Ella, as captured by her puppy-raisers

I got a bone-chilling e-mail yesterday from Kathy Alameda, puppy-raiser of Ella. Kathy picked up Ella from CCI on the very same day I collected Dionne. Since then Ella was our house guest on two separate occasions, and Dionne visited Ella in her home several times. We thus have felt a special bond with both of them, so it was particularly horrible to hear that Ella was in the veterinary hospital, battling for her life. Kathy reported that the cause of her illness was mysterious. She had been unable to keep down food or fluids and had become very lethargic.

A few hours later, Kathy sent an update: Ella’s liver was failing. At 6:20 last night, she reported that she had just spent two hours at the vet’s with her girl, trying to comfort and cheer her. But a little after 3:30 today she sent the worst possible news:

“With a very sad heart I write to tell you that Ella passed away today. We are all in shock. We never found out the cause of her liver failure.”

Steve and I feel shocked too. Ella was a gorgeous blonde and a vortex of energy and high spirits. She and Dionne adored each other and had glorious, ecstatic times running around the Alameda’s Rancho Santa Fe property. Times like this, which Kathy captured on her phone in January:

You know when you volunteer to raise a puppy that something could go wrong. I’ve heard of several examples. But the dogs are almost all so vibrantly, jubilantly happy and alive, you don’t expect anything will go wrong. It seems almost unthinkable.
Now it’s happened, to an exemplary family. I can’t imagine she’s in a happier place than she lived in. If brief, her life was extraordinarily happy. This is one of my favorite moments of what I was privileged to share of it:
Sweet dreams, Ella.

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