Our good doggy friend Ella was PTS today. Last month she stopped eating, and after several rounds of inconclusive tests, earlier this week the vet discovered that Ella had an inoperable mast cell tumor in her stomach.
We first met Ella in 2011, when Mia was not quite 1 yr and Ella was around 2.5 yrs. Ella was clearly the mature one: where Mia is rough-and-tumble, Ella was soft-spoken, attentive, and sensitive. Despite her dignified demeanor, Ella had a ready smile and was not above a chest bump to start a game of chase, where she - with gusto! - preferred to be the rabbit.
When we moved back to the area in 2017, Mia and Ella resumed their easy friendship over long Saturday morning hikes. After an exuberant greeting of whinging, helicopter tails, and chasing, Mia would take the lead and Ella would bring up the rear, sandwiching the humans between them. Across rolling, wooded hills lined with creeks and dotted with beaver-made ponds, they communed wordlessly, in a language their oblivious humans never deciphered, but seemed to involve a lot of stopping and sniffing and peeing.
We learned yesterday that today would be Ella's last. Mia took the news in stride, but I did not. Most likely, Mia has known for some time that this was coming. On our last hike last Saturday, a short stroll to a creek and back, we made what would be our goodbyes. Ella initiated a few gentle chest bumps, followed by smiles, pettings, and treats, the four of us enjoying one last happy morning in the sun.
Young Ella (with a Spanish Water Dog friend in the foreground) pictured around her third birthday in 2011.
The Following 11 Users Say Thank You to Liz For This Useful Post:
Aww how sweet that Mia and Ella were such great friends and I am sure Mia did know her friend was going to leave. How nice that they had one last good romp together. Ella was very pretty. Too young, Lily will be 11 in just a couple of weeks, can't imagine her leaving us yet.
Much too young, Catherine. Ella had been sick since the spring, though no vet could figure out the cause. After an episode of torsion revealed that she also had pneumonia, we hoped that the mystery was solved. But she never regained full strength, the pneumonia resurfaced, and she stopped eating.
She celebrated her 11th birthday earlier this month. In fact that picture was taken almost exactly eight years ago. I believe the pups - there was a motley group, lead by a small terrier adorably and preposterously named Mr. Scrufferson, that would gather at lunch behind the science building at the university - shared a birthday treat that day.
The Following User Says Thank You to Liz For This Useful Post:
"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain Immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan…."
~ Irving Townsend, The Once Again Prince
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Liz For This Useful Post:
Thanks, everyone, for your gentle words and kind thoughts.
I found some photos and videos of Ella playing that I will, eventually, pass on to her owners, Sally and John. Some are from 2011 - around the time the photo was taken - of puppy-Ella leading puppy-Mia et al. on frenzied cyclones of chase, punctuated by Mia's "working yips" and brief pauses for smiles, water, and affirmation from their amused owners.
I also have several videos from last fall and winter, when Ella was still healthy. Watching her run and smile, I realize how long it's been since I've seen her move effortlessly and with relish, and doubly realize how much pain she's been in since the spring.
Last weekend, Sally asked me to bring some kibble for Ella, since she was refusing food except for anything novel or truly delicious, like hand-fed roasted turkey. Along with the kibble, I brought some soft jerky treats that Mia loves, to share on the trail. Sally was surprised when Ella showed interest, and was even more surprised when she ate them (I mushed them in my hands to make it easier for her to lap up). Ella even ran through her retinue of party tricks, including eternal crowd pleasers - always done as a pair - speak ("woof!") and speak softly (and out would come a delicate "woof"). We were delighted, and she earned her treats and soft scratches on her side.
Ella will be missed, on this and every Saturday, and all the days between. S&J took wonderful care of her throughout her life, and if they choose to get another dog, Mia and I will be there to greet them.
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Liz For This Useful Post: