The Ella Update

Ella Guinevere Konik, the lab-greyhound mutt who inspired the best-selling book “Ella in Europe” and the subsequent Animal Planet TV show “Ella & Me” is getting old. Not just “older,” but old. Depending on which set of medical records you believe, she’s either 14 or 15. Iin human years that’s around 100. She’s dealing with many of the normal maladies associated with geriatrics: Ella is losing her sight and hearing, and she’s got an acute case of arthritis. Despite the food supplements and drugs she’s given (hidden in peantut butter, as “cookie” treats), she needs help negotiating stairs and, in her worst moments, rising from her bed. 

She’s on a steep decline.

Although Ella is cancer free and still eats like a wolf that’s just taken down a caribou, she’s losing muscle tone and sometimes her balance. Her radiant spirit, the joyful canine energy that has touched thousands (tens of thousands?) of lives, including mine, shines on. But her body is wearing out rapidly.

I’ve been preparing myself for some time to say farewell when the time comes, though there’s never enough advance notice, enough philosophical equivocations, to make the last goodbye tolerable. Losing a great friend isn’t something to which one becomes accustomed.

We get plenty of mail here wondering about Ella. Many of her fans, especially the ones who discovered her in paperback, years after Ella made her grand tour of the continent, understand that the book’s heroine can’t live forever, no matter how much her human friends wish it were so.

Normally, there’s a comfortable buffer between readers and authors. But Ella has knocked aside the usual walls, as she’s done so many times throughout her charmed life. So, in honor of a really great dog who has made a lot of people happy, we’re extending an invitation to everyone who wants to meet, revisit, or say goodbye to our dear Ella. If you’re in the Los Angeles area and feel the impulse to connect with the smiling white hound, you are most welcome.

Please write to us care of this Website, and we’ll gladly make arrangements.

If you prefer for someone here to simply pass along kisses and caresses, we’re delighted to do that, too.

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1 Response

  1. Ellen says:

    I read Ella in Europe several years ago. I recently unpacked a box and found the book and recalled the special trip and the book. I re-read the last few pages where Michael Konik is bittersweet about knowing there will be a time most dreaded in having to say good bye. For those lucky enough to have a dog, and to understand the depth of a friendship — where time is never enough. Thanks for capturing the memories of your friend, Ella.