By Josette Keelor
BERRYVILLE -- Aunt Bee was wearing nail polish on a cold March day when 13-year-old Cynthia Fairbanks found her in Clarke County.
The black haired 10-year-old spaniel-sharpei mix was in the middle of the Va. 7 bypass and was running with an unknown Chihuahua that resisted capture, said Cynthia, who was returning home from church with her mother that day.
Aunt Bee went home with Cynthia and the following day, on March 24, moved into the Clarke County Animal Shelter where Cynthia has volunteered for the last four years.
When dogs come in without a collar or identifying microchip, shelter staff post a photo on Petfinder.com and hope the owners will claim the animal within seven days. With a collar, they wait 12 days, said shelter manager Jenny Wright.
"If no one claims them, we put them up for adoption," Wright said.
The nail polish on Aunt Bee's paws suggested she had a home, but no one ever came for her. Asked how shelter staff tends to find lost dogs, she said, "Oh they find us, dogs, all the time."
One of three senior dogs currently at the shelter, Aunt Bee has been in good health since the day Cynthia rescued her. Aunt Bee got along fine with the other dogs at Cynthia's house, and she seems to be good with children, too.
"My little brother tripped over her and she didn't care," Cynthia said.
Wright agreed, "She loves everybody," but said Aunt Bee "would probably do better with her age being in a laid-back, chilled household."
With her black fur, she tires out more easily on walks in the heat, and Wright admitted the animal's unknown past makes her a challenge to take on.
"I don't know if she's been on Heartgard," Wright said. "I don't know stuff about her first years."
What she does know, "She's super sweet. ... She's completely house broken."
"She likes treats and canned food ... loves dog beds and chewing on raw hides."
Her ideal home would be one with a loving family, a soft bed and a spot by the fire.
"What we'd like to see is people taking them and giving them a ... good home for whatever time they have left."
Contact the Clarke County Animal Shelter at 540-955-5104 or at www.clarkecounty.gov/local/clarke-county-animal-shelter.html
Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or email@example.com