Elmwood Cemetery dog is captured, but deer pal Ella is perplexed

MATT CAMPBELL

The Kansas City Star

The abandoned dog that was befriended by Ella the deer in Kansas City’s Elmwood Cemetery has been taken in by Wayside Waifs, where it will receive veterinary care and attention before being put up for adoption.

The dog and the doe, which lives at the historic cemetery, had been constant companions in recent weeks. Cemetery officials and volunteers said it appeared the two misfits had developed a bond.

But while the deer can survive the winter, there was concern that the dog would not.

After their story appeared in The Star, several people offered to help. Many suggested that the cemetery set up a doghouse.

But cemetery officials were reluctant to give the dog shelter and food for fear that would attract other strays that might not be as friendly toward the deer.

Two people from Wayside Waifs came to the cemetery Friday and attempted to approach the skittish dog, which ran away from them. They baited a humane trap with dog treats, and on Saturday morning a cemetery volunteer reported that the dog had been captured.

Ella was by the trap when the team from the shelter came to retrieve the dog.

Ella was standing right by the van when the dog departed, looking kind of forlorn,” said John Weilert, president of the Elmwood Cemetery Society.

Weilert said a team at Wayside Waifs would work with the dog to socialize it in preparation for adoption. Before saying farewell to the dog, Weilert named it EpiTaph, or ET for short.

Ella was born at Elmwood Cemetery around Memorial Day 2011 and then lost her mother to traffic. She has become a mascot for the cemetery at Truman Road and Van Brunt Boulevard, showing up at weddings and funerals and tagging along on tours.

On Friday, before the dog was taken away, Elmwood trustee Bruce Mathews photographed the unlikely pair.

It breaks my heart that they have to be separated, but they must,” Mathews said in an email to friends of Elmwood. “Am I sorry they found each other? Absolutely not! I believe they became friends to teach us a lesson, however we each might interpret it.”

To reach Matt Campbell, call 816-234-4902 or send email to mcampbell@kcstar.com.

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