Tag Archives: chiweenie

Ellie’s story

ellieThis is post is hard to write because I am embarrassed and ashamed. But for some reason I want to tell this story.

I have never been a dog person. To be honest, my feelings towards dogs have always been between indifference and active dislike. Don’t get me wrong, I would be nice to dogs I met if I had to, but my feelings on dogs? Meh.


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And then Walter came into my life unexpectedly and beautifully. I was suffering from horrible depression as the side effect of a drug, and when I found Walter in an Alabama trailer park, I knew he was my solution. This post is not about Walt but trust me: he was a special dog. An old soul in a young body. A characterful snuggle bug. My running partner and my nighttime companion. My Halloween dinosaur.

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Two years after Walt found his forever home with us, he died very suddenly . I was upstairs sleeping in after several night feeds, and Wes screamed for me. To this day, we don’t know what happened, although since CPR was not able to inflate his chest we suspect he swallowed something. All I do know is that after a very difficult 2 years, life was finally starting to look good for me, and Walt left. He stayed with me when I needed him and when his work was done and I was good, he was gone.

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I then did the silliest thing possible; in a haze of grief I ran to the pound and rescued the first dog I liked (and there were plenty that I didn’t…)… And into our lives came Ellie. Ellie was different. She was bright and energetic and not brilliantly house broken… But her cardinal sin was that she wasn’t Walter. And so things started to slide.

Ellie’s life descent is tied up in so many issues. There is the issue that I felt that as a SAHD Wes’ job was to walk the dogs and he didn’t walk either – not even his own. I was resentful. Tjhere was the issue that I felt I couldn’t take Ellie out without taking Wes’ dog out (he would howl as Wes didn’t walk him) and I didn’t want to take him out. Because I didn’t want to do “Wes’ job” (aside: this is a terrible model of marriage. I’ve moved on from this somewhat). The issue that when Wes’ dog died he felt Ellie was going to stop him getting the dog he wanted… And that he never wanted Ellie anyway. There was the issue that Ellie has a slight incontinence problem so couldn’t come to bed with me and I resented her for that fact that neither she nor Wes came to bed with me and I was lonely. And the issue that she wasn’t Walter and Walter had left.

So we entered this terrible spiral where I neglected Ellie (emotionally – she was fed and watered), so she became more demanding and more naughty (pottying in the house etc) which irritated me, and made Wes really mad, and so I neglected her more… So she behaved worse, so I neglected her more and so on until I came home one day and Wes said “she has to go”.

And I was mad! Mad that he never got rid of his neglected dog (Earnest had health problems which Wes wouldn’t sort), mad that he wasn’t helping, mad at myself and suddenly aware of how much I like Ellie’s sweet nature, her unconditional love, her ability to forgive in an instant… All this. That she was loving and curious, and playful and a people pleaser. That her energy was enviable and inspiring. But it was too late.

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In the midst of several marital rows, I told this story to a friend who owns three dogs. Her response was to tell me that she wasn’t a dog person either but as soon as she got her first puppy, the second she saw him, she knew no one was ever ever coming between her and that dog. That was it. She would kill for him. And I decided: OK! I love my dog! No one is coming between us! Screw you husband!

So I stepped up the plate. I bought Ellie some decent food and some treats and some toys and a comfy crate for my car. I started walking her twice a day, except for Thursdays which are my crazy early and late days when she goes to doggie day  care. I was strict about crating her when I wasn’t around (so no poop in the house) but being with her when I was… She curls up on a bed by my desk, she curls up on my lap, she comes for car rides and she comes to bed occasionally with a doggie diaper on (not even kidding here folks).

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And she behaves well. She walks ‘loose leash’ beautifully now, she obeys (unless she really doesn’t want to go outside to potty when she does go to her crate), she rarely jumps up. And I fell (back) in love with my companion and things are working out.

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But something else magical happened. I began to feel better about myself… Finding time to walk a dog twice a day with a full taken job, a breastfed 7 month old and a toddler is in a city where my commute is an hour each way is no mean feat. But I did it. I made sure it happened. I weathered 90 degree heat and thunderstorms. I let go of having to leave the house at a set time, or go to bed at a set time (sadly, I have also currently let go of washing my hair more than weekly. OMG I can’t believe I admitted that) and relaxed and felt good that I could I achieve this.

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No matter the weather

No matter the weather

Even better, because Sam always wanted to come on the walk, and Caroline had to, I began to have 40 minutes a day with my kiddos! We ran, we played hide and seek, we went down slides and on swings and shared the task of holding El. And we loved it! If I offer Sam to drive to the park he says that no, he would rather walk. The nagging guilt that my kids are not outside enough is gone. The nagging guilt that I ignore them a bit is diminished (not gone, because let’s face it, I still use my iPhone at the park…). Ellie has made me feel better about myself and my family, brought me love and a little daily joy.

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I see Ellie now as she is. Sweet, and forgiving. Fun. I love her energy. I wish I had her capacity for loyalty and unconditional love. Her patience. Her companionship warms me.

I used to think that Walter came into my life when I needed him and left when I didn’t, but Ellie just happened. Now I know that she was there when I needed her, patiently waiting to heal parts of my life. She is just as much my guardian angel as Walter.

Ellie, I am so sorry. But this is your story.

Introducing Ellie

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Two Fridays ago, Wes and I went down to BARC shelter to look at dogs to cheer ourselves up and NOT to buy one just yet 🙂 While Wesley continued his tradition of liking ‘proper’ dogs and looking at the large breeds, I asked to get a little chiweenie out of the a cage (chiweenie = a ridiculous cross between a dachshund and a chihuahua). I took it to the play area, but we didn’t quite get on. With some sadness, but not too much regret (we were, after all, only looking, and I reasoned a little play outside was better than nothing for these creatures), I handed her back to the volunteer to go back in her cage.

The volunteer at BARC said that she had another chiweenie and asked if I would see her. “Sure”, I said nonchalantly. Why not? A quick cuddle and home. She bought out 2 chiweenies: a run of the mill short hair, and a beautiful long haired brown and white one. I dutifully played with the brown and white one, gave her some exercise and handed her back. The volunteer placed the plain Jane next to me and she immediately she hopped into my lap and licked me. I grinned, scratched her head, received a ‘kiss’ on my face… …and it was love.

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We played, we walked, we romped, but we mostly cuddled. I asked Wes if she could come home with us, but Wes said no (!) Adamantly. He wouldn’t even play with her. He firmly said he didn’t like her, and that she had had puppies and he didn’t want a dog who had had puppies. The tears started, and rolled unheeded down my face. The volunteer took pity on me and said “the small ones often go… she’ll find a home”, but I was not comforted. Still, what could I do? Wes wouldn’t even look at the dog, so we left, chiweenie-less and broken-hearted (me).

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I understood (we can’t get a dog one of us doesn’t like) but was so sad. I cried all the way home. And around Target. And through the movie that night. I tried to brave, but I missed the dog so much! Wes confessed that he was regretting his decision, and said that he didn’t know why he had said X-nayed her, and offered to return to the pound to get her the next day get her the next day. Poor Wes, he happily lived a loner life where no one bothered him, and he couldn’t bother anyone else, until 3 years ago when he fell in love with the most er… passionate… woman around. I have a lot of love people… it manifests itself in strange ways.

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Confused at how his life had spiraled, and how he had inadvertently found himself breaking his one true life goal (make Lekki (and now Sam) happy), Wes took us back to the pound early on Saturday morning. We could not find our chiweenie! They bought out an identical one, which they claimed was the same one (psssshhhhh), but I sadly shook my head and asked her to be taken away (and cried a little bit more). Apparently she had been fostered, so they gave our number to the foster agency.

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Thus began the waiting game. It was odd, as dogs are not normally fostered over the weekend – it is the busiest time, so they like the dogs on display so they are more likely to be adopted. When we didn’t hear anything by Sunday, Wes called the pound – the volunteer quietly told us that she was not listed anymore, with no record of adoption, and our assumption was that she had been put down.

Poor Wes, his life was spiraling into more and more guilt through no real fault of his own. In desperation, he left a tearful me with Sam at home, and went back to the pound in person just to see if he could speak to someone…

…. and he came back with my chiweenie!!!!

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Now we have lil’ Ellie. She is very submissive – more even than you would expect for the breed. But she is coming out of her shell now that she is learning that we are her forever family 🙂 She is now about 80% house trained, and has learned to use a leash. Not perfectly, but she does walk on it. She has bonded with me well enough that I can even let her off the leash in the park, and she returns when called (and does not stray too far anyway). She is a joy to watch outside – all leaps and bounds and fast galloping runs.

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But, best of all, she is the ultimate snuggle bug. She loved to tunnel like a little mole under covers, and snuggle up. When I am working, she sits between my butt and the seat. She is a joy to have and I am so glad Wes went back and found her.

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Sam LOVES her. She will let him stroke her (well… he tried… he’s a bit clumsy) and she often makes him smile. She chose to sit on his lap for part of our road trip to New Orleans, and he loved it.

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It was meant to be 🙂