Everything You Need to Know About My Dog

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”

-Roger Caras
As most of you know, I am currently in the very difficult position of having to re-home one of my bulldogs.  This has lead to numerous inquiries and requests for additional information.  Being someone who loves this dog as a part of my family, it is very difficult to convey everything this person should know about her in a short message or email.  Therefore, I am taking this opportunity to compile an open ended letter of Everything You Need to Know About My Dog. 
To Whom it May Concern,
I understand that you are interested in adopting my dog, and you would like to know some further information about her.  Let me start by telling you that to me, Eleanor is not simply a dog.  She is a part of my family.  She came to my husband and I when she was only 3 months old, and we have loved her as if she was our child.  If this sounds strange to you, then you are probably not the right person to adopt her.  This is not a pet we are giving away because we are bored with her and no longer love her.  Rather, this painful decision has been made because we love her, and it is the best thing for her.  So if you think you can love our girl as much as we do, then here are some things you should know about her.
Name: Eleanor Rigby- like the Beatles song because she looks like one of the “lonely people”
Also answers to: Ellie, Ellie Belle, Ellie Jelly, Jelly Belle
Ellie’s Favorites: 
Place to sit: anywhere in a sunbeam, preferably on your furniture with a view out the window.  Ellie is an insecure dog so she likes Imageto be up high and off the floor.
Food: Ellie currently eats Beneful Brand dog food of the chicken or vegetable variety. (One of her sisters has allergies to food flavorings)
Snacks: Ellie is not picky when it comes to snacks, but is especially fond of peanut butter and carrots.   
Current Vet: Dr. Mark Reynolds in Oxford CT
Ellie loves going to the vet (and anything else that involves a car ride).  She does like to carry on in the waiting room (as if someone were murdering her), but it is not because she doesn’t like it there.  Rather, she insists everyone should pay attention to her from the moment she walks in.  She also will pee the exam room floor.  It doesn’t matter how many times you make her go beforehand.  She is an excited pee-er.  Ellie’s health records are available.  She is up to date on her shots, spayed, and has had surgery for cherry eye in both eyes.
Training: Ellie has had training through Bark Busters of Southern CT.  Her trainers name is Richard and he is a wonderful person.  Ellie loves him and does her best to listen.  She still has some puppy ADHD so this is sometimes difficult for her. She knows basic commands including sit, stay, come, heel, leave it, and drop it.  She also knows how to walk on a leash, including stopping to cross streets.  She is crate trained, and we have her crate available to go with her.  If you are interested in adopting Ellie, you also have the option of continuing her training.  Our dog trainer has offered his assistance in the transition.

The Bulldog Breed:  Ellie is a purebred English bulldog.  I do not have her papers as I never intended to breed her.  She does have the personality of a bully.  She is stubborn, mischievious, and comical.  She loves people and would prefer to be with her people at all times.  If you are not familiar with the personality of a bully I would recommend reading up on the breed prior to adopting one as they have their own set of personality challenges and (like any pure breed) predispositions to certain medical issues. My husband and I have invested literally thousands of dollars into this dog.  Please be sure these challenges you are willing to take on.  If you still are not sure if the bulldog personality is right for you and do not have the option of spending time with one, I would recommend spending some time around a 3 year old for comparison.

Special needs:  The reason we are giving Ellie up is that she does not tolerate other dogs.  She especially does not get along with my other bulldog, and their “sibling rivalry” has continued despite training.  I cannot risk one of them getting seriously injured.  Keeping them separated indefinitely is not fair to either dog and does not eliminate the risk of another altercation.  It was after careful consideration and discussion with both our vet and the trainer that we decided re-homing Eleanor is the best situation for her.  

Ellie is not a dog who doesn’t get along with just one other dog.  She does not get along with other dogs in general.  I can’t stress Imagethis enough.  She may tolerate my lab, but she also terrorizes her.  She has reacted badly to every other dog she has met.  If I take her for a walk and there is a dog loose in the neighborhood, we turn around and walk home.  Ellie was beat on by one of her litter mates, and I believe this has made her insecure around all other dogs. She expresses this by showing aggression.  She needs to be an only pet.  We will not consider placing her in a home with other animals.  While she has never seen a cat, my suspicion is that her first instinct would be to chase (and potentially terrorize) it.  Also, having invested a lot of money in eye surgery, I would not want to put her in a position to get them scratched.

I will say that despite being a bulldog, she did not get the memo about low energy and is easily excited.  Ellie is only 17 months old and still has a lot of puppy energy.  She is much calmer if she gets a short walk once or twice daily or some out door play.  We will generally play with her until she completely looses interest and lies calmly on the ground. This makes a world of difference in her energy level and ability to listen (like a kindergartener getting the wiggles out).  Training exercises also do wonders at wearing her out.    A word of advice- if you are going to play fetch, have two balls.  Ellie is happy to retrieve the ball and bring it back, but is not as willing to relinquish it.  It is easier to have her chase a different ball than spend 5 minutes commanding her to drop it (only to have her scoop it back up when you reach for it).

As far as children, Ellie loves people and gets along very well with our nephew who is 6.  I would not trust her will children any smaller due to  1) her energy level and being easily excitable.  I would not want her to accidentally knock a small child over or snatch a toy from their hand. She is a strong dog and can run fast and jump high despite what her breed might incline you to believe  2) Ellie doesn’t understand the concept of toys that aren’t hers, especially if they are on the floor. 3) Ellie prefers to be the center of attention, so the older the better in terms of kids.

Other Tidbits:

If Ellie is quiet, she is probably up to something.  Think back to the 3 year old.

She likes to steal and eat tv remotes and cell phones if left in her reach.  Life proof cases may protect your phone, but they are not chew and scratch resistant.  Again, she is still in her puppy/teenage phase.  As an experienced bully parent, I promise it gets better.  While they all have the propensity toward mischief, eventually they do get old(er) and lazy.  Like any dog, bulldogs like to chew.  Nylabones are a lifesaver in this instance.

When purchasing toys: go for the indestructible variety.  They may cost more, but are worth the extra money.  A kong filled with peanut butter and thrown in the freezer can be your best friend if you need to crate her and go out for an errand.  Treat dispensing toys also work wonders.  Just make sure they are designed for strong chewers.

Leashes:  Ellie has an “indestructible” leash.  As you may have guessed, she ate through all her others.  Do not leave her to her own devices with a regular leash or you may find it in two pieces.  (In her defense, most of the leash eating occurred during training when she had to be on one all the time.  Thus far the indestructible leash has lived up to its name, though we did replace the handle once).

Lastly, if you have never owned a dog I hope you understand what a huge commitment and financial burden it can be.  Even a healthy dog can cost hundreds a year in vet bills and require a lot of time and energy.  My husband and I understood this when we took in Ellie.  We had the financial resources and did everything we could to make it work, and were still not successful in providing a safe and optimal home for her here.  My goal is still to provide that to her.  Ellie is a wonderful dog with a very sweet disposition.  She is the most loving animal I have ever owned.  She is a people pleaser and wants to be with her people all the time.  It absolutely breaks my hear to give her up.  That is why I want to know that she is going to a better situation than what she has here.  

Currently, Ellie is listed with Heaven Sent Bulldog Rescue.  If Ellie is not the right fit for you, but you are still interested in adopting a bulldog please consider a bully through them or another rescue organization.  Ellie Belle is by no means an angel; it would not be true to her breed.  However, like a true bully her love and personality make up for all her quirks.  Given the right home environment, she could be an amazing pet.



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