Profound grief swept over our family on a particularly dark, gloomy day in October 2015. Our precious Great Pyrenees, Angel, died of bone cancer at the tender age of 7. Angel was more than a dog: she was our family, our rock, our joy, our salvation and a life line for our son, Connor. No other therapy or treatment was able to pierce the emotional walls that autism had built between us and our child, until we met Angel. She brought Connor out of his shell, freed him from his loneliness and isolation and taught him how to laugh and love. How could my husband, three children and I recover from losing our most loyal companion? We all agreed that we would never open our hearts to another dog again. How could we possibly love another dog? But then we met Ella.
“Mom, we need to find another Pyrenees,” declared Connor one month after Angel died. “I’m lost in this world without a dog.” Connor was right. Our family was incomplete. Besides, so many good dogs were in need of a home. And so we risked opening our hearts once again. I searched the internet for days without success. And then I saw her. 4Paws4Life was fostering a beautiful 2 year-old Pyrenees named Ella. Very little was known about her background, but Ella’s sad, soulful eyes told us that she desperately needed a family. When we brought her home, the grief that held our family captive began to dissipate. And poor, sweet Ella! It was clear she had never walked on a leash, ridden in a car, or enjoyed a regular meal. Basically, she never experienced the security of having a forever family. But in no time at all, Ella’s beautiful eyes radiated happiness, security and belonging.
Mother’s Day 2016: At 2:30 a.m., I heard Ella barking incessantly from Connor’s room. She rarely ever barked (unusual for a Pyrenees), but her cries sounded urgent, almost pleading. As I got out of bed to check on her, I realized our home was engulfed in smoke and flames! The lack of oxygen lulled our family into a deep sleep and our smoke detectors failed to ring. My husband and I ran to Connor’s room and saw from his window, that our neighbor’s house was literally a ball of flames.
The fire had spread to our house and we too were in danger. With little time to spare, we gathered the children and Ella and fled from our house. Sadly, our home was destroyed but our lives were intact. And we owed everything to Ella.
We hate to think what would have happened had Ella not awakened us that night. We thought by adopting Ella we had rescued her. However, she is the one who literally rescued us! Like Angel, Ella is our family, our rock, our joy and our salvation. Ella is our hero!