Let’s get one thing established up front: Ellie Mae is a jewel of a dog and she has already claimed a chunk of our hearts. To continue the metaphor, more precisely, Ellie Mae is a diamond but like all diamonds, she has a few rough edges.
Speaking for Gluten-Free Mama and myself, we did not enter into this rescue-dog business lightly. Dogs end up in shelters for a multitude of reasons, and there is no way to definitively know a dog’s personal history. We were not expecting a perfect little fur-baby out of the deal; if that is what we were seeking, we would have just bought a stuffed animal, and propped it up on the bed.
No, we were thinking of the shelters, and the folks who volunteer for them, but mostly we were thinking about disposable dogs. I am not being mean. I know that to make the decision to give up a dog must be painful. It would be for anybody. However, circumstances sometimes dictate that for financial or logistical reasons, the extreme course of leaving a dog at a shelter, must be done for the good of the animal.
I am retired to the extent that I do not clock in, and have no boss. Of course I work on the farm as many hours as my old self can still manage, but my point is that I have the time and the inclination to take on a hobby, one that when done correctly can pay huge dividends.
We have said all along that we were not trying to replace Dozer, the bulldog. I kept insisting that we were merely folks who like to have dogs around, and that we were not particular as to what kind of dog. But I finally pinned it down yesterday, when I was reviewing progress with Ellie Mae: We are simply trying to fill a void.
I was happy when that phrase lodged in my cauliflower brain because Dozer was such an integral part of our lives, he dug his way into our minds and hearts. In leaving us, he left that hole. By definition Ellie Mae is destined to occupy a part of that void, and the more effort we put into her, and the longer we have her, the more that void starts to fill up.
[Editor’s note: long build-up…]
With that intro you may be gearing up for a tale about The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and nothing could be further from the truth. As I have steadfastly maintained, Ellie Mae is sweet, appreciative and so desperate to be good, it is tangible.
She has attached herself to me to the point that I cannot go out for a wheel-barrow of wood, or to let the chickens out, without her getting antsy at the front door. I took Dozer with me to do “sticks business” every time I ever went for wood.
Throw the “stick” to Dozer-never see it again.
|We have a consultation with Skellydogs,|
on December 10th, to get training started.
Meanwhile, we have our homework.
I want Ellie Mae to accompany when I go outside to work. Unfortunately, the first time I did that, the minute I got centered on stacking a load of wood, about two minutes, she disappeared. For ten minutes my heart was pounding, I was sweating in the 42 degree weather, and I was already trying to formulate an explanation for Maggie.
The lay of the land was such that it was impossible for me to consider going after her. Besides, what would I do if I actually caught up to her? So, because I could hear her down below, barking for a minute or two, I stood at the back fence and spoke in a normal voice, assuring her that she was a good dog, and she needed to come back.
So there I was facing out the bottom of my fenced yard, peering through oak trees for some trace of her, when she dashed up to me-from behind! She had come back into our “securely fenced” yard from somewhere out of my view, leaving me still uncertain of her mode of ingress and egress.
I mean, this fence is wild boar proof, and can keep Large Marge, SmallBoy’s sweetheart of a dog, inside. Emma the farm dog, however, is a different matter. Great Dane mixes tend to blaze their own trails.
Ellie Mae is skinny and wiry and is obviously an escape artist. Well, this may as well be Stalag Dreizehn (Stalag Thirteen), where the inmates come and go as they please. The thing about Ellie Mae is not that she wants to escape, because she is unhappy. No, she wants out because she wants to chase the deer, go after the rabbits and squirrels, and because, well, she has probably had a lot of experience roaming free.
She came to us with a warning sticker: This dog is a “born-free” kind of dog.
|Ellie Mae, lying beside GF Mama, as I type.|
The great news is that she is at her best when we retire for bed in the evening, which you may think is me being sarcastic. As in, she is as good as gold when she is sleeping, and that is not where I am going. I just mean that when it’s lights out, she lies on the bed between GF Mama and me, and sleeps like an appreciative angel, especially since there are no sound effects. Dozer used to rock the 4 by 12 ceiling beams with his prodigious snoring. I am not exaggerating one bit.
Ellie Mae is quiet, does not drape herself over us, does not hog the blankets, and is content to just lie between us. If you are not a dog person, then you are obviously appalled; if you are a dog lover, then you know what a comfortable presence a cherished pet can be.
Next: Chew toys
|Tuesday's "chew toy."|