By Amy Christiansen Special to Published Jun 16, 2008 at 5:21 PM

"Sorry, we're moving." "We had a new baby." "We're getting a divorce."

I wonder what Ellie heard as the excuse of why her family couldn't keep her anymore. Or maybe they didn't even try to justify their actions before they dropped her off to be someone else's problem to fix alongside the hundreds (yes, hundreds) of other abandoned and forgotten cats and dogs at this very moment sitting not just in shelters and foster homes in our community but those still wandering the streets lost, scared and alone.

I lie awake some nights and wonder most about those ... the ones who have yet to find sanctuary and a second chance. I am very suspicious of cardboard boxes on the side of the road and have been known to pull over to make sure they don't contain a litter of newborn puppies or kittens.

I prepare myself as I see objects lying motionless on the side of the highway and hope to find nothing more than a stray work boot or remnants of a truck tire. And the slightest unusual movement from thick bushes is enough to send me crawling on hands and knees with heavy gloves and a flashlight.

Fortunately for Ellie, the hardest part of her journey is over. She is safe. Secure in a loving foster home with the Companion Animal Resource and Adoption Center, she has no idea her stop is a temporary one until her forever family is established -- but she doesn't care.

She is being loved and nurtured and enjoying perhaps for the first time in her short life the opportunity to just be a dog. Ellie is around 4 months old. Our best guess on breed mix is lab / collie. She is in foster with two resident dogs and a young child and is successfully mastering housetraining and basic obedience.

Please visit Ellie and the rest of our dogs waiting for a second chance any Saturday or Sunday from 12 to 2 p.m. at the Petsmart located at 74th Street and Edgerton Avenue or visit us 24 hours a day at

Amy Christiansen Special to

Amy Christiansen is the Executive Director of the Companion Animal Resource and Adoption Center (CARAC). CARAC is located in the upper level of Southridge Mall and is dedicated to saving the unclaimed strays from the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission.

Amy grew up on the South Side of Milwaukee and now lives in Muskego with her husband and son and their three cats and three dogs. She also takes in the occasional foster dog.