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

26 comments:

Alain Saffel said...

I am really sorry to hear about your dog and your mom. Your mom is lucky she wasn't hit worse than she was.

I am sure your dog had a sense of what was going on when she did what she did.

Tilly said...

Oh my Gosh, I am SO sorry to hear this. Seriously. So, so sad for your loss. What a sweetheart AND hero!

kimberlie said...

oh they are awful things to have happened...:(

Vegas Princess said...

simply can not believe this story. I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face just amazed at the ability of one pet to save someone's life and totally irate at the horrible people who inhabit this eart. I seriously hope justic is swift and not brief for the idiot who ran down your precious family. It are times like these I wish that the punishment could fit the crime.

I am so sorry for both your losses, both unbearable to accept. This much misery should not happen to one family in so short a time. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Farrell said...

Oh honey. That is a sad, sad, but amazing story. I am Sooooooo sorry. I have both a dog and a cat, and I don't know what I would do without them. I hope they catch that crazy driver. Ellie really was a true hero. I am glad your mom is okay.
*hugs*

Mitch said...

Hey,

I'm So sorry to hear about your dog. I know I too would be crushed if something like that happened to my pup.

take care my friend!

G

Dan said...

Hug.

Adjil said...

Aw, I'm sorry to hear your news. Take care. :-(

Girl About Town said...

I am so so sorry for your awful losses. I can't help but feel what an angel your little dog was to have saved your Mum like that, I am sure she has more than earned her angel wings, and is up there somewhere looking out for you all, still. Oh but so sad.

I hope the s.o.a.b who caused this gets the full weight of the law thrown at them, and then some. My goodness what a stupid thing to do and to not even stop is just outrageous.

My thoughts are with you, and I hope the new year is kinder to you from hereonin.

M said...

oh christ, that just breaks my heart - it's so sad. I'm so sorry. :(

A Novelist said...

I'm really sorry to hear about Ellie. She was adorable. You are in my thoughts...

AaroN said...

How sad. :(

10 years ago, I was involved in a hit-n-run and the left me in the middle of the street unconscious. Never found the person. I hope your family find closure.

cathy said...

I am a first time commenter I have been reading your previous years blog with all your adventures in travelling etc..I feel like you are a friend and I am really sorry about your mom and little dog. Your mom was very lucky that this person did not kill her. Ihope something is done. Things will look up for you don't worry CHIN UP!!!!

Tawcan said...

Sorry to hear about the loss. On the bright side Ellie saved your mom. It could of been a lot worse if Ellie wasn't there.

Noe said...

I'm sorry!!
Hugs to you!

clw said...

I'm so sorry for your loss!

Rosie said...

What an awful set of events! I am so sorry to hear about your sweet dog, she sounds like an amazing creature. Deeply sorry for your loss!

Kass said...

This is so sad. It makes me so angry to think that someone would do this. I hope your mum is okay!!

Manny said...

Oh man...I'm so sorry. I have a little Shih Tzu named Thor that is practically my son. Just reading your post made me want to call home and check on him. I'm sorry for your loss.

Steph said...

Oh God that is sooo sad. Thank God in a way that your dog WAS there, I know it's a horrible loss, but think what would have happened to your mom!!

So sorry ((big hugs))

Rachel said...

i'm so sorry. i would be devastated if that happened to my cat. sending happy thoughts.

The Stormin Mormon said...

I'm so sorry to hear about you losses...

My deepest sympathies.

Meghan said...

I'm a first time commenter as well and would just like to pass along my sympathy. I'm so sorry for your losses.
I have a cat, and even the thought of losing her is devastating.
I hope justice is served. Ellie really was a hero and your mom is lucky she was there.

Charm School Reject said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your mom and dog. My dog was killed when she was hit by a car when I was 10 and the b*tch who hit her took off.

I know how much a dog can mean to someone, especially when you've had her for so long. I'm just glad that there were professionals there who took your mom seriously when she asked them to work on her instead and that she was at least comfortable in her last moments.

jford said...

That is heartbreaking. I am truly sorry to hear about your dog. I hope your mom is okay and that they found the person who caused such grief and such a needless, avoidable loss.

Ena said...

Hi Carina, I accidentally found your blog when i googled my surname :D Dont mind if flip through your journal? :D