Elli Belly’s story.

Elli, custom pet portrait by Louise Primeau
Elli, acrylic on 12 x 12 gallery wrapped canvas.  A very special thanks to Ottawa photographer, Leslie Yeow, who photographed Elli, and allowed me to use his work as a model for this portrait. Leslie often photographs rescue dogs for fundraising. Visit his website (hyperlink above) to view his amazing photographs. All other photographs in this blog post were taken by the owner or Elli's daycare service.


by Brenda Perrin

Elli, known as Dixie at the shelter, was brought home from the SPCA of Western Quebec on June 3, 2014. She was a stray in Iqaluit, Nunavut, in northern Canada, and flown to the Quebec shelter to have her shots, be spayed, and hopefully, find her forever home.  (First published in October, 2019)

Elli's first walk
Elli waiting for her forever home. See the fear in her eyes?

Elli, the “Iqaluit Special”

On the SPCA website she was listed as a male Dachshund mix, thought to be a small breed of around 10 months to a year. Since this would be my first dog, I definitely wanted one I could physically handle, so when I saw the ad, I immediately went to see her.

Well, she obviously was NOT a male. My own vet said she was even possibly younger than the 10 months someone had estimated as her age.

In addition, she was probably a mix of many breeds. When people asked about her breed, I would from then on tell them she was an “Iqaluit Special”.

A companion in the ruff!

The shelter staff brought her out for me to walk. She was cute, but her leash manners needed work! Could she pull hard for a small dog! She also ate everything she could get her paws on whether it was paper, Kleenex, rocks; you name it, she would try to eat it.

When we returned to the shelter, she jumped on my lap, made eye contact, and happily licked my face. How could I not fall in love with her?

Training Elli: an exercise in patience and love

I won’t mince words…the first month with Elli in my home was extremely rough.

Elli clearly had never been in a house before.

She christened the floors of my new home with her pee and poop; she followed me everywhere, even wanted to be in the shower with me!

Moreover, she barked at everything unfamiliar, even my recycle boxes.

I couldn’t leave, not even for a minute, without her scratching all the paint off of my walls and front door.

A crate and a lock needed for smart puppy

I would have to crate her until I could take her to doggie school during my summer off.

This strategy worked until she figured out how to get out of the crate. I came home one day to find Elli standing on my coffee table, candy bowl tipped over, sucker wrappers and sticks (minus the candy) stuck everywhere to my carpet and candy cane pieces stuck to her fur!  A lock for the crate it was!

Elli is given a nickname

One of our funniest memories of those days was what we called crazy hour, which occurred at 9 pm every evening without fail.

She would run around the whole house at super fast speeds jumping on and off chairs, sofa, and along the way, vocalizing the whole time.

I later found out these are known as zoomies.

She also raised her leg every time one of us approached her, for a belly rub. Without fail, if any of us was close to her, she demanded a belly rub. This became known as her signature move, and also why she is known as Elli Belly. She still does it to this day.

relaxed Elli Belly
Relaxed Elli Belly

Elli Belly becomes the companion she was meant to be

After training and the summer off together to bond, I began bringing her to Doggy Day Care when I returned to work in September. She was such an alert, social dog, that I couldn’t stand the thought of her staying alone all day.

We also took a scenting course together, where she proved to be a good scent tracker.

At home, we devised games for her involving finding things. She loved when one of her humans hid somewhere and she would have to run around the house sniffing, trying to find her. Of course, finding her food treats was always part of the game.

It's snowing!
Elli after enjoying a walk on a snowy day.

Elli’s transformation

Months turned into years and this past summer, we celebrated Elli’s five year adoptaversary.

Love and training turned her from a scared, insecure puppy to the most calm, loyal, and loving companion that I could have ever asked for. A little more mature, Elli has also doubled her body weight. My pudgy baby knows that good girls get lots of treats.

She is the child I never had, the unconditional love I always wanted, Elli Belly is my best furry friend.

I could not even imagine my life without her.

If you would like a custom pet portrait of your special companion, visit my Custom Pet Portrait page to view my portfolio of positively perfect pets! 


You will also find answers to frequently asked questions such as prices. 

Elli is ready to go to her new owner.
Another pet portrait completed!


Tip: Some clients prefer smaller portraits of their pets. Visit my portfolio of wood slice portraits. I have many satisfied customers and you can also read the wonderful comments they have left for me over the years. Please contact me here and your questions will be directed to my email box.  Or contact my via facebook messenger.


I look forward to hearing from you!

A loving dog
Sweet little Elli Belly


4 Responses

  • Your pet portrait painting of Elli exudes great joy and happiness ~ such a wonderful artwork, Louise! Thank you for sharing.

    • I had an excellent reference photo taken by a local professional photographer who gave me permission to use the photo. Thanks Phil.

  • She’s such a joy!! Fur-kid full of love! And your portrait of her is marvelous!!! As I type this I’ve got 2 feline fur-kids – whose 6 year adoptiversaries I celebrated in September – napping next to me. They saved my life. Hooray for fur-ever homes!

    • Robin, the client brought Elli with her when she picked up her portrait. She is a sweet little thing and I am happy she found a home with a caring owner. Thanks for leaving a comment!

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