My Canine Companions: A Blog Series

Many of you know that I have an extreme passion for dogs and animals in general. You may also know that I have taken in 14 dogs into my home and heart. Yes, I did say 14. This blog will be part of a series of blogs as I will list each dog in chronological order they entered into my life.


My Sui Generis!

Emme Woo is my canine soul mate and as you read her story, it will explain why.  It was 1999 and I was living in Santa Monica, Ca. I would have loved to have a dog then, but the place I lived in did not allow pets of any kind. I had decided that once my lease was over, I would seek out and move to another place that was pet friendly. That was the plan. I have to point out that if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans for tomorrow.

One evening I received a telephone call regarding my best friend, Butch Berrei. He had been experiencing chest pains and was taken to the emergency room where he soon after discovered he had suffered a heart attack. A few days later he was discharged and I was his ride home. While at the hospital, I had a conversation with his doctor who agreed with me that it would be wonderful for Butch to get a dog. It has been proven that pets, especially dogs, aid in helping to keep blood pressure down (in addition to the strict diet Butch was now on).

It took a lot of attempts to convince Butch, and then one day I received another telephone call. This time it was Butch and he wanted me to accompany him to pick out a puppy. A lady living near UCLA was trying to find homes for 7 puppies. They were Akita/Chow/Pit Mix and about 5 1/2 weeks old. I was ecstatic! When we arrived at the lady’s house, we went around back to a fenced in yard. She opened the gate and 6 puppies came clumsily running out all around us. Butch picked up one of the puppies and asked me what I thought. I noticed immediately this particular puppy was the largest of them all and obviously the “rebel rouser” of the group. Before I could respond, I heard a faint cry in the background. It was coming from a part of the yard we could not see. I heard it a second time…and then a third. Finally, I asked the lady what was I hearing and she informed me that it was the 7th puppy, who was also the runt. She continued to say she did not feel this puppy was going to survive, because being the smallest, the other puppies would not allow her to nurse, therefore she was very under nourished. I looked at my friend and told him that was the puppy he wanted. I had not laid eyes on this puppy, but knew in my heart she was the one…..the sui generis (one of a kind)!

The agreement between Butch and I was that I would house train his new puppy before giving her to him for good. I figured I could convince my landlord to permit this arrangement on a temporary basis. After her very first bath and some puppy formula in a bottle it was time for bed. I tried to get her to sleep with me in my bed, but it was too high and she just cried and cried.  I set up a comfy cozy place for her to sleep on the floor beside the bed, but she cried when I left her. So, I ended up cuddling with her for the night. I assumed it was only for the night.

The next morning I woke up with a smile as I realized she was licking my face. I knew at that moment she was home. Now how was I going to tell Butch that I already became attached and he was going to have to pick another puppy? I thought to myself I would just simply explain to him the truth; he would understand and be all right with it. That afternoon, I called him (after “dodging” a couple of his phone calls) and as I hoped, he completely understood. In fact, he told me Emme was actually an early Christmas present for me. He thought it was the perfect opportunity to “trick” me into picking out a puppy for myself.

Butch never got a puppy or dog in the end, but he saw Emme practically everyday.  I believe she somehow knew if it was not for Butch, I would have never known her. Today, she is still very much in my life. Boyfriends, some friends, jobs, etc. have come and gone, but through thick and thin, high and low, and good and bad….she has always been there. She turned 11 years old this past January and is still going strong. I love all of my dogs, but Emme has a special place in my heart and always will.  She was the snowball that started the avalanche in a funny way of speaking.

EL/ June 2011

My next blog coming will be a continuation of this series. It will be Chapter Two: Jasper Jones.



Filed under Dogs

8 responses to “My Canine Companions: A Blog Series

  1. Ella, A wonderful story that captures the heart and soul of your sui generis, as well as your own. Your writing is very touching and sincere and shines most when you speak about your personal passion for your canine companions. I look forward to the next installment.

  2. What a sweet way to begin the journey of being a dog person. Sweet post. : )

  3. Tate

    This blog is a well conceived idea. I love your photo of Emme Woo, but it was your words that introduced her to us. Thank you for opening your door, and your heart with this first installment. I am sure that this will not only be an endearing and entertaining blog, ….but that it will serve to inspire others to discover “their” own sui generis, ….that was right before them all along.

    • Tate, Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Your comments mean a great deal to me and Emme Woo, too! Glad you enjoyed it and I have about 15 more to go 🙂 I posted the second chapter just a few moments ago…just to let you know 😉 Have a great weekend!

  4. Butch Berrei

    All along i thought Emme Woo is an Akita.. My bad! hahaha..

  5. Debbie Ryan

    I can definitely relate, Ella. Mike and I went to the animal shelter in Baltimore City when we first got married and took the runt from the bottom of the puppy pile. He was sick and just lying there with all the other puppies trampling him. Rusty was our first dog…:-)

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