Ode to Ellie

I lost one of my best friends last Thursday :(.

Nate, Ellie and I went out for an easy 6 miler. She was crazy as usual — “We’re going to run? Oh, boy, oh, boy, oh, boy…” as she paced around the house waiting for us to change into our running clothes and put on our shoes. She LOVES to run. She’s gone as long as 20 miles with me, and probably averages above 50 miles a week, either with me or Nate.

When we got her, she was actually quite obese. She looked like a round, stuffed sausage :). In just a few short months, though, she was a fit and trim dog. Her first run with me was 9.1 miles, after all. Shortly after we got her, I taught her how to run on the treadmill. She loved it. Tail wagging the whole time, she’d easily go for 5-7 miles on it, completely alone. It’s fun to look back and see old blogs about these events 🙂 Oh, fun memories.

We turned left a little earlier than normal, as we only had 6 to do. Ellie kept running straight, until she realized she was separated from us (she runs with a shock collar on so she can roam the ditches and farm fields – she usually is very good about staying right with us, or at least off of the road). Her instinct was to run out of the trees and into the road to find out where we were at. Guess that makes sense, since we’re likely to be either up or down the road she’s standing in… but also very dumb when cars happen to be near.

You can guess what happens. A thud. I didn’t see it, thank goodness. I just saw the red suburban swerving back into its lane and slowing down. Nate and I sprinted over to the lump laying in the middle of the road.

“Oh, no… Ellie”, I murmured as I ran to be by her side. I couldn’t stop crying. “Good girl, Ellie”, I kept saying, petting her head and placing myself where she could see me without moving. I have never felt so helpless. She was at least alive, and all I could see was bleeding a little from her mouth and other side of her head. I took it as a good sign? A wonderful stranger drove Nate back to our house to grab our car and wallets/purse/etc. The same stranger also had the number to the vet and dialed it for us. I am so grateful for those 2 individuals. Wish I had their name. They may have said it, but I can’t remember it for the life of me.

When we lifted her from the road into the car, I realized how badly she was hurt. There was a large flesh wound on her hip from the impact. I didn’t take the time (and couldn’t see 100% through the tears), but I’m pretty sure I saw bone.

On the way to the vet, Nate asked the dreaded question: how much are we willing to spend to save her? We decided to wait to see what the number would be before making a decision. I grew up on a farm where pets were lost often, so the thought of spending a lot to save a pet is foreign to me. But, it’s so different when you have a indoors pet that has become a part of your family. Where DO you draw the line?

She was such a cool dog 🙂 Quirky, definitely. She loved to lean her butt against you (we always thought it was so that she could keep track of you while watching what else was going on), wiggle in between you and the stove when you were cooking, and drag her beds all over the house :). She LOVED to wear human clothes. She thought she was so cool in one of Nate’s T-shirts. Put a baseball hat on her head & she’d try to balance to keep it there. She was a great training partner as well. We went to the track a few times together, and she knew when the “beep” happened that she was to run on the inside grass, right beside me. After each repeat ended, she would make sure I was OK, wait to have her head petted once, and then go off on her own to sniff something until the next rep started. Oh, Ellie :).

The vet took one look at her and tried to break it to us as easily as she could. There was nothing we could do. Her lungs were filling with blood, and she was sure her entire back end was broken — ribs, hips, legs, etc. I sobbed. Are you sure??? Please double check… she’s a really tough dog…

We put her down shortly thereafter. I really hope she didn’t suffer. What an awful thing to have to do :(.

I really miss you, Ellie Cat 🙂 (she had a very cat-like affection towards me in the beginning, which started the name. She also had a tendency to toot, lending itself to names like “Smelly Ellie” and the “Smelly Cat” song from Friends. Hence, “Ellie Cat” became one of her nick-names :))

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  1. I am SO sorry! I had tears in my eyes reading this. Last summer during a long run I saw a dog get hit by a car. Finding and telling the owners was devastating. I have a great dog myself and can't imagine. 🙁

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