My Mutt Stories: Ellie
Featured My Mutt... "Ellie"
I adopted Ellie from a shelter in Danville, Illinois when I was a second year veterinary student at the University of Illinois. I found her on Petfinder and from her red color, contemplative expression and adorable floppy ear, I just knew she was my meant to be dog. She was 6 months old at the time and a quick learner. Our main training challenge turned out to be going up and down the stairs in the house, for some reason she was terrified! But after many treats and gentle coaxing she overcame her fear and has become an expert climber and hiker. For the next three years, she was my buddy for late night study sessions and a patient subject for practicing various veterinary techniques like ausculting the heart and doing a physical exam. Since graduating from vet school, Ellie has moved with me three times to Indiana, Washington, DC and now California for an internship, work and a post-doctoral program. There have been a lot of changes in friends, landscapes, and jobs that have taken me far from family, but she has stuck by me as a constant companion. My bond with her has grown so strong over the years to the point where I can give her a look and I know she understands what I mean. She's always ready for the next adventure and trusts me unconditionally. Nothing brings me greater joy than seeing her bound over the dog beach at Fort Funston or being the diplomatic dog at the park, greeting everyone with playful tail swishes and, I swear, a smile. My bond with Ellie has helped me fundamentally understand the human-animal bond and as such I credit her with being a more compassionate veterinarian. When a client comes to me with their pet, I can better empathize with them and just imagine what I would want to do if it was Ellie. There are some dogs that just have a special intelligence about them that make them seem more human than animal. Ellie is one of those special ones and I am so lucky to have found her.
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