Thursday, 7 January 2016

Ella

2015 will always be remembered as the year we lost Ella.  She bounded into our lives when we were a loved-up couple just moved into our first home.  Course, we had our initial teething problems, as she chewed her way through the kitchen table leg, gnawed through my entire cookbook collection, and demolished the bookcase too. A Labrador, she'd eat anything, and even after puppyhood, some of the funniest memories are of her helping herself from the pantry – goodness know how she ate an entire box of Weetabix, but I'll always remember her sheepish look, those guilty eyes and oatie-goatie beard.


But she was the perfect dog.  She never batted an eyelid when Ruby came along, enduring hours being mauled about by chubby little hands,  her bed invaded by a chunky toddler, she was no longer centre of attention.  She never got annoyed, not once.


Ella was such a central part of our family, yet slotted right in.  Equally happy on a 10 mile hike as she was curled up snoring all day if we were out. She had the bladder of a camel, the constitution of an ox but the patience of a saint.  


Her health declined rapidly last summer.  The vets were perplexed, but after numerous tests, she was diagnosed with leukaemia.  She wasn't eating and could barely walk - her two greatest pleasures in life.  It would have been cruel and ultimately futile to put her though any treatment.  We had to make the saddest decision, which weren't ready for - it hit us like a body blow. 

On her final day she was pampered and petted, she slurped her way through endless cups of tea and was hand-fed roast chicken.  We all piled on the floor for cuddles and told her how much we loved her.  While we wept, she feebly wagged her tail.

The loss was devastating.  I was broken.  My best friend had gone.


Our first holiday after we lost her was difficult.  She wasn't there to jump in for a swim with the Old Man; to dig in the sand and help Ruby make castles.  We didn't have to ask for a dog bowl in every coffee shop and pub we visited.

At one of the places she loved the most, by chance we got chatting to a couple and their two dogs.  We told them all about Ella and how much we missed her. Sounds crazy I know, but it was almost like she gave us her blessing when the couple said they thought their girl was carrying pups, so we exchanged numbers and waited.

And what do you know, a month later I got a picture message of those Springer Spaniels with eight little bundles of fluff.


Delilah is very different to you Ella, but I think you'd approve.  She has a lot to live up to, but we're getting used to her odd little ways, and I never believed I'd be able to love this much again.



This post is my entry to the #PetLovers competition with www.eurotunnel.com/uk/blog/Pets-Corner/Pet-Writing-Competition/ and www.ardengrange.com 

43 comments:

  1. I am sorry about your loss. Each dog has its own love and you have an individual love for them. I hope she helps your pain and sorrow. I still miss my dog Clyde, my dog Benji is completely different but is by my side to remind me I'm loved.

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  2. I am so sorry to hear the loss of your dog. I hope you can move on and remember the GOOD time you shared having her. RIP

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    1. Thank you Nayna, it's getting easier with time x

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  3. Oh my I am sobbing all over the keyboard. Pets are part of the family and losing one is like a body blow.

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    1. Oh sorry Jen. Yes it was unbearably painful.

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  4. Oh Liz, I just had to wipe the tears away.

    This is beautiful and Ella would definitely approve of your new addition x x

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    1. Ah thank you Cass. Yes I think she'd have loved her too x

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  5. What a beautiful post. I really hope you win the competition. Your love for Ella shines through, and the happy serendipitous arrival of Delilah brings a sweet end to the story.

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    1. Thank you Nell, yes she was very much loved. It was like fate finding Delilah and we're enjoying being a doggie household again x

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  6. oh that's such a lovely post, I was so sorry to hear about Ella being poorly Lizzie, and Delilah brings a smile to my face whenever I see her photo - I'd love to meet her in real life soon! x

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    1. Oh well, we'll have to arrange that!

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  7. I am sorry to hear about your loss - I remember the devastation when I lost my dog Bonzo all those years ago. Delilah looks adorable though and am sure she will be as loved :0)

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    1. Aww we remember them always don't we? x

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  8. weeping... we lost our dear black lab Holly 3 years ago and we are still yet to get another dog... I know we will eventually but I'm still not sure I can be that broken hearted again, although Delilah does look Delicious! Lovely post xx

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    1. Sorry to hear about Holly. They leave a paw print on your heart don't they? x

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  9. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your dog. Delilah looks gorgeous. I'm sure she will fit right in. x

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    1. Thanks Rachel, yes she's fitting in. Hard work, but she's worth it!

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  10. So sorry to hear about Ella, what a heartbreaking decision to have to make. Hopefully your new little companion will be able to fill those wonderfully big paw prints x

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    1. It was the toughest day ever I think Jess. x

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  11. Oh Liz, I am crying into my keyboard. We lost Poppy, our black Lab to cancer on Dec 31st 2014 (we'll never forget that date will we?). Her last days were spent with so many cuddles and afterwards we brought her home to bury her with her favourite things under our mulberry tree. She also bounded into our lives although we already had our 2 boys who were very young then .... she ate the table legs, chair legs and even a door frame as well as any number of edible and bot so edible foodstuffs. You see now why I am in tears.

    But - I am so glad to then read that you now have a new puppy ... she's adorable with just the right amount of mischief in her eyes! Enjoy her :)

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    1. Sorry to hear about Poppy. Labradors are just amazing dogs aren't they? x

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    2. They are wonderful. We would love another one but at the moment we just have our other dog, a gorgeous Husky x German Shepherd. Thank you so much for linking up with #AnimalTales andfor giving us a mention in your Pet Round Up on BritMums :)

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  12. Your beautiful Ella - she looks so beautiful, vivacious and wonderfully happy in your photographs. Delila looks lovely too and she will make your house a doggy home again (although in a different way). Enjoy all the memories you have of Ella and enjoy all the new ones you are going to build!

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    1. She was beautiful. Even as an old lady dog with her grey beard and lumps and bumps, she was gorgeous!

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  13. Hi Liz, I have tears in my eyes! It is heart breaking when we have to say goodbye to the pets we love. Last summer I too had to say goodbye to my shadow and although we still have four other dogs, one that's never too far away from me, there was an extra special bond between me and Beanie.

    You have some lovely photos of Ella and Delilah looks a proper love, I can see mischief in those eyes already. I hope she enjoys a long and healthy life with you.

    xx

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    1. It's so tough to lose a pet that you've had in your life for a long time, we build such a special bond with them don't we? Enjoy your 4 dogs - 4 wow! x

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  14. Crying my eyes out here too...Ella is SO much like my darling choccy lab Brodie who I lost too soon to cancer too. So very sorry for your loss but I think she'd love Delilah x

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    1. Oh no, sorry to hear about Brodie too. I still find it hard to see another choccy, I broke down in tears cuddling one outside the supermarket who looked just like Ella! x

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  15. I got all teary reading this, I am so sorry for your loss, she was gorgeous. I hope Delilah has a long, healthy and happy life with you guys, she's adorable x

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    1. Thank you Liz! She's certainly made an impact on our family already!

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  16. Oh I've just sat and sobbed reading this, it's so happy and so sad, really bitter sweet. I never had the pleasure of meeting Ella, but I always remember you chatting about her fondly. And your lovely new pup will I'm sure bring a whole host of new family fun and fond memories xxx

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    1. Thank you Goriami, she's certainly keeping us busy!

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  17. sorry for the loss of your pet x

    your new doggy is a treasure xx

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  18. Oh this made me cry - your last day with Ella - bless her. And you all. Your new pup is adorable. Hugs, Kaz x

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  19. so sorry to hear about Ella, I dread that day with Bob so much despite him only being 5. I hope Deliah brings your family just as much happiness

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    1. Thank you! I'm sure you've got lots and lots more happy years with Bob x

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  20. Gosh, this actually made me tear up. She is so much like our chocolate Labrador (who we call Holly or 'Hollypops') she is exactly the same as your Ella was - gentle and kind with my niece when she was born and is still being patient with her now as my niece turned 1 in September and takes a lot of interest in Holly now (pulling at her tail etc). We can tell Holly is aging now and is starting to get a few health problems, every time I think of what it will be like when she is gone I have to catch my breath. I am always astounded at how much humans can love dogs (and vice versa - dogs have so much love for their owners). I hope Delilah brings you much happiness x

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    1. Aw Janine, it's so hard isn't it? We build such an attachment to them it's devastating when they go. But what's the option? Not having them in your life in the first place? I'd take all the years of love any day x

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  21. This made me a bit teary. What a lovely dog. Labradors are beautiful souls, so sweet and loving.
    We lost our family dog just before her 1st birthday in November. It broke us all, I spent evenings crying so hard I was literally drenched from the tears. It's like losing a human, isn't it? Some people don't understand. They truly become your best friends.
    Many hugs. This is a brilliant post, as sad as the content of it is.

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  22. Oh Liz, this made me cry... :( What a gorgeous girl Ella was (I adore the photo of Ruby and Ella together in the doorway, so sweet!), you must miss her very much. Delilah is beautiful...

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