Meet Elisa Diaz. Ellie, to those who know her. Dr. Dolittle, if you ask her personally. “Ellie Dolittle” talks to the animals. But, more on that later.
Ellie was born in Miami, Florida. Because her dad was Cuban and her mother was born in Panama, she grew up speaking Spanish and had to learn English as a second language. This was the first in many challenges for Ellie. After her father left, her mother, Isabel, packed up their belongings, took a deep breath and moved with her daughter to Spring Hill. She wanted “a fresh start,” to find a quiet place in a more rural area where she could regroup… and breathe. She needed to regain her footing and to start laying a new, stable foundation upon which she and her daughter could rebuild their lives.
As Ellie grew, she became quite a creative child, gravitating toward art and all things beautiful. Not long after, Ellie’s mother noticed that her daughter had a somewhat unique gift. She could talk to animals… and they would listen. In fact, Ellie said she has always felt a bit like Dr. Dolittle.
“I’ve always loved animals,” Ellie shared. “I was a bit of a troublemaker because I was always bringing them home.”
“I even hid a baby duck in the guest bathroom,” she confessed.
Ellie always dreamed of working with animals, and that dream came to fruition on Dec. 30, 2018. It was the day she received the call. She had been hired to work at the Humane Society of the Nature Coast (HSNC).
“It was three weeks after my interview,” Ellie recalled. “I didn’t think I got it. But then they called! I was so happy I was jumping up and down.”
As an Animal Care Technician, Ellie spends her days doing just that: Caring for the Animals. Whether it’s feeding, walking or simply sitting on the ground with them for a long chat and a snuggle, Ellie gives each animal the love and attention they need. How does she know what they need? Well, they tell her, of course. Yes, Ellie Dolittle talks to the animals.
While watching her work with the furry residents of HSNC, you can almost hear the lyrics to the Dr. DoLittle song about talking to animals playing in your head…
“And if you just stop and think of it, ain’t no doubt of it, I’m gonna win a place in history. If I could walk with the animals, talk with the animals, grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals. And they could squeak, and squawk, and speak, and talk to me!”
To observe Ellie interacting with the animals is incredibly heartwarming. They just melt into her arms. To improve the adoptability of the dogs, she took it upon herself to begin teaching the dogs the most adorable tricks! Kisses, playing dead, high fives and tens (or would that be fours and eights?). They thrive in her attention. You can see it in their faces. They want so much to make her happy.
“I post the videos to make people laugh,” Ellie confessed. “I love making people laugh.”
Ask her to describe her best day at HSNC and Ellie will tell you about the day a beautiful dog named Shadow was adopted. She had become quite fond to Shadow and they quickly developed a deep, mutual bond.
“Shadow was a playful goof-ball,” Ellie remembers fondly of the spirited and somewhat hyperactive pup. But on the day he was adopted, as Shadow came to her for the last time, Ellie said “he stood and let me hug him for the longest time. It was the calmest I had ever seen him.”
It was as if he was saying “thank you, and telling her everything was going to be okay. He was going “home.”
“That’s the best part of being here (at HSNC),” Ellie shared. “It’s like another home to me. We’re like a family. We have our moments, yes. But we are always there for each other. We aren’t just there to feed animals and clean up the poop. We are there to help each other.”
“I had a rough childhood,” Ellie confessed. “My mom did her best for me and the people at HSNC are like my second family.”
Then she shared a message to her coworkers.
“Thank you all,” she added, “for being the family I always wanted.”
It was the great play-write, William Shakespeare, who posed the question: “What’s in a name?” For those willing and brave enough to truly seek an answer to that question, you will sometimes discover some surprising and deeply personal insights.
On the day she was born, the self-described Ellie Dolittle’s mother named her daughter “Elisa.”
As described by her Numerology Soul/Urge Number (6) — “People with this name have a deep inner desire for a stable, loving family or community, and a need to work with others and to be appreciated.”