healthy halloween candy recipes & watercolor pet portrait: elly

We are heading to Phoenix for the weekend; heading off on the road this morning. I am not big on long hours in the car, but I really don't mind the drive to Phoenix. Plus, it provides a welcomed time for John and I to REALLY catch up, since things can be so busy.

For this Halloween weekend, I want to leave you with some *healthy* candy recipes from Elana's Pantry and a watercolor pet portrait I finished up this week.

{photo from Elana's Pantry}
Healthy candy recipes from Elana's Pantry:
Mounds Candy Bars
Peppermint Patties
Almond Joy Bars
Nut Butter Cups
Orange Coconut Clusters
Fudge Babies (fruit sweetened, no added sugars, agave or honey)

Like any pup whose fur is black, the color of Elly made her more of a challenge to paint. In addition, her peppery face was also a challenge. It takes a lot of paint and a lot of patience (for the layering of color).

Elly's portrait was commissioned by Carol, who is going to give it as a gift to her sister-in-law, Jill. Elly was Jill's first pup and it was very difficult when Elly passed on last year.

Sometimes, I ask for information about the pup in the portrait to write a blog post with, however, in this case, Jill provided Carol with such a raw and heartfelt description of her relationship with Elly that I do not want to edit it.

Elly saved me, gave me purpose, direction and meaning at her tender young age of 5 1/2 weeks old....having had a really bad day at work stopped by to get a hug from her and you sent her home with me....the Wednesday before Thanksgiving 1996 (I think)....what a wonderful Thanksgiving....I'm so thankful for her and the many chapters in my life she helped to write or to carry me through....that "special kind of Love"....Dad would go check on her for me play with her, feed her, and clean up after her until she was old enough to stay outside in her yard....the thousands of dollars I have spent on her could never begin to pay for her....however, I did pay $50.00 for her just so Tim could never hold it over my head that he gave her to me....he might have wanted her back after he saw what an awesome dog is was!  Little did I know how deeply and passionately I would fall in love with this little fuzzy black ball of fur;I named Eleanor Grace but called Elly, Elly-Nellie, Elly-Smelly, and My Elly-girl!

The first time I had to leave her at the vet overnight, I was so scared...she had Rocky Mountain Tick was October we were watching a football game together and she began to shake, pant and cry....I called the vet he told me to give her 2 aspirin I did she didn't really get better....the next morning I went to Sunday School and left after it to go back and check on her....she was really sick on my bed - limp..I called a friend who's dad was a vet and he met me at his office in Tulsa So I scooped her up carried her to the care and off to Tulsa....He gave her a shot of antibiotic and told me to get her to my regular vet in the morning.  I did, had to leave her there....I cried....went home got her blanket and stuffed toy...went back and held her....I went everyday morning and night until she was released...2-3 days....

Elly got me through Dad's illness and my Master's Program (at the same time)....I would sit at the bar doing homework and she would nudge me until I would get up and go outside and play soccer with her....can't even begin to count how many games of soccer we played together...most of the time she would win and sometimes she would let me win...nevertheless, we would go back in she would lay down and I'd finish my homework...then off to bed....And then there was the night she held me tight and I held her tight and I told her that Papa was going to die....we just cried together....she licked my tears....I just cried more.

Yes I carried her outside for the first 6 months of her life - every morning because I didn't want her to have an accident before she got outside until you told me she was old enough to hold it until she got outside…

And then the day she came running/hopping/limping down the hill crying like I have never heard before or since....I just knew something was bad wrong...she couldn't to the vet we went....I picked her up all 60+ pounds and put her in the car.....she had torn her cried....I had to leave her was a long night, surgery the next morning...she did great...and the next 3-4 months we slept together on a mattress in the living room......(Maggie, too) What fun we had....she loved me being on the floor with her.

She helped me raise nieces and nephews......she was so good at licking them in the face to wake them up when they had spent the night.....

She was a calendar girl....Aug 15th....can't remember the her Longerberger basket....thanks Carol

Once a man stopped in front of my house and ask if he could buy her...said she'd make a great duck retrieving dog - just the right size....I told him he didn't have enough money to buy her....he left

Loyalty....Elly was so loyal...she always wanted to be by my side; her mere presence was so calming...she was my girl and I was her mom!  We went to puppy kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade...she passed with flying colors!  She was so smart, she could get whatever toy I asked for...she would help with the laundry...if I dropped something she would pick it up and follow me to the washer.  She would help with housework....if I had left a sock or some piece of clothes she would pick them up and bring them to me because she knew she would get a treat.....she would bring me the phone or TV remote.....she was my alarm system....she had fierce bark and I would just let her bark....they didn't know she was a lover, not a fighter!

So then there’s the chapter of mom's illness and death....she would just sit closely and nudge me (that presence) saying I'm here and I will carry you through.  When I would have mom at my house, Elly would either lay on the bed with Mom or in front of her on the floor while Mom was on the sofa.  It was like she knew Mom was weak and sick and needed extra attention/protection.

Elly's final days were most precious....I did everything I could possibly do for her (I loved her with all my heart)....and then one day she refused to take her medicine....she never really liked it to begin with but I could hide it in some cheese, hot dog, pill pocket, chicken nugget something and she would take it....even though it made her sick....but then there was that defining day...she said no more....I begged her to keep taking the medicine, but she wouldn't.....I didn't want her to die....I knew then it wouldn't be long...she couldn't hardly get up or walk...So I began to plan "the day".  I had bought a blanket just for her...pure white - just like her....pure.  I called Dr. Hartwig to make sure she could come to the house, I made arrangements at work to be off the rest of the week, I found just the right music to play - Alan Jackson Hymns. The day came.....we spent so much time together...she knew just how much I loved her....I was letting her go to heaven the ultimate gift and yet the hardest gift.....she promised me she would find Mom and Dad...and I'm sure they met her on Jordan's banks. The pain the emptiness in my home and heart was almost unbearable the next 2 days were a heart was heavy even though I had Maggie and Gracie - yes Gracie my “saving grace” for she would get me through many more life chapters...but that's another story for another day...I worked outside for the next 2 days sweating and crying at the same time....pulling out scrubs, using the rototeller, and planting hydrangeas, - as this garden would be my tribute to my favorite girl....when I finally got her back home in her soft velvet bag....I was ok - well not really but a peace that passes all understanding came over me.  She (her remains) were home with me where she belonged.....there will never be another Elly-girl….but she does she live on in my heart forever …..There’s not a day goes by that I don’t think of her and our love for each other….

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