|Ella Rufus: A happy, yipping ball of fur.|
Ella started off as a yipping ball of energy that pretty quickly morphed into a yipping ball of fur. She turned prematurely gray -- Ella, not Lauren. The look suited her well, a pleasant blend of salt-and-pepper shagginess with large eyes, a cute wet nose and a puppy's innocent attitude.
Ella was playful, a sweet and gentle pup. At least that's what she became after a somewhat rocky start. The problem is Ella didn't know what it meant to be a dog and we -- that would be her humans -- had no clue how to help her understand a doggie's role in the world.
|Lauren and Ella cuddling|
Another friend suggested we get a smaller crate, a much smaller crate. We did. And, at least for a week or so, we all settled into an easy peace. Lauren walked and fed, played and cuddled with Ella. At night we gently tucked her into her tiny home.
All seemed well with the world, until it didn't.
Ella decided unilaterally that she no longer wanted or needed the crate. What had become a nighttime ritual turned into a nightly war, Ella strategically placing her paws around the opening of the crate as Lauren, with a little assist from me, attempted to push and shove her into submission.
We might have won a battle or two during the crate incursion, but Ella, happily bedded down with Lauren, or Wendy and me, or in the den -- heck, pretty much wherever she wanted to settle for the night -- had plainly won the war.
Over the next dozen years or so, Ella gamely and loyally followed Lauren to several different apartments, back to our home and, eventually, joined Josh and his doggie duo -- Joey and Maggie Mae -- when Lauren and Josh got married.
|Ella and I find a comfy spot for an afternoon nap.|
We all blinked and a year or so ago it became clear that Ella, now well into doggie dotage, had slipped into the autumn of her life. The twinkle in her eyes had dimmed in recent months and she moved about slowly in search of her happy spot: on her haunches, resting comfortably in the center of a sunbeam that streamed through a nearby window.
Today, sadly, Lauren let her go. Ella Rufus was sick and tired and needed to rest. She remained a bundle of furry love till the very end. I like to think that she's made it across the rainbow bridge and is once again ignoring Joey and Maggie in a playful sort of way. I'm also pretty certain that she's already searching out a new happy spot that will be keeping her warm and comfy forever.