(approx. 1997 - 2 January 2008)
Elmo came into my life on September 1999 from Burwood Pound where I was Volunteer Co-ordinator. My first job on arriving was to see if any new dogs had come in and log them in my Pound Book. I found Elmo (Pound number 232 - see photo below) in the hospital kennel rather than the Pound because he'd been brought in unconscious with a 'bilateral scleral haemorrhage' after being hit by a car, He was admitted on the ninth and his check up about 10 days later reported he was 'head shy' which is hardly surprising after what had happened to him!
I think it was love at first sight for me as, when I saw that big round face with those beautiful brown eyes gazing up in fear, my heart melted. He gave a bit of a growl when I put my hand in to the cage to get him out and backed up into the corner so I didn't push it!. Because Elmo was head shy it was decided that he needed a temperament test before he went up for adoption. I phoned the Council Pound Co-ordinator Corinne and asked what the result was and did she think I better foster him? I remember her exact reply was "You better get him out of there" and I didn't need any more encouragement! He came home with me that night ...
Corinne had already lined up a lady and her adult daughter to come and see Elmo and, when they arrived, we were both waiting for them in the front yard. The mother walked in the gate, took one look at Elmo and said 'his ears are the wrong shape'. The daughter was a bit put out and tried to talk her round but she was adamant. Even if mum had changed her mind there was no way Elmo was going home with them after that! I paid his adoption fee the next time I was at the Pound and he became my boy from then on, although I think it was quite stressful for Elmo living with male dogs. As pack leader he thought he had to keep everyone in line and I often thought perhaps it would have been fairer to have found him a home with a little girl dog instead. In fact I often told him how different his life might have been if only his ears had been a different shape! A little girl foster dog called Lolita did come into Elmo's life later on and I think it was love at first sight for both of them as well! I couldn't bear to part them so ended up adopting Lolita just to keep Elmo happy ...
Elmo was never aggressive towards humans once out of the Pound (although he didn't like having his feet groomed and would let me know about it!) I used to call him my 'nearly normal dog' as, unlike most of the canine occupants of my house, there was no real need for me to adopt him because of a bad temperament or medical problems. I guess I loved Elmo because he was the only dog I CHOSE to adopt rather than a dog I felt I HAD to adopt! His dominance with other male dogs did cause a bit of a problem and my friends often asked me why I didn't rehome him but I always replied 'because I love Elmo' ..... and I did.
Luckily for me the feeling was mutual and if I moved at all then Elmo came with me. He was my shadow and wouldn't let me out of his sight if he could help it. His favourite trick was to jump up without warning right on my stomach if I was lying on the couch watching TV, knocking the wind out of me! Then he'd lie right up close beside me, giving what I called his 'Elmo grumbles' whenever any of the other dogs tried to push him out of the way.
If I was feeling in need of a cuddle Elmo was always happy to oblige. I only needed to hold out my arms and he would come leaping into them and would allow himself to be kissed and cuddled for as long as I wanted. And he would love coming upstairs with me as he knew that when my back was turned he could sneak some of the cats' biscuits, even though I always gave him some anyway. Elmo was the only dog I walked off lead with confidence as I knew he would never run away from me.
In the early evening before it got dark Elmo would sit out front on the terrace on what I called 'sentry duty'. There he could keep an eye on the dogs being walked in the park and wait for his dinner.
Elmo was always scared of thunderstorms and fireworks and on one occasion, in his panic, managed to end up on the ledge halfway up the stairs (see photo below) and couldn't get back down again! I feel very sad that the second last night of his life was New Years Eve and that he was terrified for hours until the bangs stopped at last.
Elmo's life came to an end suddenly at lunchtime on the second day of the New Year when he choked on a treat I gave him. My last memory is of him lying there desperately trying to breathe and looking up at me with those big beautiful eyes pleading for his mum to help him.
By the time Elmo reached the vet hospital his heart had stopped and, although they got it started again, they were unable to keep it beating. The grief and guilt I feel over Elmo's death is almost unbearable although my friends tell me it wasn't my fault. But I know that I let Elmo down when he needed me most. It was my job to keep him safe and I didn't .... it was up to me to help him and I couldn't.
Elmo my beautiful boy ... when you left you took a piece of my heart with you and I can't believe I will never see your big. round moonface gazing up at me ever again. I pray that one day we will meet again at rainbow bridge but in the meantime, run with the angels my darling.
Pound No, 232
Needing a clip!
Uh-oh ...I was sure there was a
biscuit left in the packet!
Darn that scary thunder ... get me
off this ledge!
Biggest, softest, brown eyes ever ...
(Background Music - "Last Day on Earth" by Kate Miller-Heidke)
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