Ella, off you go: Saying good-bye to our family dog

Jan. 20, 2007 – June 14, 2021

Our family dog… always. The kind choice, the right choice, doesn’t always feel good, but it’s still the right thing to do. That’s what we learned this week. 

Our dog, Ella (like Ella Fitzgerald), chose us in 2007, when she was six months old. She’s been our family dog for 14 years. Camping. Splashing in streams. Snuggling with Connor and Aster throughout their toddlerhoods and childhoods. A simple “off you go” would send her off on adventures.

Yet her health had been declining steadily this year, and we’d been talking with our vet regularly. No matter what, though, there were more and more signs that Ella was in constant, and increasing, pain.

A final day

Yesterday morning the four of us went with Ella to the vet. There were snuggles, pats, and hugs. While we waited for the vet, we talked with Connor and Aster about the day we got Ella. Adventures camping and traveling over the years. How Ella snuck out of the dog area on our wedding day so she could hang out at the ceremony.

Our family dog welcomed our two babies into her life. And often, where the kids were, Ella was too.

Ella huddles by the fire ring on her final camping trip.
Ella huddles by the fire ring on her final camping trip.

Ella loved peanut butter, chicken, and anything on the floor that so much as resembled a crumb. She barked whenever someone came to the door, then made it clear they were her best friend. When we went camping, she’d curl up so close to the fire ring, we worried she’d singe her fur. She could outrun any dog at the dog park.

Over the past few months, though, we knew Ella’s health was declining faster, and her suffering was increasing. We tried different things to see about improving her.

But we knew.

One last family trip to one of Ella's favorite places: the Oregon Coast.
One last family trip to one of Ella’s favorite places: the Oregon Coast.

Ella was our family dog, and we were her people. We loved her, appreciated her, tended her.

So we made the choice. It was a hard choice, but it was also kind, and right, and the only good option. We let Ella find peace.

We love you, Ella, and we’ll always be part of each other. Good-bye, Ella girl. Dogger dog. Sweet pupperoni.

Ella, off you go.

About the author
Learners and Makers
We are the St. Clair Family: Anthony, Jodie, Connor, and Aster. As Learners and Makers, our family of four slows down, connects, and enjoys the world and each other's company. We have been traveling full time since 2022.

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