Letters from Ernie, the follow-up...

In 2009 "Shadow," a Border Collie born here at the farm, came back to us from his first home where he had lived for a year. I will never forget that call I got that day. "Hello, I have a problem. I got two Border Collie from you, and it's not working out. They run all the time, and they chase my neighbor's cattle, and the neighbor told me he was going to shoot the dogs if I don't keep them off his farm." That very day, "Shadow" and his brother came home, back to the farm.  A few weeks later, I got a call from a family who wanted a Border Collie and was interested in "Shadow" and he found his forever home...  His new name was Ernest Dextor Archer or Ernie to his friends. Ernie wrote every Christmas telling how he was doing, and I always enjoyed the letters especially from a dog's point of view.

Several weeks ago, I got an unexpected letter from Ernie, telling me he was sick.  This week, I got another letter, this time it was from Addie, his sister.

Daddy Kenny and Mommy Elaine (Ernie told me I could write to you, I hope it is ok!)

Bubby Ernie, my dog brother, asked me to write you yesterday to tell you he was "going home," even though I thought he was already home!
He has been having a bad day about every week or so, then he would be great, and we would even run a little in the yard. Mommy thought he was going to heaven about 3 weeks ago, and even called in sick to be with him, and she slept on the floor by him. He surprised us all that next day and got up easily, and seemed to be ok! Mom felt bad for calling in, but just enjoyed the day with him.
Ernie and Addie, best friends

Saturday, I was outside, barking at Max, our doggie neighbor, and Daddy said Ernie just bolted outside, and ran to where Max and I were at the fence. For some reason, yesterday morning, Ernie only would eat or drink if Daddy held the bowl up. I later heard Daddy tell Mommy, when she got home from work, that he wondered if the cancer was putting pressure on his neck, and bending down to eat/drink made it worse. (If you ask me, Ernie was just milking it, trying to get extra attention!)

Mommy noticed that Ernie didn't greet her at the door after work, but he seemed happy and wagging his tail at her. Later, she saw him struggle to get up, which is how it is at times for him, but this was worse, and he fell right back down! Mommy was so sad! She used a towel around his lower back to try to get him out to potty, but he just couldn't stand by himself.
I heard Mommy tell Daddy, when she saw him in the exact same place yesterday morning in his bed, she knew it was time. You are right! Time to feed us, hello!

Mommy called in to work, and she was sobbing like I have never heard her do. Daddy is sooo sad! (He always called him Ernie Boy.)

Mommy made a few calls, but I couldn't hear what she was saying, but she was still crying on and off. She FINALLY fed us, but literally, hand fed Ernie. When I saw that, I stopped eating, and then she started hand feeding me as well! Hey, this is kind of nice!

Around 10:00, she came back with some ice cream. I knew, as soon as I saw that, one of us is going to heaven! (It was a vanilla Frosty, cause she told Daddy she didn't have enough time to go all the way to DQ!)

"The" Ice Cream...
Ernie lapped it up, even though he left his head laying on the bed. I ate mine in record flat time, and Mommy gave me a little of hers! It's always bittersweet when we get ice cream, because not always, but sometimes, Mommy comes home without one of us! I hope it's not me!
Ernie and Addie saying goodbye

Mommy told me to "tell bubby goodbye," and I went over to him in his bed, and kissed him! Mommy got a great picture that she said she will always treasure!

Daddy put me up in the bedroom, and I was like, "whew," it's not me. 

Mommy and Daddy came back about an hour or so later, she was sobbing, Daddy crying, and I just looked and looked, but no Bubby!

Mommy told me we will see Ernie again, and that made me happy! I can't wait until Ernie, and I can go running with Mommy again!

I did hear Daddy tell Mommy last night..." when you first brought him home, I wasn't sure, he was a lot bigger then our other dogs, but he ended up being the best dog ever!"

I will not take that personal, because, hey, I know I have some issues, and I agree Ernie was the bestest bubby ever!

Addie Lynn Archer

PS: I heard Mommy and Daddy talking about sprinkling something "at the farm," not sure what that means, but I do love me some sprinkles on my ice cream!

I will miss the letters from Ernie and especially his point of view of the world.  He has a rough start but found a loving home and a wonderful life.  When I got the notice he had passed, I was speechless and broke down.  How can you love a dog so much?  Some people will never see or understand that but some of us do and I feel sorry for the ones who don't.

The x-ray that found the buckshot where Ernie was shot.

Run free Ernie, you were greatly loved by many.  Some of Ernie's Ashes will be sprinkled at the farm and he will be with his father, Clancy.  Until we meet again...   Ken

Read Ernie's letters he sent to me.