Ellie

Ellie

Just a few weeks after saying goodbye to our fur baby, I find an old unpublished blog post about her. From what I can tell, I originally wrote this about Ellie almost 5 years ago. Tears. Lots of tears. I miss my sweet girl and I feel so blessed to have had her as part of my life.

Rest in peace, Ellie. I will miss you and love you forever.

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If you are a true dog lover, you’ll understand my unconditional and highly devoted relationship I have with my Ellie. I know a lot of people love dogs….and enjoy them as pets and I have nothing but respect for people who have “pet” dogs and treat them well in that kind of relationship. But there are a few of us who can connect so fully with our canine friends that they are are truest companion…the keeper of our every secret and the truest reflection of who we are ourselves. No…more than a reflection of who we are….but actually part of our reflection. I, without the companionship of Ellie, feel her absence like the trees must miss their leaves during the winter…just a little more than bare. I can venture out away from her…but I’m sure a lot more comfortable when she is beside me. She’s a part of my whole and bestest and closest friend. And she is my protector. Grrrrrr.

Ellie is a lovable, sweet, charming, loving and highly intelligent dog. But she has a harsh history and much of it unknown to me. She came to me as a foster about 2 years ago and ended up becoming part of the family. Highly intelligent and eager to please, Ellie had moderately serious behavioral issues when we took her in. If I understood correctly we were at least her fourth home – she had been relinquished, rescued, returned, rescued again… and THEN came to us as a short-term foster. The couple originally asked us to keep her while they worked out a lease situation with their landlord. But in the meantime, I fell in love with her. And my son fell in love. And my daughter and her fiance fell in love with her. And Ellie was ours.

At some point, probably in one of her earliest homes in which she lived,Ellie was abused. Cruelly. I know this without a doubt. The first time I approached her while holding a coat hanger in my hand, she literally melted away from me and cringed away from me for several minutes despite my attempts to reassure her. And it’s taken almost two years of me singing about “happy sweeping from Mr. Happy Broom!” in an exaggerated “good girl” voice to convince her that I can sweep my floors without her cowering in the corner Through a lot of hard work by our family and through her strong will to succeed, she’s really come a long way. She is well-trained, responsive and very excited about being in a happy home with people who love her and have happy brooms.

One more final bragging point on our pup. She’s my favorite sleeping partner. Her 60-pound body curls perfectly into mine while I sleep and when I’m ready to roll over, she stretches and rolls with me. Sometimes my son wants her to sleep in his room and on those nights I miss her warm body next to mine. Now…there is a disadvantage to spooning a pitbull because they are notorious for having the worst kind of stanky gas. I mean…peel the wall, singe the hair in your nose and make your stomach burble kind of flatulence. But seriously…I’ve been married and divorced three men. I’ve lived through worse

And I love this dog. Truly. But dammit….she is a total pain in the ass sometimes. For the most part she’s gotten over her rough start, but she still pisses me off on a daily.

To be honest, I’ll never be able to completely predict her behavior because I don’t know her story before she came to me. I still don’t think I’ve found all of her triggers for her rare unexpected trigger reactions. It is very rare these days, but she still takes me by surprise sometimes…especially in times when she feels that I am in danger. If Ellie feels any threat toward me or my children, she goes a little…uhm…primal. For real. I have a post office box because the local post office considers my boog-a-boo a “vicious dog” and refuses to deliver mail to my home. It’s a long story but it was totally my fault because I startled in a way that made her think I was in trouble just as I was getting my mailed delivered. It makes me sad…but I don’t blame the postal service. It was a well-earned reprimand. However – I was really looking forward to getting mail from the cute little antique mailbox that sits just outside my antique door. Meh.

And another thing…she eats my favorite things. She chews on my favorite clothes or shoes, and sometimes even my sheets, when I’m gone too long (more than a couple of hours). I can’t be mad at her…eating is a stress reaction. Last week I ate an entire tub of pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough because I was feeling all alone and stressed out. It’s what some of us girls just do. It’s so understandable, right?.

Oh…and get this. She hurts me a lot…physically. She’s forgotten many times on our walks that I’m attached to the other end of her leash and it’s been painful. I’ve been dragged down gravel and asphalt roads, knocked into brick walls, run over, flipped upside down (ass up in the damn city park), jumped on, splashed and tripped. But when we found each other, we lived on beautiful wooded acreage and we could take our walks without leashes and leap and jump as much as we wanted. Neither of us of handled the move to leashes and sidewalks very well. We both miss walking in the woods.

I guess I connect so closely with my Ellie because I can relate to her brokenness. I’ve been through a lot in my life too and I have a few behavioral issues as a result too. Actually…I still make BIG mistakes regularly; just not as frequently as I used to make them. My sister and my closest of friends know that I can be a little unpredictable. But to my credit, I don’t think I’ve ever chewed on any of their clothes or sheets and I’ve never attacked their mailman. And I haven’t dragged any of my friends down gravel or an asphalt roads yet…but I’ve taken them all on some pretty messed up emotional trips of my own and they held onto my “leash” too. Guess Ellie and I are both pretty lucky to be loved by people who love us despite our bad behavior.

*Not lucky…Blessed*

Embrace

embrace

Across the street from my old front porch in my small hometown, there was a blooming tree that always made me happy. It was a tree that you’d normally see blooming in this area every spring – usually with beautiful white flowers or with bright pick flowers. This tree was special. It had been spliced at some point and both the pink and the white flowers bloomed on this tree; the colors not so much interspersed but instead wrapped around the tree next to each other in a strikingly harmonious way. This tree was well known and was easily the most beautiful tree to be found in a town filled with beautiful trees. This tree was good; it’s memory so vibrant in my memory that I painted a picture of it and hung it above my bed as a reminder of its beauty.

About a year before I moved, the tree was struck by lightening and caught on fire and never bloomed again. And so many times I would walk outside and see where the tree once stood and feel sad. There were still other beautiful blooms to be seen in the colorful neighborhood in which I lived, but none so extraordinarily so as this one tree with the two colors embracing each other.

When people talk about beautiful sunsets, they describe their beauty by the array of colors that are brought out in the sky just as the sun approaches the horizon. When we move into a house, we paint the walls of the rooms different colors in order to make the house warmer and more fun to look at and live in. When we buy cars, create art, capture photographs and even clothe our bodies, we use and appreciate different colors, shapes and shades as part of what makes these things more beautiful or more fun than it would be otherwise.

We recognize all the colors as equally beautiful and contributing to the overall beauty of the things themselves. In nature, in our homes and in our own appearance and in so many other ways we embrace color fully and we see beauty when colors are combined in a way that co-exist pleasingly. We like to see colors embracing in a way that leaves them more beautiful than they would be if they stood separate. We see this in almost every way…except in the color of our skin.

I am amazed at what I see happening in the United States right now. I don’t want to speak directly to the specific things that are happening because they are all so ugly and scary. I do want to say this though…the state of our country completely unacceptable. At this point in our evolution as a society and with all of the ways the human race has advanced in science and understanding, there is just no rhyme or reason for the kind of ignorance that we as a collective are demonstrating to ourselves and to the rest of the world.

There should not be people dying, threatened, oppressed or scared because of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or any other human quality. These things are just part of our human spectrum…our beauty as a collective humanity is made more beautiful by our differences and our diversity. This is the spectrum of diversity that makes the fabric of our humanity. We should not still be deciding what’s right for each other and hating each other because of our differences. Instead we should each be seeing ourselves as beautifully unique while allowing others to do the same around us; each of us creating a beautiful bloom of our own and embracing each other in a way that makes us the most beautiful tree on the block.

“Maybe I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one.” (John Lennon)