Elliot came to me at five years of age from Starting over Airedale Rescue. He was a surrender and judging by his personality, he was loved. He joined a household of two cats, a large parrot who called him “L” and a two year old Airedale female, Grace, who was an abuse case. She was so broken and fragile in my mind. Friends and neighbors would approach us on a walk and she would tremble, a touch would leave her paralyzed and unable to move. I would carry her home chanting a litany of apologies for the human race. Promising to love and protect her and possibly some evil words about her abuser.
I had tried for a year to find Grace a friend she would not run from. Then through the door came 71 pounds of Elliot. It was love for all of us at first sight. He was everything you would want in a friend, tender and kind, purity and passion, love and humor, honesty and emotional generosity.
I had a deep lingering sadness about Grace and her abuse. I watched Elliot submit to her ear pulling and still invite her into his happy world. I would often see them exchanging these little whispers with each other that I believe were reassurances. Maybe telling her she was safe with us. He gave me the idea that forgiveness for her had to be part of trust. For Grace to move from that dark place of starvation and abuse, maybe she needed someone like herself to show her the way? Elliot was the one to dim the memories. He was not feeling her sorrow as I was, but encouraging her joy. That crazy butt tuck run he would do showing her his silly self made her bound behind him grasping for an ear, something I was so incapable of. He showed me that Grace’s path to healing was forgiveness and she was fully capable of trusting again.
Walks had her bounding joyfully alongside of him. if someone approached he took the lead and shoved his big Airedale head into their knees, then sat on their feet. I believe Grace smiled, I did.
Life lessons are often learned in those moments of innocence. We know it when we see it. I apply Elliot’s techniques at work; walk beside, sit and shake hands, do not be afraid of making new friends. Share your food, a little bit of silly goes a long way, and make your ears available to others.
Five Years Later
My Elliot, (ET’s boy who believed) left his physical body in the presence of the whole veterinary clinic staff who found him as special as I. The bounty of love and the essence of what I believe to have been my desire for him to stay and his need to meet nature on its most honest terms, overwhelmed the room. I felt hands reaching to reassure me but I felt an incredible surge of awareness, Elliot was needed somewhere else. He left me and Grace, more whole and happy. His work was done.