

From: t_fulmer@YAHOO.COM
Subject: [KBL] Ahhh Agility
Date: October 8, 2006 7:46:06 AM PDT

I'm back from the agility trials in Kimberton, PA. Four days of fun (although staying in a hotel where there were more terriers than I could count was challenging!)

And I couldn't be more delighted with Isobel (rescued from puppy mill hell in March 06). I had entered her in the jumpers runs to get some experience at a trial, in a different situation than our backyard or our agility club training yard. Low and behold, she had a qualifying run her first time out, flying through the weaves and finishing third. Not too shabby considering where she was just 6 months ago. I'm in awe of my little fighter. And she stole the hearts of other Kerry owners there as well.

Unfortunately, she got a little intimidated the second time out (she realized she was in a big, empty yard and wasn't getting rewarded with treats every few jumps), and refused to jump the last few jumps. By her fourth run, she put her tail down before the first jump and turned to leave the ring. My attempts to get that spark back failed -- my sole goal was to keep this a 100% positive experience and I was hoping we could leave the ring before her tail did. So we'll take a few steps back and enter some "fun runs", where she can be in a new environment but get rewarded during the run, and also work on lengthening the time between rewards. Agility has been such a confidence builder for her and I want that positive, upbeat experience to continue. That's the name of the game with agility, and it's worked wonders for my dear Isobel.

This is truly an amazing sport. You're competing against the course, rather than other competitors, so it's filled with exceptionally nice, helpful people. If anybody is interested in starting out, feel free to contact me or check out for training facilities with classes in your area. I highly recommend it if you want to spend even more time with your Kerry.

Tracey Fulmer
Newton, MA

Subject: Isobel's Qualifying Jumpers Run at Kimberton
Date: October 27, 2006 4:32:25 AM PDT

I'm sending this video of Isobel's qualifying agility run from the recent terrier trials in the hopes that John can put it on the web site. Maybe it will inspire other Kerry owners to try agility with their Kerries, or just try new things with their rescues. Isobel certainly loves agility or anything that involves treats!

You can see that she kept looking to me for a reward. Her jump style is beautiful. And those weaves were awesome!


Subject: Update on Isobel from Shelbina
Date: January 14, 2008 9:08:11 AM PDT

I'm sending some lovely pictures of Isobel taken by my agility training friend and professional photographer, Lesley Mattuchio. Isobel is an amazing agility dog -- fast, tight turning and accurate -- and I continue to work on getting her as driven at trials as she is at practices (where she fusses and barks at me when she has to wait on the table).



Last summer, she earned her AKC novice JWW title with very limited trial entries. Once we break through her trial inhibitions, she will be a force in the 16 inch class for sure. I look back at where she came from versus where she is today and my respect for her gutsy spirit just grows by leaps and bounds!


From: t_fulmer@YAHOO.COM
Subject: [KBL] One Shelbina Express Kerry -- 2 Years Later!
Date: March 18, 2008 10:07:49 AM PDT

Another year has passed since the Shelbina Kerries -- all 34 of them -- were rescued on March 18, 2006.

This is a milestone for my Isobel, who has now been out of the mill longer than she was in it -- 2 years. Two years of the good life hasn't completely erased those first two years in hell, but time has been on Isobel's side. She's not progressing at the warp speed she did during the first year, but I continually notice improvements in her confidence. Just yesterday, she jumped up on the couch to sit beside me when I invited her up. She had never jumped up on her own before, despite my invitations. It's not that she couldn't -- she's an excellent jumper -- but for some reason she just never did. And she continues to get better and faster at agility.

Isobel is just about the sweetest dog I've ever met -- not a mean bone in her body -- but she's developed a pretty wicked prey drive over the past year. Maybe it's from living with Bailey, whose prey drive is 110% Kerry with an extensive vocabulary -- kitty, quacker, chippy, squirrel -- any of those words now have Isobel's head up and on alert. But perhaps the best indicator of her confidence is that she finally got up the nerve to steal Bailey's favorite plush soccer ball. When I open the door to the yard, she and Bailey race each other to get the ball. Even if she gets there first, she will always relinquish it to Bailey. Finally she's sticking up for herself.

Her lovely wavy coat is no longer dark, but a light blue with black feet and head. She's a pretty little Kerry girl! Isobel is a bit quirky as well and quite the perfectionist. On our walk yesterday, Bailey had a leaf stuck in his beard. It was bugging her (she kept looking at it) so she quickly plucked it out for him. What a goof!

I just adore her, as does everybody who meets her. They all get to hear her story and are amazed that she's a rescue, and especially a puppy mill rescue. I often wonder how the other Shelbina Kerries are doing and look forward to updates from their adopters.

Tracey in Newton, MA with Bailey and Isobel (aka Busy Izzie)

From: t_fulmer@YAHOO.COM
Subject: [KBL] Happy 5-Year Anniversary to the Shelbina Rescue Kerries!!
Date: March 24, 2011 2:47:58 PM PDT

My sweet Isobel is doing great and continues to gain confidence with each
passing year. She is now 7 years old. Her beard turned white two years ago
so I always wonder if the mill's "paperwork" was accurate. But she is
healthy, happy and glad to be alive and barking at the passers by.

And I am still so thankful to have her and to have seen first hand what goes
on in those mills.
I will never forget and I will never stop telling anybody who will listen
about the story of the 34 Shelbina Kerries and the atrocities of the
pet store trade.

Please send a note with an update on your Shelbina Kerries. And to those
who are no longer with us on this earth, may they rest in peace knowing they
were very much loved.

Tracey, Bailey, Isobel and Piper in Newton, MA

Subject: [KBL] Isobel update -- 11 yrs old!
Date: March 8, 2015 11:05:58 PM PDT

Isobel celebrated her 11th birthday in Feb. It's been almost 9 years since she was rescued at the Shelbina auction.

I've never seen her happier and she's in phenomenal shape, other than some old age lumps and worn down teeth. We moved to southern NH a year ago and hike off leash in the woods daily. She's my best trail dog and I smile watching her get the zoomies as she and my Border Terrier charge ahead.

I also added a Border Collie pup to the mix -- due to a severe agility addiction -- and that's renewed Isobel's interest in showing me that she still knows how to play agility. She could never get over ring stress at competitions, so we stopped competing, but she's got the most fabulous weave pole rhythm and speed.

She's also got the sweetest disposition and doesn't react to other dogs, even if they get snarky, so I call her my "easy dog".

Happy Belated Birthday to Isobel. Looking forward to more years and more hikes.

Tracey in NH. 

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