“A dog is the only thing on earth who loves you more than he loves himself.”
Dogs. If you have known me for a hot minute, you know I have a soft spot for dogs. It goes back to when I was 5 years old, and was given a rescue dog named Laddie.
Laddie was a short haired, male collie. He looked like Lassie, but with a short nose. If he couldn’t be Lassie, Laddie was the closest thing.
He was the best behaved dog. We could leave the back gate open, and he never left the yard. The funniest thing he did was try to bite my mom the one day she attempted to spank me in the backyard.
Laddie died when he was 13 years old, and we buried him beside an azalea bush in the backyard. I wept, and I remember my father softly crying as he dug the hole in the earth.
My first dealing with loss was losing my first dog.
Today, I lost another dog.
7 days ago, I rescued a 13 year old Lab mix named Elsie. Life had not been good to her as of late, and she looked so sad in her photo, that tears came to my eyes.
I brought her home while recuperating from being spayed. She slept a lot the first 48 hours.
I let her walk around the apartment like Sophie does, and it soon became obvious that she has been an indoor dog for a long period in her life.
The funniest thing was that she had Sophie’s graying face, and brown eyes, but a slightly longer face. From my peripheral vision, I didn’t know which dog was standing next to me!
Elsie started feeling better on Day 3. Her tail began wagging a lot more, and she began to show signs of jealousy. She loved her humans with her entire being, and she was incredibly jealous when it came to sharing them with Sophie. Life quickly became a constant source of growling, snarls, and finally, fights.
Obviously, Sophie bore the brunt of this jealousy. She began showing the signs of a not so happy dog. It didn’t help matters when Elsie commandeered her chair. (Sophie’s chair sits in front of a window, and she watches for me to come home from said chair. It’s a bit like her “headquarters” where she can rule the world.)
Sophie could just walk in front of Elsie, going from the kitchen to the living room, and Elsie would go for her face, teeth bared and growling. This morning, I woke up at 4:25 a.m. to growling. I quickly turned on my bedside lamp, and Sophie was laying on the floor, as close as she could be to the bed and my nightstand, and Elsie was in the doorway, growling at her in the darkness.
Now, it sounds like Elsie was a bad dog, but she wasn’t. It seems as though Elsie, once upon a time, had been the queen of the castle in her own home. She was house-trained, leash trained, and loved her humans with her whole heart. I can’t fault her for that. She greeted me with a furiously wagging tail every time I walked in the door. She almost knocked me over when I walked her because she pushed so hard against my leg. She loved being close to me.
I might have thought that a few things could go wrong, but I never anticipated in a hundred years that my girls disliking each other would have been one of them.
Today, I couldn’t stop the tears as I stood at the desk, and the clerk told another employee, “She is returning Elsie.” I felt like the lowest piece of shit on earth. I know it had to be done, but I can’t help what I felt.
I left a list of all the good things Elsie has going for her. The only negative thing was that she probably needed to be the only dog in the home. She was able to keep her bed. I hope she draws comfort from the softness and smells.
The tears are falling as I write this. I hope Elsie finds a good home. She deserves it.