Happy Tail: Ellie discovers a brand new world

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Ellie barked! Some people wish their dogs wouldn’t bark, but not so for Candice Poindexter. That ARF! a few weeks ago was another milestone for this mini-Australian Shepherd who is just now finding her true self.

Ellie belonged to a reputable breeder who went out of business, so after nearly two years of living in an enclosure, she suddenly was in an entirely new world provided by Richardson Rescue in York, SC. And then, her world changed even more dramatically when Candice and her husband, Ricky, adopted her.

Ellie is wary of the camera.

Ellie remains wary of the camera.

They live on 20 acres and have a large fenced yard with big trees. “It was funny to see Ellie experience the freedom of space and grass for what I assumed may have been the first time,” Candice says. “It was like watching a child experiencing those developmental milestones in life.”

The first week of her new life, though, was spent under a table. She had to be manually taken outside to potty and wouldn’t eat or drink until the Poindexters went to bed. “It took about a week before we could ‘herd’ her down the stairs and out the door into the yard without carrying her,” Candice says.”She still prefers lying behind our recliners in a corner rather than lying out in the open.”

New things still frighten her. For example, she doesn’t like to have her picture taken; a camera pointed her way is too strange.

Toys and chew bones fall in the same category. “We’re having to teach her about them,” Candice says. Once she realizes they’re okay, she experiments with play by tossing them into the air and pouncing on them.

The Poindexters have adopted another dog, Willa, who has become something of an emotional assistance dog for Ellie. The two have become best buddies. “Ellie likes to trick Willa and steal her chew bones from her,” Candice says. “It’s almost like a game of tag with the two of them as they try to outwit each other.

“She doesn’t like it when we change clothes or move something around or have something new in the house. I think she may be a little OCD, but around here that could stand for ‘Obviously Cute Dog.’”

For her first two years, Ellie lacked socialization, so Candice figures it might take at least two more years to bring her to a “normal” dog state. Or maybe she’ll never progress that far, but it doesn’t matter to Candice.

“I just know that she needed us,” Candice says, “and we’ll be here for as long as it takes.”

Ellie is in good hands.