Of all the kids that have darkened our doorway, none were as sick or broken as Emmi. Not before, not after, and hopefully never again will I ever look into the eyes of a dog who had so completely given up. She wasn’t scared. She passed scared long before we ever met her. Emmi was to the point she knew everyone was going to hurt her, she knew she couldn’t stop it, so she just lowered her eyes and waited for the inevitable. It wasn’t as if she could run away, she could barely walk at the time.
The first day I met her, I believed Emmi would never make it to the Ranch. There were two reasons for this: First, I wasn’t sure she would live. But she did. Second, she was so delicate, so wounded, so far away, I thought our home, even as a foster home, would be too rough on her. My bad.
Within minutes of moving to the Ranch from her quarantine foster home Emmi’s eyes changed. She began looking up. The tail began to wag, though not as a normal dog wags, and she came to life. And she played, boy did she play! She had never played up to that point.
This is the part where you are thinking: “OK, here it comes. The Crazy Dog Lady is going to talk about how well she and The Crabby Man work with dogs.” Sorry, that isn’t the case. The humans of the house had absolutely nothing to do with Emmi’s changes – it was the other kids who did it. Being reunited with her brother, Slugger the Stupid, and a larger pack of welcoming K9’s buffered Emmi from direct human contact and allowed her set her own pace. If we the humans did anything to help Emmi emotionally, it was to leave her alone and let her come to us. I am not so sure the outcome would have been the same if we forced ourselves on her.
It was I think a couple of months before Emmi did her first people cuddle, and it was with The Crabby Man. Yup, I took a picture. It was a monumental event.
Before this, though she accepted us, she still had her doubts, and for that reason, we didn’t push her.
Emmi latched onto The Crabby Man long before she decided I was kind of nice to have around. Maude was the original Daddy’s Girl, but Emmi… Emmi could write a book on the subject. Despite not being as organized, punctual and neat like Maude and Franky, Emmi has a power over The Crabby Man the likes of which Maude never had. Please note: Emmi in no way nudges Maude off the Daddy’s Favorite Girl pedestal, but Emmi has innate powers over The Crabby Man. Maude had to figure out how to train him as she went.
Emmi is wild, yet loveable. She is adventurous and fun. She will accept any dog into the fold on their terms, but if they aren’t cuddlers, they better learn to do so in a hurry because Emmi loves dogs, and she likes to show it.
Emmi is Slugger’s biological sister. We say Emmi got all the smart genes, Slugger only got the pretty ones. Where Slugger couldn’t get his own head out of a paper bag, Emmi wouldn’t have gotten her head stuck in the bag to begin with. Standing side by side, it is hard to believe they came from the same litter, but if you look close, they both have the same butt hump and the same floppy pig ears. Slugger is delightful in a stupid way, Emmi is just delightful.
We did try to rehome Emmi, but in December 2011, x-rays revealed that Emmi’s past and her Valley Fever had left her bones riddled with problems and she will require a lifetime of treatment. If people were reluctant to adopt her over her Valley Fever medications. costing $40 a month, chances were no one would manage her health issues overall. Therefore, on Christmas Day, 2011, on a Family Desert Walk, Emmi got the promise that we were her forever family. So far, Emmi hasn’t raised any objections.
In closing, I need to give a little dedication here. Emmi’s name was originally Hope. When she got the promise that she was staying with us, we realized “Hope” had to go. You tell me what we sound like calling out “Sarah! Gracie! Hope!”. Way too puritan for our tastes.
There came a time when I was introduced to The Puppy Rescue Mission, more particularly the story of an Afghanistan stray puppy named Emmi, loved by a US soldier.
It had been the soldier’s hope to bring Emmi to the United States where she would be loved. The soldier’s plea for help and her story about Emmi really effected me. Sadly, Emmi died before she could be saved.
War Zones and Third World Countries don’t corner the market on cruelty. Our then Hope was proof of that.
Two defenseless little girls, worlds apart, with similar lives. One died. The other carries her name. Neither will be forgotten.
To help soldiers bring home their battle buddies, please visit
To all soldiers, past present and future: Thank you for your Service.