Thursday, January 7, 2016

Ellie Comes to Town

As the number of boxes decreased, the amount of clear space on the kitchen counter increased, and I could find my toothbrush, I figured it was time to get Ellie. I had great trepidation about bringing her with me. First she is used to roaming around her "100 acre wood" (aka our small suburban backyard), she was going to have to leave her pet airedale at home, and living in a city was something she knew nothing about. But, my DH assured me she was adaptive, and besides he said I needed her. He feared I would be lonely.

Since I had two weeks before I started work, I decided this would be a good time to see if this was going to work. So I fetched her late Monday afternoon.

As always she was most excited when I pulled out the leash and was happy to jump in the car for a ride. By the time we arrived in Charleston it was dark and chilly. I took Ellie out, put her leash on her, and walked her. The wind blowing leaves was a bit eirie. Cars were going up and down the streets close to the sidewalk where we stood. The sidewalk was full of the smells of God knows what. I think Ellie was overcome with stimulation.

I brought her in, set up her crate, and put her food and water out. She spent the next hour inspecting every inch of the apartment. By the time we went to bed, she had not touched her food nor her water, nor had she settled down. She crawled in bed with me and instead and settling into the comforter, she sat on the bottom of the bed as if she were a sentry on watch. She never settled down. She would lie down and close her eyes but it would not be long before she would hear something and be right back up at full attention.

I, on the other hand, was exhausted and went to sleep. About midnight I awoke suddenly when I realized that Ellie was next to my pillow with her head in my face, as if to say, "Are you asleep?" We had a few words and she settled down beside me. Around 2:15 she was in my face again. By this time I figured she may need to be walked since she had not peed since arriving.

The temperature had dropped into the 30's so we bundled up and out the door we went. It was a short but productive trip. We returned to my nice warm bed where I slept until 6:30.

Later I needed to leave the apartment to run some errands. She had her water, food, crate, favorite bed, and plenty of places to sleep. As I closed the door, I thought - she has to be exhausted from last night. I know she will sleep. Then mournful whaling and whining started from behind the door. I stood there silently waiting for it to die down. Instead it raised to a crescendo akin to some aria in an opera where the fat lady had lost her love or rather a beached whale calling for its lost calf. Finally I walked away fearful of what the neighbors may think.

I was comforted by my DH's words, "If she whines when you leave, it will not last but a few minutes. Dogs adjust quickly. And neighbors understand, especially in a building that allows pets. There is a reason people live there. Trust me, she will be fine."

The long list of errands consumed me. As I stood in the check out line in one store, my phone rang. Because I think it rude to talk on one's phone while being checked out, I ignored the call. Immediately the phone rang again. I looked and it was the same Charleston number I did not recognize. Just as I had paid for my goods and was picking up my bags, the phone rang for a third time with the same number.

Then fear and dread swept over me. What if this was a neighbor calling to complain about Ellie, or worse yet the landlord threatening eviction? I answered the phone. To my relief it was someone following up on an inquiry I had made about an advertised apartment. Before I could tell him I was already settled, he said, "Now one thing I cannot tolerate is dogs. They just drive all the other tenants crazy. Some owners will just leave them in the apartments with them crying and barking. Dog owners need to be more responsible. Obviously, the dog is trying to tell the owner he is not happy."

Without commenting on his diatribe, I thanked him for returning my call and told him I had found a place.

As I approached the door of my apartment building, there was a young lady with an excited large brown puppy that she was having some difficulty with on the leash. She apologized. I assured her that was not an issue and asked her what the dog's name was. She replied "Winston" as she entered the code to open our building door. As she turned to the left, the puppy started barking loudly and running down the hall. I turned to the right and opened my door.

At least now I knew Ellie was not the only vocal pup in the building. I never thought I would be so thankful for a barking dog. 

I found Ellie standing on my bed. Obviously she had been  asleep. I just wondered for how long.


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