I remember the first time I saw you. You were at the top of the street and began to run beside the truck as I made a horse click with my tongue and drove the 1/4 mile down to Solara.

You wanted to be petted but were scared. Seems in your first few months a man was not nice to you.  That stayed; weren’t scared so much, but building trust with men came slowly.

There you were, but a pup, infected hot spot covering 70% of your back, three kinds of worms and two kinds of mites-so malnourished the vet thought you were greyhound, Oh yes, you were in heat. Jeff got you patched up and we began to learn who Elle Velvet was.

There was a sense of territory was about you. It might be the UPS man or the Cornerstone Baptist folk going to Sunday school, or someone raking their lawn at the Cardinal, you just needed to bark at people in your space. Seems you did not recognize the end of Solara and the beginning of the world.

All you wanted was to be around people and RUN. Sprints, distance whatever. Hell, Forest Gump had nothing on you! Running for you made catching squirrels straight forward. With your good mind, you developed a technique. Lay patiently, let the squirl get comfortable AND far enough from the tree.  At just the right moment, sprint to the tree and cut off the escape, then, well, you know.

Fierce was there as well. The scars on your snout and above your eyes were the tell. If there was a raccoon on the property there was going to be a dust up. A big one! Raccoon on hind legs hissing and screaming. Big dog barking, growling, and circling looking for the opening. The ones that got you girl were the smaller quicker ones. Then off to the vet for stitches and a rabies booster. I saw one fight, Jean another; which hardly accounted for the 4 or 6 that you brought up to the house each year.

You loved the beach, lake, or a run in the Starmount Parks. Just wanted to be with your people. Thank you for going to the lake Tuesday night. Washing your hair one more time left you so pretty. It is a good picture as well girl.

Today and yesterday were hard for. You were, in character, strong. I am full of gratitude that you did not suffer long.

It was my honor to be there to help you in the end Elle; I know had the roles been reversed, you would do the same for me.

— Mose from Greensboro, NC