Elche, my dog, has been around for a long time. When I was just barely four-years-old, my mom took my sister and I to the animal shelter to look for a dog. There were a lot of cute dogs but Elche was the one we were immediately attracted to. As soon as they opened her cage to let us see her she bolted for the exit. I remember watching her run down the hall and seeing all the shelter workers trying to catch her. My mom decided that's the dog we wanted. The next day my mom sent my dad over to check Elche out. My dad says that as soon as he saw her he knew that she was our dog. So he brought her home.
I loved my dog. We played together. I built her forts and chased her around the yard. I remember one time she chewed up my favorite helmet, that wasn't so fun. When she was little she had this stuffed fish that she loved. She could run so fast. We'd play this game with her were we would stomp our foot and she would take off running around in circles. Then she'd stop and look at us and we'd stomp our foot again and she'd run again. It seems really boring, but she loved that game.
In case you don't know Elche, but a lot of people do, she ran away....all the time. Like once a week at least. For awhile it was everyday. My mom would leave to pick up the kids from school and when she came back Elche would be gone. A few hours later Elche would show up on our porch or the pound would call us and tell us they had our dog. Again. One time we came home to find an Animal Control truck parked outside our house. The officer told us to stand back because the "wild dog" he had been chasing had ran back there. We assured him it was fine, it was OUR dog.
Twice we thought we lost her for good. The first time was in Rancho Cordova. Elche was staying there while we remodeled our house. She was missing for a week in a city that she knew nothing about. A man finally coaxed her into his house with a piece of pizza. The second time was at New Years. Elche was terrified of fireworks so when we got home she had chewed her way out of our fence. She was gone for a week that time too. When we found her, she was 10 miles away, across a river, muddy, skin and bones, and she had lost her voice. My mom told us that someday she would run away and we would never see her again.
Elche lived a long time. Seventeen years! I can't remember a time without her. Over the last few years she turned into this old lady dog that just wanted to sleep all the time. She went blind and practically deaf (Sometimes I think she just pretended to be deaf...) but she still loved to play with us. Whenever Arianna was over, Elche always wanted to be right in the middle of whatever we were doing. She followed my dad everywhere, all over the house and in the yard. She was a good dog. Soon she couldn't recognize my dad or my brothers. She ran into things and got lost in our yard. Yesterday we put her down and she was buried out in the country. She lived a long long long life. And it was fabulous. And even though we will miss her, it's so great to know that she has her playful body back. I know that I will get to see her again :)