I Rescued Her, She is Saving Me
Learning to be a Family
Meet Ellie. She's cute, right? She looks happy and playful. To be fair, she is but her idea of playful and mine differ greatly. Ellie is a rescue from our local humane society. She was so sweet and demure when I met her, I knew she was the one for our family.
Our family consisted of my husband, an older terrier mutt, a litter of four cats, and me. My husband had been recently diagnosed with cancer and Ellie was going to be our protector and our emotional support during his treatment and recovery.
We love animals and our older dog never liked being the only dog. Ellie would have a brother to run and play with outside, a dad to play fetch with, a mom to cuddle and walk with, and cat siblings to keep her moving through doorways.
Our decision had been to adopt a rescue. There are so many wonderful adoption opportunities in our community, it was the right way to add to our family. Just a few local options are:
Everything started out fine, but my husband didn’t live long enough to have treatment or recover. On 9 Aug 2020, he passed away at the age of 61. I’m not confident that I’ll ever really come to terms with what happened, but my whole reality changed that day. Ellie became my comfort and my nemesis.
Her behavior makes me laugh, shake my head, and want to scream. I haven’t had time to really process because she keeps me on my toes. For a while, it was frustrating and I completely blamed myself because of how everything played out after I brought her home. She was just fifteen months old. It was the perfect time to train her and teach her how our household works. She deserved more than I could give her during such a stressful time.
Over the past few months we have been learning each other, and I’m pretty sure she is smarter than I am. She is the first dog I’ve owned who talks under her breath if you correct her. It’s not barking, it’s her own dog language. She reminds me of a cross between Scooby-Doo and Charlie Brown’s teacher when she talks. I have gotten her to say ‘Ruh Roh’ a couple of times. It’s the cutest thing ever.
Her More Interesting Behaviors
If I’m sitting in a chair with a leg crossed over the other, she will come up and take her paw to pull my leg off and jump up on me to lay down. If I tell her no, she yells at me.
When she wants me to come outside to play, she’ll drop a shoe on my lap. If I say not now, she takes the shoe by the laces and violently shakes it.
My backyard has a fence around it so when I’m working inside or outside, I’ll leave the door open. The pets can go in and out as needed. If I’m inside, and she wants me outside, she will run past me with something of mine. I have to go out to get it. She gets her way.
Once outside, she turns into an entirely different dog. Apparently, she considers me a large, moving tackle dummy and proceeds accordingly. She takes off and a dead run, jumps in the air and body tackles me. At times, she tries to grab my arm while jumping at me. I get the feeling maybe someone tried training her as an attack or guard dog. Instead of cops and robbers, we play burglar and guard dog. She did grab a sundress I was wearing last summer and wouldn’t let go. I kept trying to get it from her, but she ripped the bottom half of the dress off. Maybe she was playing keep away or some other game I wasn't told about. Thankfully, it happened in my yard.
She hides chews and my food in the house and yard. About every month or so she will go back and move them. It’s interesting to watch because she is very meticulous in her choices. It might take her 30 minutes to place one chew bone in just the right spot. If she can reach something, she considers it hers. She took a multi-pack of fig newtons from the counter. I didn’t realize it until I saw her hiding them. As far as I know, she never ate any of them. She just hid them, then moved them.
It worries me at times because she was originally a little food aggressive. When I gave the dogs treats, she would give our other dog a quivering ‘Elvis’ lip and a side-eye look. She was nearly ready to make a move. Tension was literally in the air. She was mentally watching to make sure she received at least the same amount. Over time, she has begun to trust that she will be treated the same with food, treats, and bites. Each dog does have their own bowl and I give them treats at the same time, using both hands.
Ellie is learning to do yard work. She likes to pull vines from the fence, break off new bamboo shoots and, break down sticks. I’m very proud of her willingness to help. One of her favorite, destructive things to do is tear up cardboard boxes. I give her the boxes I want her to tear apart. Cardboard can be compost, but it does need to be torn up first. It’s cool to have an environmentally conscious dog.
She’s also a great athlete. If you throw a ball to her, she can catch it in her mouth if you throw it high enough. Ellie cheats at tug-of-war and is working on her soccer skills. Her backyard long dash can’t be beaten. She plays tag like a linebacker.
Her personality has grown over the past nearly ten months. She’s stubborn, opinionated, playful, helpful, and completely lovable. She knows she's in trouble when I call her Eleanor and I know I'm in trouble when she starts talking at me. My timing was bad in adopting her, but she was the right choice for my family. She fills the damaged places of my heart with something I can’t quite explain.
About the Creator
Writing has always been a part of me. My dream could die with failure or would live on if I never tried. Time for that to change. Follow me https://linktr.ee/YvonneWriting and be sure to click like on any stories you enjoy.
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