I remember coming home from work one day. A day that started out being just another one of those routine days that you know will pass without anything memorable happening. However, life has a way of adding twists and turns that change your life forever.
Unbeknown to me, my daughter and wife were out looking for a new puppy to bring into our lives that day. You see, a few weeks earlier we had lost our beloved pet of 12 years, Penelope, to cancer. My wife and I were of the mindset that no other dog could ever replace the friend that we had just lost, and we were content to having the house be a little quieter than before. My daughter sensed that something just wasn’t right in our home, so she urged my wife to look at some puppies.
When I arrived home that day, I heard some laughter upstairs. I went to investigate what was going on. As I climbed the steps, I could see my wife and daughter sitting on the floor playing with a new baby schnauzer puppy. When I got to the top of the steps, I kneeled down to the floor and without any urging; this new little puppy, who didn’t know me at all, immediately ran directly to me and kissed my face with genuine affection. Instantly I had lost my heart, as it now was in the possession of this energetic little life who became my best friend.
The puppy then began to run around the room, visiting with each of us momentarily and then bounding over to the next. Her coat was the traditional schnauzer grey and white. However, she had some long black streaks down the sides of her neck. I made the comment that these dark streaks made her look like she had “Elvis” type sideburns. My wife immediately declared her name to be “Ella”. And so it was that “Ellie” joined our lives.
Ellie was a typical puppy of boundless energy, always finding new ways to be mischievous. She loved to get a hold of my son’s car magazines and treat each page as though it were some wild animal that needed to be attacked. She would methodically tear each page one by one until there was a mass of torn paper on the floor. Then she would turn around to look at me with her bright little eyes with pride as if to say, “see dad, you are safe with me around!” My kids would look at me with confusion when I would excuse Ellie’s puppy antics and the damage that she was causing to our furniture and home. But from the very beginning Ellie’s strong little personality demonstrated that she was in control and she was crowned “the Boss” in our home.
From that point on, Ellie was always my partner in whatever activity was going on around the home. She was by my side inspecting every new landscaping project that was started. She watched every brush of paint that was applied, while she kept an eye out for any squirrel or rabbit that wandered to close to our yard. She also was not shy about letting any passing bystanders know in quite certain terms that they were not to approach her house. Despite her tiny size, there was no fear in defending her house and her family.
Of course her most favorite activity was to take a ride in the car with her dad. It didn’t matter where we were going or how long it was going to take to get there. The only thing that mattered in all of the world was that she got to be in the car, lying on the center console with her dad. When we were at home, she would lay down where she could always see me. And even when she was asleep, if I made the slightest move to get up from my chair, she would immediately raise her head and her little eyes would ask, “Are we going somewhere?” Once the trip was started she would nestle into the little bed we made for her and rest comfortably. When we were on longer trips, it was Ellie, who would decide when it was time to stop for relief and refreshments. She would sit up in her bed and begin to run her paw over my arm when it was time to stop. This would continue in increasingly aggressive efforts until “the boss” got her way!
The most indelible imprint that Ellie made in our lives though was the greetings that she gave us when we arrived home. She was always waiting at the door, so happy to see us again, wanting to tell us how much she missed us, how much she loved us and that being with us fulfilled her purpose in life. Her little heart would beat so hard and her breathing became so fast, until we picked her up to let her know that everything was “ok” and that we loved her too.
Time has taken Ellie from us now. There is a hurt in my heart that is hard to explain. I know that every person who has lived through the loss of their beloved pet and friend knows exactly what it is. There are very few things in life that are known for certain. But the one thing I know with absolute certainty is that whatever souls are made of, Ellie’s and mine are the same. I know that she is at the door of heaven. Waiting for her mom and dad to come to her so that she can tell them how much she misses them and how much she loves them.
We love you too Ellie!
From: Dennis Seib,
St. Louis, MO