Maggie Lee begged for months for a chihuahua. Finally her father broke down, “Since we already have two dogs, I’m considering this a cat.”
Little could we know the therapy dog straight from Heaven our Ellie would prove to be. When the church bus accident which would eventually claim ML’s life occurred in 2009, Ellie accompanied Jack in the car ride with church members. Having no grasp of the severity of ML’s injuries, we decided that she should come to help Maggie Lee recover. Little did we know that she would serve as a key to our recovery.
We snuck Ellie into the Batson Children’s ICU when the end was near. My Mom was nervous that we would be discovered. I figured that there was no fear of them throwing us all out at that point. Jack stowed Ellie away in a gym bag as Mom and I blocked the nurses’s view into her room. In one stealth motion, Jack unzipped the bag and placed Ellie near her mommy’s artificially ventilated chest. We wanted her to at least know that ML had not abandoned her. Whether the coin dropped in her doggy mind or not one cannot say but like so many plot twists in life we gave it our best.
To call Ellie the most important therapy dog a family could ever have is an understatement. I used to joke about my future grandchildren and she would indignantly state, “You already have a grandchild.” That is how much she adored her dog. A most un-chihuahua-like chihuahua, she was not a yippy little dog, rather a settled and beautiful soul. She was God’s comfort with fur on; comfort I could carry in a purse yet that 5 pound little person carried me.
Present at all the big charity events for the non-profit for which she was the mascot (Maggie Lee for Good) she opened Maggie Lee’s Closet, watched the Maggie Lee for Good Little League invitational and was featured prominently in all 15 MLFG T-shirts. One of ML’s favorite sayings was “Stop Dog Nudity” and one of my favorite photos is a Texas A & M Vet School Class with a huge banner stating just that. Maggie Lee for Good is a day in which people perform a good deed in our daughter’s memory. Because of the iconic photo of ML and Ellie on the MLFG Book, literally hundreds of kindnesses have been bestowed upon pet shelters, pet-fostering organizations and rescues.
Our hilarious daughter named her long-awaited puppy for Reese Witherspoon’s character in the movie Legally Blonde then proceeded to clothe her every day. I already began shopping for Ellie’s Quincenera dress. And as dearly as I wanted Ellie to have her Quincenera this September 30th, I cannot argue with God’s timing. I would rather hold on loosely in gratitude than strangle that which I feel I am owed.
I am incredibly thankful that John gave in to Maggie Lee’s fervent desire for a Chihuahua. You don’t often think of that breed as a purveyor of peace or curator of comfort but she was nothing less than the ultimate friend. She softened the brutal blow and for that we are eternally in her debt. Rest in peace & Joy, Ellie. We love and miss you.