I had a post titled ‘Elsa our  friendly Labrador’ in my Drafts folder for a long long time.And this post never saw the light of day because I was waiting to take some special pictures of Elsa and my son together.

As a little kid, I was terrified of dogs. If I saw a dog on the street, I would run in the opposite direction.And the dog promptly (probably sensing the fear and getting suspicious ) chased after me thereby adding fuel to the fire of my fear. Till I was about thirteen years old, I had probably never touched a dog in my life. Then when I turned thirteen, I was introduced to Benjy, my good friend U’s dog.Benjy was the most friendliest dog I had ever met and since I used to visit U’s  house quite often, I soon overcame my fear and very  soon I was touching and petting Benjy.I quickly overcame my fear of dogs and  even wanted to keep a pet dog myself.But my parents were not very supportive then. By then I had finished school and moved to Mysore to pursue my Engineering and there was no way that my parents were going to be convinced to take care of a pet dog in my absence.

Elsa came into our lives in September 2007 as a nine-month old pup. The 2 girls who were her mistresses were moving out of Bangalore and they were looking out for a family who would adopt Elsa.The in-laws are also very fond of dogs, so PP and I discussed this with them and we decided as a family to adopt this mischievous looking dog whose photo had been mailed to us.Finally the dog I had wanted for a long, long time was finally home. Elsa(who was named after the lioness in the movie Born Free) came home and settled down comfortably into our lives. Like all Labrador Retrievers,  she loved human company and even insisted on sleeping in our room for the first few days  till we slowly got her to sleep in her kennel in the backyard.( the husband spent a few hours every night in the backyard trying to convince her to sleep quietly as she barked and showed her frustration at being locked out of the house).Elsa loved chewing things and as a display of her love for us, she would present us with chewed up socks, towels, undergarments and wires when we got home.So we learnt to keep the above mentioned things out of reach of Elsa. Since she needed to be taken for her walks regulalry, we also shook off our lethargy and got the much needed exercise every day. Elsa came into our lives when the  family was going through some upheavals and she brought some much needed cheer with her.

Elsa the little pup

Elsa at 9 months

Just like in the book Marley and Me, it looks like Elsa was our first introduction to lives as parents. A couple of months after Elsa came into our lives, I was pregnant with little BB. Elsa kept me company as I walked every day  to stay fit during my pregnancy.Later as my delivery date drew closer, I moved to my parents place.I  missed Elsa so much that I made it a point to go and see this Labrador ( who looked just like Elsa) 2 lanes away from my parents place. Little BB was born and I got busy in my new role as a new mother.I moved back to the in-laws place 5 months after BB was born.Elsa always had full reign of the house earlier.But now that we had a little crawling baby in the house, we decided to restrict Elsa’s entry into the house. I still feel guilty thinking about the sight of Elsa standing in the backyard by the hall window and pawing the window pane as she wondered why she was not allowed into the house anymore.Slowly she got used to her life in the backyard and settled down to enjoying our company and attention through the hall window.She also became good friends with BB and whenever BB was upset, cranky or needed to be distracted from doing something mischievous, we would take him to the hall window where the sight of Elsa  wagging her tail would cheer him up immediately.

After her beauty bath

Elsa was such a friendly dog that it was the common joke in our house that she would probably wag her tail and welcome even thieves. But last year she proved us wrong by barking continuously and trying to alert us when some thieves made away with the neighbour’s car music system.Later on she also lived up to the name that was bestowed upon her by killing a little Russel Viper snake that found its way into our garden (Elsa the lioness also saves her mistress from a snake in the African wild).

Elsa in her kennel

Elsa enjoying a bath at a friend's farmhouse

Last Thursday when PP was leaving for office, my father-in-law mentioned that Elsa had not been eating  much since 2 days and that she seemed a little under the weather. PP was not very worried as Elsa has on earlier occasions refused food and had then gone back to being her hungry, cheerful self. Also she was in heat  then and we attributed the appetite loss to that.But he offered to take Elsa to the vet in the evening when he go back from office. Later in the evening, Elsa seemed very listless  and dull and we brought her to the front yard and tried to feed her some milk. But she seemed too tired and so the father-in-law and PP got ready to take her to the vet. By then Elsa was lying on her side,too tired to even stand up. PP who was in the hall heard her groan and by the time we reached the front yard, Elsa was no more.

We are still in shock and are still to come to terms with the loss.

Elsa, I had hoped that you would be my son’s side as he grew up, helping him to love and appreciate animals and not fear them( as I did when I was a kid).

Elsa, we miss you terribly.

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