Elle: My forevermore heart dog, by Brenda Brown

So often heart dogs come into our lives as a gift from God to help us cope with the tough struggles in life. As a grief specialist and owner of Grief About Pets, I have seen this theory hold true. God brought Elle into my life at the perfect time!

Years ago, I worked for Akron Children’s Hospital as director of volunteers. At this time I was grieving the death of my father, struggling with a recent diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, and trying to survive being a divorced parent of two young daughters.

While working at the hospital I fell in love with their pet therapy program called the Doggie Brigade. I loved all the dogs, but for some reason I bonded with Cobi, a Blenheim King Charles Spaniel.

I told Cobi’s mom, Barb, that I’d like to adopt a dog just like hers, but the breed was out of my price range. Surprisingly, Barb told me that her breeder had a dog for adoption for free.

I called the breeder right after Barb shared this news. She told me the dog was eight years old and had just given birth to her last litter. I was a bit overwhelmed when I entered the breeder’s home to meet my potential dog – there were spaniels of all ages running everywhere.

So where was the dog who needed to be adopted? Out of this running spaniel chaos, a rather homely, fragile girl plopped herself at my feet. It was apparent that Elle needed me as much as I needed her.

Elle lived to be 13 years old. During those five years we were together, Elle blessed me beyond belief. It was such a joy to see her become a certified pet therapy dog in the Doggie Brigade. Elle brought healing comfort and laughter not only to me, but to hundreds of children.

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