He was 130 lb., almost 20 lb. more than his breed's healthy weight. He was lethargic and losing his hair in patches.
I was worried.
At the same time, I was not in a financial position to rush him off to the vet whenever I could.
As fate would happen, I slid into second base on opening night and busted my hand ... really good. I broke the thumb off at the Bennett's joint, tore the tendons in my hand and required surgery to put everything back together.
My friend, Dana, is a veterinarian technician. She was also my teammate. She not only handled me and my pain, getting me to emergency and back to the hospital for surgery, but she also kidnapped Shep for the weekend.
Knowing I was overnighting at Peter Lougheed, she took Shep into her home and made sure he was well taken care of.
She also seized the opportunity to get him in to see Dr. Bill and get his blood tested. Sure enough, his thyroid was out of whack.
He went on medication and, within days, he had his energy back. Inside of two months, he was back to a healthy weight.
Fast forward three years to Saturday afternoon and his annual blood test.
Shep is a strange dog. He loves going to the vet. He knows his buddy Tundra will be there with Auntie Dana and he loves the attention he gets ... from the girls at reception to Dr. Bill.
He's just that kind of dog you can't help but love.
So we stick around to watch Auntie Dana run the blood test.
It's good news. His thyroid levels are high.
That means his dose of medication is too high, too.
So now we get to scale back on the amount of pills he has to take to keep everything regulated.
It's funny, because that isn't the kind of thing we can have control over. But, at the same time, I'm immensely proud of my boo for getting better.
He's happy - at least I think so - and he's healthy.
And because of the incredible love I've learned from him, I'll always ensure he gets to do the things he loves ... like heading for the hills for a good, long run.