Friday, January 04, 2008

Ella in Lutz

(Click on photo for more photos)

The creator of this blog was enjoying a holiday party at the home of an infamous Seminole Heightsian, when another well known local requested that an update in the life of Ella, the dog, be posted. Most of you know, that the blogmaster, his wife and dogkids moved to Lutz from Southeast Seminole Heights in March of 2007. Ella is a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Hound mix who we adopted from a rescue group when she was six months old. You can read archived blog articles about her starting in April or May of 2006. She was a feral dog found on the streets as a pup and picked up by animal control. When we got her, the only thing she knew about humans, was that they put you in cages, poked and prodded, cut and snipped and dipped you in bathing tanks. Gaining Ella's trust and teaching her to adapt to life with humans has been a powerful experience.

Ella turned two years old last October. The move was as stressful for her as it was for us. She regressed some, finding cave-like places to hide inside and out. But life here in a semi- rural, dead end, small subdivision has been good for her. She had two bad experiences in the city before we moved. One dealt with children teasing her through our fence and the other, people throwing fireworks in our yard while she was in it. It is consistently quiet here. We walk her down a winding scenic road. There's a new dogpark that wraps around a small pond. She loves to go there and run. Well, some might say she's flying, all four feet off the ground and sailing through the air. Her tail has finally assumed its natural position, straight out, curving up at the end and she's learned to wag it vigorously.

In June, we took in my friend's standard poodle for the summer. Two weeks later, a friend who works for our vet called and said they had a Jack Russell pup that needed a home. He had been found wandering on 50th and Hillsborough. Suckers that we are, we brought him home. So, Ella had two new dogs to get used to. The poodle was large and black, so he intimidated her. The JR pup was pesky, even obnoxious with an E-collar on from his recent neuter job. Our timid, passive Ella, took on the role of protector to our 18 year old Jack Russell, Siggy. Eventually, she adjusted to the new dogs. Royal, the poodle was madly in love with her by the end of the summer. He taught her to chase squirrels ( arrgh!). Hobbit, the JR pup is her favorite toy. She nutures him and wrestles with him. He tries desperately to keep up with her at the dogpark and never lets her out of his sight.

The poodle went home in August and we've all settled into our new life in Lutz. We take Ella and Hobbit to classes at Courteous Canine, who helped us get Ella through the first few months at our house. Their facility is just a couple miles down the road. Ella just finished a class called Control Unleashed for fearful and reactive dogs. She was most improved dog at the end of the 8 weeks. She now looks forward to every class we do at the school and is disappointed if we don't go to class on scheduled days. She and Hobbit sit at the window here in the office while I type. They look out and daydream about chasing the squirrels and rabbits along the creek that runs across the street.

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