Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Remembering Ellie 1993-2008
So it seems like my year hasn't really gotten off to a great start. I was hoping things couldn't get any worse after my all night pukefest on NYE but I was wrong.
I was just informed that three horrible things happened yesterday. Not to mention I have the world's worst flu and can't move without coughing up a lung.
One is that my grandpa died. Make Hanstrom is not my biological grandpa, he died when my mom was quite young. But her mother later remarried Make, a kind, smart and gentle man who had lost a leg in the war. Now I never knew my grandparents very well, my mother and her mother have a difficult relationship (due to my grandma abandoning her when she was a baby), and I never knew my grandpa on my dad's side as he was dead too...plus everyone lives in Norway and Finland and may or may/not speak English well. But Make to me was as much as a grandfather as possible considering and I am deeply saddened to hear that he passed away in his sleep yesterday. He had stomach cancer and we all knew he was dying with only months to live but still...my thoughts and prayers go out to my mom's family in Finland.
On a closer note (to me), my dog is dead.
She also died yesterday.
My parents and my dog Ellie, as you know, have been in Palm Springs. My mother and Ellie went for a walk last night. In a quiet street next door to the condo they are staying at, they decided to cross the road at some bushes. Coming out of the bushes and on to the road, my mom notices a car coming towards them. It is quiet far off and my mom is clearly visible so she just assumes the car will slow down or brake or whatever. Regardless, my mom slows down, just in case.
But the car doesn't. It keeps coming, keeping its speed and doesn't slow down. In fact, it actually starts to turn towards my mother and my dog. My mother recalls thinking it felt like she was in some movie where someone is deliberitley trying to kill her and then remembers thinking she is going to die.
Meanwhile, my dog normally walks quickly ahead (on the leash, of course) of my mother but at this moment, she decided to stay beside my mom, between her and the car. Now my dog is partially blind and deaf so there is no way she would have really known a car is coming (believe me, she had become quite ignorant in her older years) but regardless, my dog stayed where she was. And was hit.
The car hit my dog first and she went flying to the side of the road. The car then hit my mom, but most of the impact had already been done to Ellie.
The car then took off, kept driving, leaving my mother and my dog lying on the pavement. My dog was crying from the pain and my mother was screaming for help. Being Palm Springs, a lot of people looked from their windows but couldn't be bothered. But a man from her complex came out and my mom screamed for him to run down the road after the car. He did and caught up to the car.
Soon the ambulance and fire trucks came and looked at my mom but all my mom could think about was Ellie. They told her, even though she seemed fine, she should probably go to the hospital but my mom told them, "Your hospitals are so expensive in the States, I'd rather spend the money on my dog."
They all did the best they could. Ellie had stopped whimpering and was still breathing, and she was still able to smell and lick my moms hand. The firemen gave Ellie oxygen too, in a little mask. Then my dad came out (someone had run to get him) and they both cuddled and held Ellie for as long as they could.
Finally, someone from the emergency vet team came out and strapped Ellie to a little gurney and took her into their ambulance. My mother said at this point that everyone was crying, the firemen, the ambulance drivers, the onlookers. It didn't look good for my little dog.
At the vets, they put my dog into an incubator to keep her warm. She was still alive but not really aware of her surroundings. The vet said they could do whatever my parents wanted to keep her alive but in the end, she was probably bleeding internally and she wouldn't be the same, even if it worked. My parents told them to put Ellie down, so at least she wouldn't be in any pain.
I guess the bright side of this story is that Ellie was an old dog, who we expected to go quite awhile ago. But in Palm Springs, she seemed to take on a new life. She was happy and energetic, running everywhere, being so happy. The dry air seemed to breathe new life into her and even I was surprised at how healthy she seemed when I went to visit a few weeks ago. Sure she couldn't really see or hear very well but she still loved you anyway.
But she was 15 years old and the vet said that she would have probably gone this year at any rate. I just wish she hadn't been taken by some woman in a car who can't fucking drive. But at least she got to be a hero, saving my mom from death or paralysis, letting my mother know how much she loved her life as their dog and how she would have done anything for them.
And she did.
Addendum: We will know in a few days what the police report on the driver of the car will say and I hope to God that justice is served here. Maybe the driver was drunk, or on a cellphone or blind as a bat or mental, but either way, there is no excuse for not slowing down when someones is crossing the road, and definitely no excuse to steering your car in a persons direction.
As for my parents, this is gonna be so hard on them and I only wish I was down there with them. You have no idea how much my parents loved that dog, how much I loved her and how much everyone who ever met Ellie loved her. They are going to pick up the ashes in a few weeks and when they get back her, scatter them in Boundary Bay where we would always walk her.
I decided to add something extra, part of a lovely email my mother just sent (I am very suprised she even sent one since she is the world's slowest typer and extremely computer illiterate. Please excuse the grammar - she is from Finland after all).
"The other night my little dog and i went for our usual evening walk on E Palm canyon drive . As we crossed Deepwell side street ,which was minimally lighted, i saw a car in the distant turning into it .My dog was on a leash and i felt i had plenty of time to get to the meridian section of the street before it was close to us . To my shock and horror the car turned to us and kept coming , more we walked away more it turned and kept coming . I stared at the lights and waved my arm and yelled but it did not stop . I was doomed but my little dog stepped beside me to spare me from the impact and she and i went flying to the payment screaming in pain.The car stopped briefly but then took off. I yelled for some one to help us but for the longest time nobody came .I thought only in America, people are afraid to get involved. Finally a man came out of the Biltmore bldg and i shouted at him to get the licence # of the car that had now stopped at the gate to Deepwell complex. The gentleman also called the paramedics who administered oxygen to Ellie who was still breathing . I cried and cried telling Ellie how much i loved her and begged her not to die but she was in bad shape . As i sat there beside my pet I asked a female paramedic ,why is there so little lighting in Palm Springs ? She told me people voted agaist more lights for they wanted to be able to see the stars.
I looked up in the sky and i did not see any .The only stars I saw when my head hit the payment. Soon i will be driving home with Ellies ashes in a box and with a very heavy heart and Ii will be thinking of all those pet owners walking their dogs in the dangerously dark Palm Springs. Sorry Thomas Edison. PS I like to thank paramedics and Mr.Nickerson from animal control for being kind to Ellie in her last moments." Tuuli Halle