Sunday, July 2, 2017

Ella-Mae, Happy-Face Luv-Puppy

Ella Mae. Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

Ella-Mae spent her first several weeks cowering in the corner of my living room couch. She was dirty, malnourished, and terrified. A Beagle-Chihuahua-god-knows-what-else mix, she was something like a bratwurst sausage teetering on toothpick legs.

In other words, beautiful in her own very special way.

And indeed she was beautiful.

Gorgeous, in fact.

One day she decided to get off the couch and wag her tail.

She never stopped.

She wagged her tail pretty much every minute she wasn’t sleeping or eating until last Saturday.
She was nearly 17.

Ella-Mae was that kind of dog, that kind of Doggy Mc’Dog-dog that didn’t ask for very much—but gave in such profusion waggy-tail radiance, and kisses, and happy-face that even as she lay quietly dying in my arms I could still feel that love.

I could see it sparkling through every word of "You are my Sunshine" as I sang her softly to endless sleep.

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee
 Ella-Mae was the dog that none who value absurd conventions like “breeding” or “pedigree” or “papers” would want.   

She was the kind of dog I see suffering and struggling for life on the streets of Kolkata and Athens, New York and Hanoi.

She was the kind of person we ought all to aspire to be more like.

Ella-Mae personified gentleness—that kind of sanguine self-possession reserved for Buddha.

You wanted to protect her. She wanted to love you.

You wanted to rub her belly. She liked that.

Ella-Mae loved cookies and cheese; she loved being a Beagle. She’d deliver the tiny bodies of birds to the back porch with that sort of shiny-eyed jubilance reserved to innocence and to animals.

She’d bound through the yard chasing squirrels, following her leader, Disney.
Never caught a one.
Never seemed to matter.

Disney dies, and Ella snuggles and comforts in silent communion her younger more rambunctious playmate, Mr. Luv-Lyte, who in his anxiety and confusion can't quite put down his dolly.

Ella climbs into his doggy bed, and makes it all better.

Ella-Mae was good about taking her meds. Every day at 6:15AM, like a grand old lady who gets Kleenex out of her purse while she offers you gum.

Ella-Mae’s snaggly-tooth smile could radiate light into the grimmest day. Her graying muzzle and floppy ears cradled you right into her eyes. Big Brown Wise Happy Old Lady Love-Eyes.

The reflections of ourselves in the eyes of dogs offers a kind of deliverance. They don't look away, and they ask us not to either. 

Goodnight my precious-gentle Ella-Mae, my charming Cheagle, my happy-face, waggy-tail luv-puppy. 

Were there gods, there'd be heavens for beauties just like you.

Love will have to suffice. 

But no matter. Where life ends, love persists.

Wendy Lynne Lee