Some Advice For Our Dear Ellie

  • You don’t have to do everything little Sam says. While I applaud his use of the scientific method, after getting into chocolate you didn’t have to eat a tub of caramel just because he wanted to see if your poop would smell like Twix bars. (In the interest of science, the answer is no. No it did not.)
  • You don’t have to believe everything Scout tells you. When she told you that she is the only one who didn’t come from the Humane Society, that was true. But when she told you that she didn’t come from the Humane Society but instead hatched from an eagle’s egg high atop a Sitka spruce, that was not.
  • In a similar vein, she’s missing fur on her foreleg because they shaved it at the vet, not because she gave a grizzly bear the what for.
  • And please, please don’t listen to Emma when she asks you to bring back a tree when we take you for a walk. It’s only ten more months until Christmas. She can wait like the rest of us.

Dark Chocolate & Caramel

What happens when your dog eats a whole tub of caramel? I don’t know but we’re about to find out!

In all seriousness, I did call the emergency vet when I got home, she should be fine but with vomiting and diarrhea, oh joy!

Ellie dear, this is not the way to weight loss!

The Dog & The Tennis Ball

Our dog Ellie lies on her side in her backyard and reaches out with her mouth for a tennis ball

You don’t need to travel to the Galapagos to see evolution in action. Consider that when Lewis & Clark first crossed the Rockies into the West, they looked across verdant fields and saw dogs chasing tennis balls, with some highly evolved breeds specializing in catching the hapless balls on the bounce.

While at the time dogs seemed to have the upper hand, in the intervening years evolution seems to have lobbed the advantage back into the ball’s court. The balls have increasingly learned to anticipate being caught from above and have developed ever more complex bounces to evade their slobbering foes.

But recently, dogs seem to be regaining mastery over their prey of old. While the ball nervously scans the skies, the dog flattens itself against the ground and sneaks up from the side, catching the ball unawares.

Our dog Ellie lies on her side in her backyard and looks at a tennis ball that is just out of reach

Usually catching the ball unawares. Sometimes the ball still manages to escape. That’s nature for you.

Dark Chocolate

Rick Cameron plays with his dog Ellie in the backyard as she holds a tennis ball in her mouth

Ellie had a vet appointment this morning to get a booster shot. She got a good health report all around (apart from needing to lose a little weight, which we are working on). But late this afternoon I got a call from my wife saying she was heading back to the vet.

During the day, Ellie had somehow gotten a hold of some of my wife’s chocolate calcium chews. This is not the way to weight loss Ellie! Although at least we won’t have to worry about her suffering from osteoporosis. The vet didn’t think any harm was done but had us watch for vomiting and unusual stools just to be safe — any blood and it was off to the emergency vet. Thankfully she’s been fine, a little hyper but she got a lot of exercise this weekend and calmed down nicely by nightfall.

Ellie’s a black lab, at least we thought she was, but I’m thinking now she may be a chocolate lab. Dark chocolate.

Ellie & Smelly

Rick Cameron playing with his dog Ellie in the backyard of his house in Portland, Oregon

The title for today’s post comes from little Sam, who is skating on thin ice I assure you.

He asked me today if I knew which part of Ellie I most smelled like. I said no but to consider his answer carefully and reminded him who plays countless hours of String with him. He deliberated far longer than I thought necessary, eyes darting between me and Ellie, before finally answering “Why the sweetest part of course!”

Hi-yo, Silver, Away!

When I got home from work this evening, little Sam started peppering me with questions about saddles. I know nothing of horses and knew neither the answers to his questions nor the reasons for them. Slowly I realized that he hoped to ride Ellie to glory in the great Emma hunts that rage through the midnight hours.

No Sammy, no. No no. No no no.

Say Hello to Ellie

Our dog Ellie sitting with her tennis ball in our backyard in Portland, Oregon, a week after we adopted her

“Let it be said that I am right rather than consistent.” Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan explaining his transformation from a vigorous defender of slavery to the lone supporter on the Court for the rights of former slaves

We reduced the candidates of names for Unnamed Dog (aka the dog formerly known as Sidka) from sixteen to two, Darcy and Zira, staying consistent with our scheme of choosing names from our favorite books. Today we settled on her name: Ellie.

When I first came up with a list of possible names for the dog, all sixteen names were from our favorite books or shows save two, Ellie and Libby, which made the cut simply because I liked them. Libby seemed like a good name for a lab but I ruled it out myself the very next day when on the train I couldn’t get the “Libby Libby Libby on the label label label” song out of my head and realized the horror the next seven years could bring.

My wife further whittled the list to a half dozen but even after a week none of the literary names felt right and we realized we were trying to force the wrong name onto our sweet-hearted girl. She feels like an Ellie, not a Darcy or Zira, so we’re breaking with tradition. We could cheat and say that she’s named for Elinor from Sense & Sensibility or Elessar, one of the 187 names for Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings, but she’s not.

She’s Ellie because she’s Ellie.