Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ellie: The Wonder Pooch

Ellie and Alexis (2001)
A friend asked me a question yesterday. Three actually.

Josie on yesterday's blog asked:  What is the story of Ellie's relationship with you, how did she handle the hard years, and how do you see her changing as she gets older?

I pondered the questions and then, on the Soul of a Pilgrim community forum, one of the participants wrote in response to a photo I'd posted of Ellie,  "Dogs are the best spiritual directors ever, and [her dog] constantly and patiently shows me how to live, how to stay present to "now," how to pay attention to what matters and let everything else go.  "God" truly is "Dog" spelled backwards! "

Ellie 2003
Ellie is named after Ella Fitzgerald. We got her the day my eldest daughter, Alexis, tried out for The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede. While she was in the audition hall, Liseanne and I sat in the lobby, the newspaper spread out between us. I read news articles while Liseanne circled ads for Golden Retriever puppies.

Here's a perfect one, she said, showing me the ad for a breeder who had retriever puppies for sale.

When Alexis got out of her audition, she was in tears. "I was awful!" she cried.

Liseanne, accustomed to her sister's negative pronouncements of her auditions, ignored her cries and proudly showed her the ad. "I've found our Golden Retriever puppy!" she said. 

Both girls looked at me. Their eyes wide and pleading. "Can we go see them now? Please?"

I acquiesced. Seriously? Who could resist two sets of big brown eyes?

And the rest is history. Ellie was the runt of the litter. She only wanted to cuddle. She only wanted to be held.
Ellie 2010
Alexis got her coveted place with the young Canadians and four weeks later Ellie came home to us. A bundle of joy that has continued to give and be present in our lives, through dark days and golden moments.

It was Ellie who would sit beside me in the dark of a closet during those dark hours of that relationship where I wanted to die. She would sit beside me, her warm body leaning into me as I cried and held onto her for my life.

And when I was lost and wanted to kill myself during every waking moment, it was her presence that kept reminding me I couldn't. I was lost to my daughters and believed, or so I told myself, they were better off without me, but without me, I couldn't risk what he would do to Ellie.

I had to stay alive.

Ellie is my spiritual director. My guide. My constant companion. She warms my heart, and my bed. She likes it when C.C. is away because she gets to occupy his side of the bed. 

She has run with me, walked with me and crawled with me as I moved beyond the terror of those days into the light of life today.

Ellie and Me 2012
She continues to run, walk and crawl with me as we both get older. She continues to guide me, keep me present and grounded. But no longer does she need to sit in dark closets with me. I no longer have the need to hide. With Ellie by my side, I have moved out of the darkness into the light. I am blessed by her presence.            
She is  my angel.


JeannetteLS said...

Beautiful story of love, beautifully written.

S. Etole said...

Beautifully told. I still miss my little dog of 16 years that was by my side during the hard times and kept me focused.

Louise Gallagher said...

Thank you Jeannette

Louise Gallagher said...

My old retriever lived to 15 Susan and the girls and I still speak of her with love in our hearts. I think that's the best part -- they only leave love prints on our hearts.


Josie Two Shoes said...

I knew this would be a wonderful story to read, and I was so right! The way our furry kids love us, comfort us, and uplift us amazes me. My life would be so much less without mine. They always seem to know exactly what I need, and they are there without question. I totally enjoyed the photos you added, and I love reading about your daily walks with Ellie. She won the doggy lottery when you chose her and I'm sure the universe knew she would be just what you would need. THank you for sharing this with us, I am smiling!

Valerie Kamikubo said...

What a beautiful, beautiful dog, and a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing about the of two of you.

Louise Gallagher said...

Thanks Josie -- actually I think we won the lottery when we chose her :) She is a gem.

Louise Gallagher said...

Thank you Valerie -- I appreciate your words.

Nikky44 said...

Dogs are so precious. One day i know I will have one!

Fi said...

and now I love her more - Miss Ellie. My new dog is the first dog that has ever been mine - to choose, to train, to grow with.

Our other dog was my husbands and was chosen by him with his first wife and while I loved the dog she was never totally mine.

This new one is mine (to share) and she's quite 'special.

Anonymous said...

oh, you know i like this...