My Sweet Ebbie Girl

I give piano lessons.  One summer morning during the course of giving a lesson, I looked out the screen door and there stood a beautiful black dog.  I completed the lesson and after my student left, I went out to check on it.  She was completely black…not one white hair on her!  I checked!  She even had a black tongue!  When I spoke to her, she rolled over and let me scratch her belly.  I needed to go somewhere, so I hopped in the car and started down the hill.  At the bottom of a hill was a rather busy street.  I looked in the rear view mirror and I realized the black dog was chasing my car down the hill!  I couldn’t (wouldn’t) let her follow me out on that street, so I stopped and she jumped right into the car with me!  She accompanied me on my errands and couldn’t have been more well behaved.

When I returned home, I took her into the house and held my breath to see how she would interact with Oreo and Chips.  All went well.  She had a collar, but no tags.  She was healthy and appeared to be slightly younger than Chips.  I checked with Animal Control, vets, radio station,etc.–no one had reported her missing.  After a few days, I decided that if she were going to stay with us, I’d have to take her to the vet to get shots and get her checked out.  It turned out she had been spayed.  Someone had obviously cared about her at some point.  But, they weren’t looking for her now.  Thus, Ebbie (short for Ebony) joined our little family.

I soon learned that she was a fence jumper–which was probably why no one was trying to find her.  Amazingly enough, every time she jumped the fence, she would return in a couple of hours.  I’m still not really sure if I adopted her or she adopted me, but it was evident that she had decided that this was home.  I consider myself a responsible pet owner.  Because of that, no dog of mine was going to be out running around the neighborhood.  I could not stand the fact that she was jumping the fence and I worried about her the whole time she was gone.  Something had to be done!  As much as I hated to do it, I had an electric wire installed around the top of the fence.  She jumped the fence one more time, but only once.  When she hit that electric wire, it made an impression.  She was a fast learner, because she never jumped the fence again.  Now, if she saw a door that led to the outside, she was not above taking advantage of that.  But, she always came back.

People assume she is a chow mix because of her tongue.  The research that I have done says that any dog with black in their coat can have a black tongue.  It doesn’t mean that she is or isn’t part chow.  I have always thought that she might be part Akita (because of the shape of her head) and Lab (because of her temperament).  It doesn’t really matter, though.  What does matter is that she is an amazingly well behaved dog.  She doesn’t bark unless it is something really important.  And she has a very gentle mouth.  I didn’t know how she would react when we moved to Albuquerque.  We had lived in a more rural area up until then.  I didn’t know how she would react to the new sights and sounds of the city.  In typical Ebbie style, she has adapted remarkably well.  The only thing she has not quite been able to figure out are the hot air balloons!  Those big “birds” just don’t make any sense to her!  🙂

When I was first getting to know her, I have to admit that her teeth really did look awfully sharp and white when surrounded by all that black.  One evening, I was giving her a treat and her lip curled up into what I first interpreted as a snarl.  That didn’t make any sense,though…so I tried to figure out what it meant.  She was smiling!!!  It was the first time I had ever seen a dog smile like that, but she really was smiling!  It only happened when something pleasant was happening.

That was just one of her more unique traits.  Another one is that she trims her own nails.  She won’t let me get near her feet, but her nails are always well manicured.  She lays around and bites them until she gets them just right.  It’s weird, but if she’s happy…..  (as far as I know, she doesn’t smile while doing it though!)

I looked at her this morning and realized that she really is beginning to show that she is getting to be an older woman.  Her eyebrows are turning white and she has a white beard.  She has gotten white on the feathering of her back legs and you can see some white on her belly.  Years have a way of doing that.  The time has gone by so quickly.

She is a dear and I am so glad she showed up at my door that day…..

We derive immeasurable good, uncounted pleasures, enormous security, and many critical lessons about life by owning dogs.

Roger Caras, A Celebration of Dogs




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