Saying goodbye to Ellie Mae

Ellie Mae joined our family six years ago. The lovely southern belle of a basset hound was originally from Georgia and my wife Nan fell in love with her after finding her featured on a rescue website.
Nan took the long drive southwest to pick her up from a Basset Hound Rescue of Georgia (CQ) foster home. They connected instantly and from that moment on they formed a special bond. When Nan wasn’t home, Ellie would lay down near the door, sometimes quietly whimpering herself to sleep.
Every night, she slept in her special bed, nestled where she could be close to her mom.
We called her Ellie Jelly and she was truly the picture of southern belle bassethood. When the weather was too hot, too cold or too wet, she didn’t want to venture outside further than the back porch or the brick patio. After all, it wasn’t ladylike to get your feet wet or expose them to other elements.

About three weeks ago, the 13-year-old began show signs that she was not feeling well at all. An x-ray showed a severely calcified disc in her neck, with a spur forming that was clearly causing her pain when she moved her head.
A regime of medicines and rest over the following week failed to improve her condition and in fact, she was getting worse and in more and more discomfort over time. We were advised that surgery was the only other option, but due to the location of the disc and her size and shape, the odds were poor and beyond those odds, the recovery would be very long and very painful.
It was clear, all too soon, that we could not allow her to suffer any longer and with extremely heavy hearts we made the decision to say goodbye.
It is a decision we’ve been forced to make too many times over the last six to seven months, as so many of our rescues have reached the winter of their lives.
We know that for every one of us, there is a time to live and embrace each other and a time to part ways until we are all reunited again. But while these thoughts attempt to bring us comfort, the loss of another member of our furry family is still all too painful.
We are taking solace in holding close and consuming the love from the rest of our band of rescues. At times like this, I might briefly wonder why we continue to rescue, but it only takes one lick to the face from one – or a snuggle on the sofa from another to serve as a fond reminder.
We will miss you Ellie and we will miss your jelly-like, wiggly stride on walks down our street. You brought so much love and laughter to both of us.


12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by ROBIN RUNION on May 8, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    She is precious and it makes us all cry for the ones we had and loved and lost. I cannot foster any dogs at this time due to cannot afford anymore. One of my dachshunds is so jealous and territorial and is mean to other dogs that have come over, I would be afraid when I was not at home that she may do something to another rescue/foster. But, one day I will get more, my 2 foster dachshunds have passed and I will never forget them! I also fostered one and was adopted out, and I cannot do that again, I get too attached to them, I cannot let them go! I need Cesar Milan to come to my house to help with my one little jealous dapple dachshund! Ellie Mae looks like the sweetest thing and I hope and pray there is a doggie heaven cause I will be looking for mine when I get to heaven! God bless you for the Bassets you are helping and loving!


  2. Posted by darlene clewis on May 8, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    sorry to hear of your lost…and if there is anything we can do please let us know….i will be thinking of you and Nan…..

    pender county shelter manager


  3. Posted by Tom Grady on May 9, 2010 at 12:06 am

    Thank you both for offering your thoughts about our loss.


  4. Posted by Jenny Poti on May 9, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss and will be keeping your family and Ellie Mae in mythoughts and prayers. We adopted 2 shelties from rescue, and we also foster shelties. Currently we have 2 fosters plus our 2. The older or sick ones really get straight to your heart. We have lost fosters and it hurts as much as losing one of our own. The only cure I have found to help ease the pain is to keep their memory alive, knowing that you did your best to make their lives as rich as possible and pain free. It also helps to get a new “project” ie another foster as soon as possible to help heal and share your love with. They can never replace the loved one, but you just find room in your heart to add one more.


  5. Posted by Linda Szymoniak on May 9, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Unfortunately, dogs and cats just don’t have the same life-span as humans. Plus, when you rescue older animals, you know going in that you won’t have that many more years with them. But, every moment of that time is precious, and something to be cherished. Be at peace knowing that you gave each of the animals love, a warm bed, good food, and everything else they would ever need. I’ve held my share of senior family members in my arms while the vet released them from the pain and illness of their advanced age. I live every day knowing that I’ll be making that decision again – sooner than I would like to think about since I have a senior (going on 16) Beagle who is still able to live a happy, comfortable life, but who is quickly succumbing to the health issues that come with age.

    Bless you for what you do for the animals. Your life is more complete because they were part of it!


  6. Posted by Debbie Bull on May 10, 2010 at 6:55 am

    My sincere sympathy to you and Nan, Tom on the loss of your dear baby. My thoughts and prayers are with you both at this difficult time. You were lucky to have your little sweetheart and she was lucky to have found such a wonderful family to be a part of. Hopefully your hearts will heal soon and your pain will ease. I believe we are better people because of the special pet ‘angels’ that become part of and touch our lives in so many ways. God bless you all.


  7. I saw your post on FB which brought me here to you. This story brings tears to my heart as I understand and know it too well. These little angels touch our hearts and stay with us forever. It is a wonderful thing that you do. Adopting and loving these precious knowing that one day you will have to let them go. You are brave and compassionate and how blessed we all are that you are here.

    I would love to share my story with you. It is a story of the unconditional love animals share with us and each other. I am not trying to promote anything as it is free for all to read. It was a life changing experience for me and I know that I must not be the only one touched by these little angels we call “our children”. Just go to the website to read the story.

    Lots of love and blessings from our family to yours.


  8. Posted by Tom Grady on May 10, 2010 at 8:44 am

    I can’t thank you all enough for taking the time to post your thoughts about Ellie.
    We decided long ago to try to include older rescues in our family, because often they are overlooked at the shelters.
    Several years ago, we rescued a very old beagle who was barely skin and bones when we took her in and had a severe case of heartworms. Rosie was given just a few months to live, but two years, later she was tested as heartworm free and she was with us for four years.
    Beyond the messages of spay/neuter, shutting down puppy mills, etc – one of the main messages we need to spread is that the greatest breed of dog or cat on the planet is RESCUE.


  9. Saw your post last week on FB. So sorry to hear of your loss. Several years ago I adopted a shelter dog and wonder how I ever lived my life without this joyful and loving soul. I dread to think that someday this will happen. This dog has brought so much laughter, love and joy to my family that I can say all would be worth it. Thank you for the work you do….these animals deserve so much better. They are our friends, our companions and are the one thing that love us unconditionally! May time heal the wound of your loss….but never forget what you shared!


    • Posted by Tom Grady on May 11, 2010 at 9:57 pm

      Thank you. I really appreciate your thoughts and kindness. My best to you and your family.


  10. Posted by Lucie on June 2, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Just found your blog through Facebook. I have tears in my eyes. What a beautiful tribute to your lovely dog. I am so very sorry for your loss.


    • Posted by Tom Grady on June 2, 2010 at 8:41 pm

      Thank you for your thoughts on my tribute to Ellie. And thanks for visiting the blog.


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