This is Alena, our Upside Down Dog of the Week. Here’s what her owner Erica says about her:
“In the fall of 2002, I started college. There was a veterinary technician program where I attended. At the time, I was dating a guy in that program. The students enrolled in that program were supposed to walk the dogs they took in from the local ASPCA. Often times the students didn’t so I would go with him to help – it killed me that those dogs were in the kennel that many hours a day. No forever home. No idea what the future held for them.
One day a Red Nosed Pitbull mix came in. She was horribly emaciated and beat up pretty badly. In her awful state, at 6 months old, she was the sweetest thing. I didn’t want to take her home. I just liked walking her. She had been there for about a week when she was spayed. That day I went to walk her and she was exhausted from her surgery. She got up and we went slowly together up the hill. When we returned, she turned back and put her paw up on the fence and let a slow, soft cry. I melted. I went back in and laid with her on the cement until she fell asleep. It was then that I decided I needed her to be my friend for the rest of her life.
I decided too late. Another student had adopted her. A girl in the vet program took her home that Friday. I was sorely upset but happy she found a home. Monday morning I was in class, and I got a text from the boyfriend saying she had been returned. She was too afraid of the other girl’s dog, and so, I got to take Alena home with me. I was thrilled. I skipped my classes for the rest of the day out of fear of someone else getting her.
I never did ask my father, I just showed up with her at his store. He wasn’t thrilled with my decision to take a dog into his home but that lasted for one day. Alena was sweet and charming and naughty enough to be perfect. I never met one person who didn’t fall entirely in love with her. Not one. She was the store greeter at my father’s store for years. People from all over and ask for “the sweet dog that would greet us” when I moved away.
I said goodbye to my most loyal, amazing friend on Christmas morning. It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make, as she was suffering from a very aggressive cancer. She gave me 11 enriched, irreplaceable, unforgettable, hilarious, dedicated years. She will always be with me and with a lot of people. She had fans. She was my best friend. My comfort. My travel partner. We went everywhere together. She would have followed me through flames. She was everything you ever could have hoped for from a pet, and more. Part human. A piece of me went with her.
Alena, I hope I gave to you what you gave to me old friend. You are, beyond a doubt, the most spectacular animal I’ve ever encountered. Thank you, for choosing me. I will miss you every day.
Her favorite position was upside down. She would greet me every morning like this. Sharing Alena is the only way I know to grieve. And I’m grieving pretty hard still. She was my miracle – my fur child.”
Thank you for sharing Alena’s story with us, Erica. She will be missed.
Amy Tokic, Editor of Our Site , is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).