If you have even spent any amount of time with me, you know that there is one subject that I will talk about nonstop. The subject is the screen saver on my home and work computer as well as my cell phone. I have more photos of this subject on my phone then anything else. Close to 2000 pictures. Have you guessed yet the object of my obsession? Who do I love more then Coffee, football, the mountains, and most people?
Of course… I am talking about my fur baby, Ellie.
I purposely didn’t say Dog, because, well, Ellie has never been treated as such.
From the day she came home with me almost 13 years ago from the shelter, she has lived a VERY posh life. She has her pick of down feather blankets to rest on. Sweaters, and jackets to wear. Toys to play with, treats galore, and she graciously lets me sleep with her in the Queen sized bed each and every night.
That is not all. She is an online celebrity.
It’s true. Ellie has she own Facebook page. This is the point where I know some of you are shaking your heads wondering what kind of freak are you friends with. However, in my defense, I started the page for family and friends, but within a week it went viral and she had 200 followers. Now almost 4 years later she has over 800 followers, with a great part being from other countries. You can follow her here: Ellie Belly on Facebook
EVERYTHING about Ellie fascinates me. From the first day I adopted her we became bonded for life. Those first few months were not easy. I had never had a dog before and Ellie had never had a human. I remember sitting with her that first night in our little apartment, just staring at her and thinking, “What the crap do I do with you?” She somehow sensed my question and immediately answered back by laying her head in my lap, which I am pretty sure was her way of saying, “Just love me.”
The beginning was rocky. Sometimes real rocky. Ellie of course had free reign of the apartment while I was at work. Somehow in my delusional mind, I thought she would sleep while I was away, or lay on the sofa watching TV. The reality was, she plundered and pillaged like a freaking pirate the whole time I was gone. Carpet was chewed, clothes were strewn all through the apartment, cords were ripped out of outlets and then plugs chewed off, and a half bottle of Zyrtec was consumed ( don’t even ask). It truly is a miracle that Ellie survived her first year and did not die from electrocution or drug over dose. Clearly I did not win Pet Parent of the year that first year.
But survive she did, and pretty soon Ellie and I settled into a routine. Walks were a huge part of our everyday. Before I realized it, I was becoming an active walker. Twice a day we would walk the same two mile path. While I had lived in this neighborhood for approximately 7 years and walked occasionally, I was noticing things I had not noticed before, and I was developing new friendships as well. Suddenly I was arranging play dates, bringing other dogs over to babysit, and making special Dairy Queen runs for frozen treats. I wasn’t a soccer mom. No. I had become something even bigger and more obnoxious.
A DOG MOM
I am not even quiet sure when it happened. One day I was a single twenty something living a carefree single person’s life, and the next I’m cancelling outings, and rushing home from work just to spend time with my dog. For the first time in my entire life I was living alone. A month earlier I had married off my final roommate, and moved from our roomy, yet cozy home, into a small one bedroom apartment. I loved the freedom of living alone, yet I knew something was missing. So I thought, “Why not get a dog?” If ever there was a random thought, that was the most random of them all. I had never owned a dog, or even been around any. I had a cat for over 20 years, but never had I shown any interest in dogs. My mother had two dogs I enjoyed playing with when I came to town to visit, but I was never responsible for them. So the idea of me wanting a dog, was totally insane.
My mother graciously drove me to the shelter one weekend when I had come in for a visit. I remember feeling so noble. “I am going to rescue a beautiful dog and give it a beautiful life.” Little, did I know that lying in the first kennel, on the cold hard floor was someone who I would NOT rescue but…
Someone who would rescue ME.
As I entered the shelter the first dog I saw was a small black and tan dog. She had the cutest face. But she wasn’t what I wanted. I trudged all through the shelter looking at each and every resident, the whole time not being able to forget the face of the first dog. Finally my mom encouraged me to go back to her. The shelter volunteer opened the kennel and encouraged me to get her out. In a matter of 2.5 seconds it was all over. She immediately laid her head on my shoulder, and the feeling that came over me is one I can never describe. It was at that moment my life changed.
I quickly named her Eleanor Rose, after a great female role model, Eleanor Roosevelt, calling her Ellie for short. (Yes, and like any good Southern mama, I use her full name to call her out when she gets in trouble.) I told her she was leaving a princess, but that title was not good enough for her. She knew it is the Queen who gets the best treatment, so that is how she has lived life since our first day together.
Oh what adventures we have had! So much has been packed into the past 12 and half years. We have moved half way across our state to the small town I was raised in, we have been through some sad times, and gone through a few thorny patches. But through it all, Ellie has been right there, ever faithful.
If I cry, she is my comforter.
When I am sick, she is my nurse, never leaving my side.
She is my entertainer. I could literally spend hours watching her lick her paw or wrestle one of her toys.
She lets me do crazy things to her for not reason but my own amusement.
She is my secret keeper. I swear she listens and comprehends everything I tell her.
And she is my faithful friend, who is always glad to see me whether I have been gone all day or 2 minutes taking out the trash.
Who would have thought a furry, little stray could teach me so much about living?
On days when I feel totally unlovable and worthless, she looks at me with love and devotion. I have learned it is not about how you see yourself, but how those you love see you.
It is important to slow down sometimes and take in the world around you. If you are always running and playing, you may miss out on seeing something totally amazing.
Sometimes a good nap is all you need to feel better.
It’s ok to lick the bowl. Even if you do get peanut butter on your nose. Sometimes the good stuff is at the bottom.
Get outside and enjoy nature! Life can’t be lived sitting on the couch!
Sometimes you just have to go for it! That cute face will get you out of trouble most of the time.
Be persistent. If you give up it may never happen.
Soak up some sun every now and then. It will do you so good!
A good friend will sit with you, without saying a word. They know when you need to be quiet.
And finally, Don’t always be so serious. Sometimes it’s ok to make a Pirate face… Or wear a sombrero.
So there you have it. I am a 40 year old single woman who is unashamedly obsessed with her dog. Yes, I call her my child, and I think she knows I am her mom. She has shown and taught me so much and I am forever in her debt. I know God knew I needed her. You may think me odd, nuts, warped, strange, or just crazy. You may not get it, and that’s just fine…. Ellie and I do, and that is all that matters.