Sunday, 17 April 2016

SINGING MY SONG TO ELLA

Ella Donovan - aged just over 2 years old

Ella Fitzgerald - a demiurge of a singer. A voice that seems visceral the way the tone and colours embrace you and me, her audience.

Ella! - anglicised version of the call heard on Greek beaches as families play. 'Come! Come here!'

Ella Donovan - our Bearded Collie's official pet name. Born December 9, 2013, Now into her canine teens. Part puppy, part adult.

I am new to blogging, a bit of a novice, but my instinct is that parents don't blog in praise of their  children. Friends don't blog in praise of their best mates. Interesting, if I am right. The children cringing with embarrassment. Best mates likewise. Good reasons for holding back on the songs of praise. But our dog is different. Our Ella is a cut above the mere human.  Our Ella is a canine.

Ella, of course, is a monster. At times. But she is our monster. Always has been. Even when she was a tiny puppy refusing to recognise the idea of  doggy-toilet-training. Conscientiously taken

for walks twice a day, strutting her stuff, the prettiest dog on the block - but never a hint of a motion or a trickle for six months at least. Until she returned home. And then the earthquake and the flood. Indoors. Not even in the garden.

Worry not. I have redecorated. And we have a new kitchen too, with the oven raised from floor level. Let me explain, taking the scenic  route. Ella, you see, came to us from the serenity of mid-Wales, the off-spring of two secure family pets in a farming household. And we spirited her away to the noise and bustle of urban St Ives. So when she, walking along the pavement, leapt up on her lead in the direction of passing cars, I thought 'How cute!' She's rounding them up like her genetic forefathers, droving the cattle herds to market. Doh! No! Ella was now an anxious dog, waiting to be desensitised to the disturbance of the motorised monsters that threatened her. Thank you, Carolyn Boyd at West Cornwall Dog Training for imparting your wisdom in this and a number of other areas relating to understanding and respecting canine ways of thought. And the oven - at floor level? Well, from a very early age indeed, our Ella with her still secret anxieties developed a fixation that opening the oven door was a threat to her. Maybe the pop of gas that followed the ignition was the cause. Who knows? But we could only solve the problem for the best part of a couple of years by buying a  cheap working-surface oven. The fare that Louise was able to provide - in the past a tribute to her skills as a master chef - became less varied. But who cared? Our monster had been appeased.

Dog hairs grow. Dogs need grooming. Ella became resistant to groomers and grooming. So far but no further. Her message was clear. But Pip and Charlotte won the day! The monster met her match. Thank you, Just Pet Care at St Just and Pip Toms and Charlotte for having the skills, love and patience to win Ella over. Our canine now bounds into the grooming room and is as good as gold.

Ella, you see, may have a few underlying neuroses but she has always been an extraordinary canine. Her default position is that of love. She loves other dogs. She loves humans.

Ella - her second day in her new St Ives home


Other dogs may ignore her. And that puzzles her. So she will dance on the lead to get attention. But meet another dog when she is off the lead and she has an unerring sense of how to play, how to accommodate herself to the other dog's temperament. She plays perfectly.

Her human fan base is large and growing and she has collected it effortlessly. Ella knows instinctively how to win the hearts of mere humans. Some have long memories and recall the earlier manic monster. 'Hasn't she calmed down! Isn't she so much better?' Not, I  think, better - just freed from her anxieties.

Ella has been in her holiday home for the past week because we have had brilliant electric work done by Peter Davis in the kitchen and other areas in the house. Ella is still too young to cope with that kind of disturbance. But she has had the joys of canine companionship and the excellent care of Denis and Ruth and Rachel at Joppa Farm and Cattery near Lands End. Tomorrow morning we will be reunited.  I'll tell her about this blog in the car on the way back. Default grin and tail-wag awaited.