Eulogy for Elliott

My first physician’s assistant

 Elliott was, to put it simply, the world’s most wonderful dog.

 He was evaluated, as a puppy, by Canine Companions for Independence who wanted to use him as a breeder.  Somehow, he got neutered, by mistake, and they were devastated, “This is the best dog we have ever seen!”   He, also, could have been a magnificent show dog—except that he had a 1 cm scar on his nose.

 Their loss was my gain.  He was given to me, as the most wonderful gift I have ever received, when he was six years old.

 Thus, he began a new career as a physician’s assistant in a pediatric office.  He was there to warmly welcome and reassure patients and their parents, to distract and comfort a frightened child, to cuddle up with while having a breathing treatment or waiting for lab results, and to make us all laugh and smile.  There were occasional photographic emergencies, when the doctor ran from the exam room to get her camera and take a picture of a patient with Elliott!  At the next visit, the patient was given the photo to treasure forever.

 Elliott was so gentle, I could trust him with a two week old baby and, somehow, their mothers knew it, too.  Once, he was standing in my waiting room with his mouth open, and a little boy, who had just learned to walk, waddled up to him and stuck his hand and a biscuit into Elliott’s mouth.  Much to our stunned amazement, Elliott just stood there, perfectly still!  This little boy’s mother used to be afraid of dogs and let out a yelp the first time she saw him.  She quickly fell in love with him and gave him a hug whenever she came.  Many people overcame their fear of dogs with Elliott.  Fear turned into love.

 There were patients who would come to my office because he was there.  And there were patients who would pretend to be sick, so that they could come and see Elliott!   The many drawings of him on my waiting room walls are a testimony to how important he was and how much he was loved.

 Elliott was beautiful and he knew it.  He heard that word so often that he responded to it as he would his name.  Once I entered an exam room and exclaimed to a four year old, “You are so beautiful!” and Elliott came bounding into the room, much to everyone’s delight!

 I never had to worry about Elliott being lonely.  If I tied him up outside a shop, there was always a throng of people petting him and telling him how beautiful he was.  When we walked, he would not let me walk past anyone who could pet him—and, almost always, people wanted to.

 He was the most wonderful dog anyone could have.  He never hurt any of the treasures in my house, he never dug in the garden, he always pooped where I wanted him to, he was good in the car, and he never barked.  He was always, loyally, at my side.  He was the most patient, loving, and gentle being I have ever known.

 Elliott died, peacefully, in my arms on September 10, 2007, after almost thirteen years of living and loving life fully.  He will be sorely missed—and loved forever.