Friday, December 16, 2011

Elsa - Our Red Dog!

Chris and I watched RED DOG last night, a great Australian movie about a very loyal and honest red kelpie.   I have owned kelpies, and they are amazing dogs.  Very intelligent, and agile, strong, loyal, hard-working, loving, and in this case, as per the true story, loved by the whole community.  It was a beautiful movie, full of sentiment and humour, and told in a very dry, Australian humor style.  I would recommend it.

But that put me to thinking - while I have owned kelpies, who I will always speak highly of, at the same time I became the surprised owner of a red Australian terrier, who was eventually named Elsa, (like the famous Lion at the time), because by the time we were introduced and I decided to bring her home, she had a mane of blond/red hair and the most trusting and loving eyes.

I was teaching in Rainbow, Victoria - in a high school that was amazing, due to the community, the students, and the whole experience of working with them.  One particular Spring day, I was teaching my class of 8th graders, who I have written about before, and noticed that one of my 'kids' was feeling very low, sad-like, and didn't respond much in class.  It was late morning, and we would be breaking for lunch soon. 

At the end of class-time, I pulled her aside and asked her if she was troubled, and she just broke down:
 "Oh, Miss. Me Dad is gonna put down our last puppy today, if I don't find a home for her!"
"What?", I replied.  First of all I had never heard of someone deliberately putting down or killing a puppy for a reason like that, but kept calm, and replied: "But why would he do that?  Puppies are so cute!"
"Oh, Miss, she really is, she's a bit of a runt is all - not her fault, just the runt of the litter, the other 4 went to good homes quickly - this one is just not wanted."  She started to cry then.

Well you know what happened! Of course I asked her to bring the puppy to school after lunch!  This wonderful, caring student  knocked on the door of the teacher's lounge towards the end of lunch time, and had this small bundle of reddish blond fur in a box.  I sat on the veranda with her, as we lifted the puppy out of the box.  (You know what happened don't you, of course you do - I fell in love with this bundle of fur- she may have been the runt - but she was going to be my runt!)

I phoned John, my new husband and explained that I was bringing home a friend for Ivory, and then had to go to my next class.  I left my new puppy in the staff room and assigned everyone responsibilities until I could make it back there again--they begrudingly took them on, and on my return after my last class I noticed that my new pup was out of her box, and happily playing with balls of wadded up paper rolls and some staff members were sitting on the floor next to her---I just had to smile!  I knew then I had made the right decision!

On my drive home, with my new pup in her box, on the passenger seat, where I could clearly keep a good eye on her, I talked to her about her new home and told her all about Ivory, and the adventures she would have.  She just sat there and looked at me, occasionally scratching at the fleas that I knew she must have, and listened very intently.  She was showing me her best manners.  Sometimes this didn't always happen, but she tried!

I got home and proudly carried my boxed treasure into our home, and John was there to greet us.  I think he was surprised at how small she was, but she showed him that she had spunk and I explained in a whisper about the 'putting down' threat, and I think he understood straight away.  Ivory was curious and came inside to look into the box.  She curiously sniffed the puppy, and then just sat and looked at her, as I lifted Elsa out of the box.  They both just sat and stared at each other, then touched noses.  After that, I think they decided that a good friendship could be a good thing, because that is what they became - best friends! I still think to this day that Elsa was the best name she could have had! Courage like a lion, and yet loving!  That was Elsa!


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