[frame src=”http://www.thatmutt.com/web/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Elsie-the-golden-retriever.jpg” target=”_self” width=”615″ height=”367″ alt=”Elsie the golden retriever” align=”center” prettyphoto=”false”]
My parents’ 12-year-old golden retriever Elsie was diagnosed with cancer last month. They are taking things day by day.

We got Elsie together as a family when she was 2 or 3 months old.

I had just completed my sophomore year at Concordia; my brothers were still in high school and middle school.

We thought the plan was “just to look” at puppies. Of course, we drove home with one the same day and became a two-dog family. We still had our other golden, Brittni.

Elsie was a chubby little thing. The backs of her legs were dark brown, and we joked that she looked “sunburned.”

Elsie the golden retriever puppyElsie – 2003

Elsie and me! 2003 Elsie and I – 2003

A lot happens in 12 years, in the lifetime of a dog – if the dog is lucky enough to live that long. I’m thankful we’ve had 12 years with Elsie.

I’m glad I got to see her in June, before we knew she was sick. She slept next to me the two nights I visited and followed me everywhere as she always does. Want a bathroom escort? You have one with Elsie.

Elsie and me!Elsie and I – June 2015

I’m thankful my parents have had a few good weeks with Elsie since her diagnosis. Hopefully they will have a couple more weeks.

Of course, we’ll always know Elsie was loved every single day of her life.

Elsie, my brothers and I & my cat Scout – Thanksgiving 2005

And what do I write about such a special dog?

Here are two links to celebrate the life of Elsie.

The first is written by my mom after hearing Elsie’s diagnosis. The second was written by me a couple years ago:

When a dear old dog has cancer

For Elsie, a great dog

Some of my favorite memories with Elsie:

Taking her for walks near Lutsen, along Lake Superior. This was before I went out and adopted a dog of my own.

golden-retrieverLake Superior – 2004

Running with her on the Luce Line and around Lake Katrina, and our walks on the Red Cedar Trail.

How she’d grab at our sleds in winter, and nip as we sped down the hill!

Watching her dog paddle in the lake.

Elsie swimming

And seeing her freak out with happiness every single time I walk through the door of my parents’ house or get out of the car.

And how she wasn’t one bit concerned about my seriously creepy neighbors in Jamestown.

Because Elsie loves everybody.

That is who she is.

Ace and ElsieWith my dog Ace – 2009 or so

If I could help Elsie understand one thing, it would be:

Thank you for loving me, Girl. I love you too.

But I think she knows.

Elsie and meElsie and me – October 2014

Please share your stories of special pets, past or present.

Aren’t we all so lucky to have these pets in our lives?