Most of the time Rosebud, Ellen’s golden retriever, lives the good life on the farm. Like many dogs, she enjoys sneaking out to the garden to see if there are any rotten fruits or vegetables to consume, searching for something smelly to roll in or trotting around behind Ellen when she takes her on walks.
Typically, Rosebud’s appearance reflects her lifestyle – her coat is a little scruffy and sometimes when she comes in from outside, there are leaves and twigs hanging from the hair on her belly. We brush her, but she still looks more like a farm dog than the movie star she once was.
The exception to Rosebud’s career change is when she makes public appearances with Ellen. Most frequently, the two represent Make-A-Wish North Dakota at fundraising events for the organization.
When Ellen, then 5, was ill with leukemia and received her wish in 2008 to see the "Santa Buddies" movie being filmed in Vancouver, we couldn’t have imagined the chain of events that would transpire to have Rosebud as part of our family nearly 13 years later. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of Anna McRoberts, the "Santa Buddies" producer who gave Ellen to Rosebud and arranged to have the 4-month-old puppy flown from Vancouver to Winnipeg. We also were stunned when Lysa Hartman, a WestJet airlines representative who went up the company’s chain of command to get permission for Rosebud to fly during the busy holiday season, and then accompanied her on the flight.
Without Make-A-Wish North Dakota, of course, none of it would have been set in motion.
Ellen, even at the age of 5, appreciated Make-A-Wish North Dakota and realized the kindness and effort people had made to get Rosebud from Vancouver to a North Dakota farm. Over the years, she has shared the story with family, organized school fundraisers for Make-A-Wish North Dakota and by going to the organization’s fundraising events in Grand Forks and Fargo, all with Rosebud in tow.
We want Rosebud to put her best paw forward at the fundraisers, so we take her to a professional groomer a day or two before the events. Amy the Dog Groomer in Northwood, N.D., owned by Amy Sheggerud, accommodates us by fitting Rosebud into her busy schedule with relatively short notice.
On Saturday, April 17, for example, Sheggerud is grooming Rosebud at 6 a.m., for the golden retriever's appearance with Ellen on a Make-A-Wish North Dakota fundraiser later in the day. Ellen is one of two emcees for the organization’s annual Wine and Wishes, which this year will be held virtually from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. During the Make-A-Wish North Dakota Wine and Wishes Virtual Gala, Ellen will share stories about her wish experience, and Rosebud will make a guest appearance during a segment of the livestream.
Ellen is glad she and Rosebud can continue to spread the message of Make-A-Wish, and Rosebud appears to enjoy her time in the spotlight. I anticipate she will be happily wagging her tail and “smiling” during the event, as she always does.
Nearly 90 in human years, we are blessed that Rosebud not only is still part of our family, but also continues to be healthy and enjoying life to the fullest.
Our entire family also is grateful for people like McRoberts and Hartman, who helped make Ellen’s wish more than she could have hoped for, for Sheggerud's extra effort to do Rosebud’s “makeup” before her professional appearances and to Make-A-Wish North Dakota for the gift that keeps on giving.
Ann Bailey is a Grand Forks Herald reporter who writes a personal column twice per month.