Monday, September 8, 2008


Last but certainly not least, Echo is our younger dog by one year. She will be 8 years old in November, and is probably almost all Australian Cattle Dog or Blue Heeler. She looks like a Heeler all around. Her favorite things in life are eating, sleeping and giving and getting love and attention. Echo is not so interested in rules or listening to words and commands. She's still a smart dog - she just chooses to make her own path, which can be an issue at times when you're trying to get her to do something you want her to do. She will rarely sit still long enough for me to take her picture, unless she's lounging somewhere. She does not pose for me, and these photos will show that, I think. There are a few good posed shots though - this one in black and white:

The story of how we came about getting Echo is one that might sound impulsive or irresponsible, but quite the contrary, it was the right thing for our little family at the right time. We had been talking about getting another dog for a while, thinking it would help Ellie to have a companion. I should say I was totally sold on this notion, but S was still thinking it over. Anyway, one day when we were about to go out of town for the weekend on a camping trip with friends (and Ellie) I went up to the pet store to get a rawhide for Ellie to have on the trip.

At the pet store was a cat rescue with one dog in their group. The cat rescue is located in Balch Springs, and someone brought two puppies to them, one seriously hurt. They took the dogs to the vet to be checked and mended and were trying to find them homes. The other puppy, the one who had been hurt and required 22 stitches, Echo's brother, had been adopted. Echo was still there. She was 5 months old. As I walked past she popped up onto the side of the cage wall and would not let me walk past without greeting her. She was so friendly, laid back and intent on affection, I immediately knew she would be the perfect foil for our hyper, high strung yet smart Ellie. I went home and told S he had to go meet her. He told me several times I was crazy and to drop it and get ready to leave. But, I said, please go up there and meet this dog and if you don't agree she is the perfect dog for us, I will drop it. Of course, when he met her, he couldn't say no, so we took her home. And on the camping trip. What a weekend.

We learned over the next several months that Echo suffered from extreme separation anxiety - she must have had a tough first 5 months - and we eventually lost, over several months, a couch to this disorder. (Our old house was so small there was no place to crate train.) But, slowly she began to trust we were not going to leave her. Now, you would never know this dog had once been so afraid we were never coming back.

Echo went nameless for a while. In the photo above, you can see the big black spot on her back - it is almost a perfect circle. So, for a while, we thought about calling her, "Dot" and I am sure some other names I can't remember. But, ultimately we settled in on, "Echo" because she did whatever Ellie did and it made for nice alliteration when saying the names together - Ellie and Echo. Is that alliteration? Maybe it isn't. But, you get the idea.

Then, a few years later, Echo got sick. And she wouldn't get well. We went to the specialty doctor, and thousands of dollars later, learned she had an immune mediated disorder. She was put on a high dose of steriods and weaned off. She has never had that issue again. However, now we are battling something else with her - it could be another immune mediated thing, or it could be a tumor in her nose. We don't know - she's having more thousands of dollars of tests. It makes me very very sad that she might be sick again.

Echo thinks our bed is her bed. So, for those of you scoring at home, yes, Ellie thinks the leather chair is her bed and Echo thinks the king size bed is her bed. So, yes, two for bad pet parenting, good pet parenting - zero. Here she is relaxing on "her" bed:

She is also not too excited about going outside, unless it's a fair weather day and there are squirrels to catch or pecans to eat. Otherwise, inside is fine with her. So we often have to coax her into the out of doors. Here are two photos from last fall of her in the back yard, sad eyes at full tilt.

No matter what veterinary clinic she's in, or how sick she is, she ends up winning over the staff of the clinic instantaneously. She comes home with ribbons and bows around her collar, and when we go back, all sorts of random staff members have to come out to greet her. She's an immediate favorite of every veterinary professional she's ever met. She's a very special dog and I'm glad I have had the privelege of having her in my life. She makes me a better person. If only I were as good as she thinks I am! She is one of the sweetest dogs you'll ever meet.

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