A stray Shetland Sheepdog or Sheltie lived high in the Great Smoky Mountains and brightened my day with her infrequent visits for over five years. This past October I saw her disappear into the dense mountain forest for the last time. It was a hard winter and she was getting older and bad in the hips and had trouble chewing and I feared she wouldn't make it through. No sign of her this summer and the only film and video I have is in this short tribute. In truth, she probably had an "owner" of sorts, but she lived outside and traveled a large territory of probably several miles over several days before returning to home base - in the process making a few friends along the way at the scattered high mountain cabins that are empty much of the time. The Sheltie would hang out with me for a few hours and enjoy a good meal and some conversation and then simply disappear into the woods without a sound - moving on. It was no doubt a hard life - Winter must have been especially rough times - but it was her life and the Sheltie was proud, dignified and asked no favors. I'll always remember the visits of the little Sheltie I simply called "Buddy".
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