It has been two weeks since Mom and Dad’s Poodle Ernie Nelson passed away.
This was the beginning and end of Ernie’s Purpose in Life.
If he had been Mom’s friend and no more, he would have lived better than almost any creature on earth.
Ernie was Dad’s friend too.
Everyone who knew Ernie loved him.
Ernie was entertaining.
One year, Ernie and his friend, our lab mix Ebony dressed up as fancy Poodles for Halloween.
Ernie was a preschool student. He had his own rug that was rolled out for him when it was time to do his work – usually chewing a chewy, while the children worked at their rugs and tables around him.
Ernie was a preschool teacher. For half of Mom’s career in Montessori education, Ernie taught alongside her, and even the now grown three, four and five year olds who shared a classroom with Ernie remember learning from him and with him. Children loved him. Their siblings loved him. Parents and teachers loved him.
Ernie believed in his family and never gave up on them. When my daughter Amanda (now 13) was an infant, Ernie started bringing her his ladybug toy in her bouncy seat. He continued bringing Amanda his ladybug toy until she was a toddler, old enough to be able to throw it for him.
Ernie was a singer. When Mom played the piano or we sang “Happy Birthday” Ernie would join in.
Ernie was the favorite Nelson kid. My brothers and I were okay with it. We loved him too.
Ernie was inspiring.
Ernie was a picture book star.
Ernie was a Christmas ornament.
Ernie was my muse.
Ernie Dog is Happy on Riley and James – the story of when Ernie ran out of treats and a kind person at Hill’s Pet Nutrition came through for him
Ernie Dog on Omaha.net – the story of Ernie’s neurological crisis four years ago
Ernie made everyone feel good.
Just a few days ago I received an email from Dr. McGill, veterinary pathologist. He asked to put an email I had sent him about his kindness in assisting with a case in which Ernie had a benign mass on the ARUP website. I said yes, of course. Dr. McGill said every time he reads that email, he is proud of the work they do.
Ernie made me a better veterinarian.
He needed his first dental cleaning under anesthesia at two years of age.
He developed an awful bacterial ear infection at ten years of age. It took the summer, but Ernie healed.
He had a difficult dental extraction just this year. Dr. Kanne helped me plan the extraction and even enlisted the help of a veterinary dental specialist.
Ernie needed me on his very last day, and I have never had a more difficult end of life visit ever. Later, in some years, I will be proud. Right now, I am only overwhelmingly sad.
Ernie was super cute.
Ernie was sassy.
Ernie wore a black spiked collar.
Ernie loved ladybugs as much as Mom does.
Ernie was at every party and gathering Mom and Dad had, including the joint party to celebrate Dad’s 70th birthday and Mom’s retirement a few weeks ago.
Ernie was a heartbreaker.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I would rather have a broken heart now than never have known you at all.
We all would buddy.
You were the biggest dog I’ve ever known.
Ernie Nelson, I am so lucky to have known you and to have called you my friend.