The Early Days

Our dog Ellie sits in the grass in the backyard of our house in Portland, Oregon with her front paw on a tennis ball in January 2009

Ellie in the backyard in January 2009, three weeks after we adopted her. It looks a little posed, her paw on the tennis ball, but she did that in the early days. Did she stop it at some point? I remember her doing it back then but not after that, maybe it’s my faulty memory, maybe it had just been a while since she was able to run and fetch. She’s probably looking at my wife offscreen, she followed her everywhere in those days. Our bond became so strong for so long that it’s easy for me to forget that it took some time to form. The love was immediate though, on both sides, to know her was to love her.

Mostly Boo, A Little Ellie

Our black-and-white cat Boo rests on the tile floor next to a yoga mat in August 2018

From last summer, Boo relaxing on the tile floor next to a clump of Ellie’s fur. About once a week you could have assembled another dog out of the fur she shed, especially when a new coat was coming in. Her coat was so soft, people at the dog park always remarked on it when they petted her, which was often as she loved meeting people. I have to admit my estimation of strangers dropped a bit if they didn’t at least give her a pat on the head. Her estimation of them dropped a lot if she sniffed their pockets for treats and found them wanting. When she was younger she’d first sniff them surreptitiously from behind but in her senior years she stopped putting on airs and got straight down to business.

Ellie on the Hardwood

Our dog Ellie rests on her stomach on the hardwood floor on a summer evening in July 2013

Since she always wanted to be near us, we kept a dog bed in most rooms of the house so Ellie would have a comfortable spot to sleep no matter where we were. Sometimes though she preferred either the tile or the hardwood floor, perhaps because it was cooler. This was taken on a July evening 6 years ago at our house in Portland, long before we added air conditioning, so the cooler floor probably was an attraction.

What’s Up Boo?

Looking up at our cat Boo as he rests at the top of the cat tree with his legs sticking out in front in May 2019

Boo had a difficult time in the transition to the new house and more so I think with Ellie’s failing health and her death. At times he went to the bathroom elsewhere in the house, at first in my wife’s closet but things got more serious when he switched to my closet. After Ellie died my wife bought a couple of new cat beds and he peed on both of those, and occasionally pooped around the house, but that cleared up in time. He’s still a bit unsure of himself but he’s been on the straight and narrow as far as bathroom duties are concerned for a while now. I was nervous when we got my new couch and kept the doors to my office closed when I wasn’t in it but it turned out to be an unnecessary precaution, he’s enjoyed being able to curl up beside me or on my legs. Here he’s on the cat tree where he can watch the birds in the backyard.