Along with the glory of being a world-class receiver comes the responsibility to give back to your community, especially your young fans. Over the past nine months Ellie has picked up two young admirers. One morning when I woke up with Sam and Ellie beside me, Sam got up and started rubbing his head all over Ellie’s. Ellie looked at me with an expression that seemed to say “See how good I’m being? See how I’m not eating him?” and then proceeded to lick him about the face, which Sam tolerated in good humor.
But it is Emma who is most fascinated with the dog, whenever Ellie and I play hedgehog Emma comes tearing down from wherever she is in the house and tucks in close beside me. As I pet Emma and toss the hedgehog to Ellie, when Ellie takes a break and sits down Emma will saunter up to her and sniff her face, especially her ears. She also gets licked in the face for her troubles and tolerates it as graciously as Sam.
Ellie can’t be long distracted from hedgehog; a couple of times she even dropped the hedgehog in front of Emma and bent down as if she expected Emma to toss it across the room. But Ellie soon learned that, no matter how strong her affections, there are certain things Emma just can’t do.