A Friend and Companion

Seven years ago, during my second year of my masters work, it was a particular rough time for me. I was struggling with my research and teaching responsibilities. I had taken over the lecture portion of a dual listed class. It was also during this time that I got tired of coming home to an empty house.  After having lived at home with several dogs, I knew that I needed companionship before I went crazy.

I traveled to several shelters in the area looking for the right dog.  I spent several afternoons and it wasn’t until an accidental encounter that I found out about the Pensacola Humane Society.  Since I was living in an apartment, I wanted a smaller dog.  I remember the day quite vividly, I was taken into a small pen with a small dog.  I sat down on the ground and she came and say between my legs.  She then looked up at me before running off and smelling the area.  Every few minutes she would return to make sure I was still there.  I knew right then and there I was going to take her home.

From there she rarely left my side for the first few weeks.  Unfortunately, my mother passed away a few weeks after Elly came into my life.  I had to leave her for a week or two to return home.  Since that time she had separation anxiety, even after years she would still freak out, even if I was 20 feet away and she could see me.

During the rough time after the passing of my mother she was my constant companion.  She loved riding in my truck. If the windows were cracked she’d be smelling the air the entire time.  Her favorite space was under the bed.  There was something comforting to her about the small enclosed space there.  I don’t know why but she always sought refuge there.

Several years later, I moved into my house and with the increased space I knew she needed a companion for when I was working full time.  I returned to the same place and chose Janie.  When they were first introduced they completely ignored each other.  And when I brought Janie home they fit in pretty well.  At times there would be a scuffle over food, as evident now of Janie’s “well fed” stature.

A year and a half ago, I was afforded an opportunity I could not pass up.  I moved away from both of my girls to Delaware.  Unfortunately, at the time, I could not take them with me.  But someone was watching them for me.  Though, I would learn later, their version of watching was locking them in the garage and hitting them.

Several months later I was able to bring them to DE, the first time Janie had ever been this far “north”.  Elly had traveled with me several times to visit in MD.  In the words of my step-mother, the first time she saw Elly she was a golden blur as she ran into the room and bounced off everything.  It was several month of them being here that I felt small lumps under Elly’s chin.  I took her to the vet and after having them checked out, she was diagnosed with lymphoma.

She battled the cancer that was slowly eating her away.  She lost sight in one eye due to formation of glaucoma.  She was still her spry self until the last week of February.  She had slowly gotten extremely thin, and did not exhibit her usual playfulness nor enthusiasm.  It was with a heavy heart that I decided it was time for her to be put down.  I didn’t want her to suffer any more.  She could not walk up and down the steps.

With that in mind I decided she would have one last glorious meal.  I purchased a nice piece of beef and seared it with just a bit of pepper and salt.  Sliced thinly, she ate all but two small pieces of it.  The first food she had eaten in 2 days and last food she would have.  She did take the last two pieces off of the plate and laid her head on them.  In what I can only presume was to keep Janie from eating them.  During the night/early morning, I was woken by her peeing on the floor.  She did not know what was happening and seemed disoriented.  Several hours later, as I waited for the time to take her to the vet, she laid down next to me and on her favorite toy.  She took her last breathe at 9:05 on February 22nd, a week ago.  To me she chose her time to go, and came to be next to the ones that loved her.

The week has been a long one, a loss of a friend and companion.  The loss of a packmate, one that is still being searched for by Janie in what was Elly’s favorite place to be, under the bed.

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