My sweet Dixie came to me in March of 1993. I got her as a 4 week old pup. When I went to "pick out" a puppy, my sister went with me, and she mentioned "Don't pick the dog, let the dog pick you." Well, I picked up her sibling first. It was sweet, but there was no connection. But when I picked up Dixie, oh her little tail wagged! I knew from that first moment, we had a connection that only she and I felt. |
I picked her out and had plans to go back and get her in a couple weeks when she was 6 weeks old. There again, my sister said "What if you come back and somebody else picked up the one you wanted? Besides, look down in that box..." There was a little cup of water in the box for all the puppies and it had been knocked over. There was no water in it. Now, I know how puppies are - they very well could have just knocked it over right before we got there, but the thought of MY baby being thirsty, or MY baby might get picked up by somebody else, well, that was all I needed. She was coming with me, because she was MINE. Silly me didn't go prepared, so we stopped by a convenience Store on the way home to get a box for her.
I brought her home, with no name. I thought about naming her Aggie or Odie, as the lady I got her from told me she fed her eggs and oatmeal. But a few days after I had gotten her, I came home that night, picked her up to lay on my chest and watch All My Children that I had taped on the VCR. The minute I saw "Dixie Cooney" on there, I thought "Dixie" - that's a cute name. Sounds kinda little girly, a good southern name, and it just suits that precious little face. So she became Dixie.
She was SO tiny. At 4 weeks old, I know she must have missed her mom. She whimpered a little that night, but was also content to be with me. I had a trundle bed, and because I was afraid I would roll over on her, I put her on the bottom part of the bed that night. All night long I reached down to pet her. She was fine. The day I felt like I could have her in the bed without my rolling over on her, she started sleeping in the bed with me.
I gave her a bath in the bathroom sink because she was so little. I remember she used to crawl up in the book shelf and sleep on a book. That night, I took her over to my parents house. I remember when my mom opened the door, I was holding that cute little bundle right up at my face. The minute mom saw her she said "ohhhhhhhhhhh..."
She was my best friend through many years. I was not married at the time, and she was all I came home to. Later, during those years I lost my dad to cancer, and she was my comfort. I held her so many times, and she was my outlet. After my dad passed away, I decided that some extra comfort could come to my mom, and some additional spoiling for my pup. I would drive her into the next town a couple days a week and they would spend the day together while I was at work. During all this, Dixie developed a great love of riding in the car. So as time progressed, she became quite the car rider. She loved riding, and didn't even mind going to see Dr. Gault, because it meant she could ride in the car.
We enjoyed each other for many, many years and she was in excellent health. In 1999, God brought a wonderful man into my life, and Dixie had to learn to share. But she accepted Bobby Johns quickly. I never will forget when I became engaged. I showed her my engagement ring and told her she was getting a "Father". In her own little sporting way, she growled under her breath. We both got a good chuckle out of it. (And everyone else when we told them, especially those who knew her!)
The summer of 2003, Dixie's life changed again. We left our home in Hartselle, and probably the only house where Dixie really remembered living, and moved to a new home in Priceville. She adjusted well from the moment we took her to the new house, despite being a 10 year old "puppy". I took her there ahead of time of the move so she could see the house and become familiar with it. I never will forget the first time we went there. I took her inside and outside. She was on her retractable leash, and immediately ran to the neighbors yard and she christened the neighbor's yard right there. Of course, we had a good laugh about that!
Right around that time she also developed an ear infection, and I took her to the vet. What shouldn't have been a big deal I feared later on became one. I noticed later that she panted ALL the time. Bobby Johns just said it was because it was hot, but, I knew there was something else. What can I say...a mother knows...I began to do research on the internet for excessive panting, and began to fear in my gut Cushing's Disease. I was afraid I would lose her those first few months, but she was a fighter! She pulled through it, and still enjoyed relatively good health, and her new home.
At the beginning of the new house, she got a new sleeping place. Bobby Johns never wanted her in the bedroom, and although it was difficult for me, in the old house, right after we were married, she went from my bed to staying on the couch in the living room. It didn't seem to bother her, so I was okay with it. In the new house, there was a new couch, and the house was just not laid out as well, so we decided to move her to the laundry room at night. She got a new bed, her toys, water, and the baby gate was put up. Well, to put it mildly, she was NOT happy about her new arrangements. We dealt with it (she and I unhappily), and then after the Cushing's diagnosis, her father got a much softer heart. She was welcomed into the bedroom, (still on her own bed though) but she was oh so happy! She began to look forward to going to bed at night. Her father and I looked forward to watching her anticipating that "Night Night Call". She would slick those ears back, and walk that fast walk. Then she'd beat us in there. Bobby Johns laughed and said he "added years to her life, but took years off his".
But he loved her. As a matter of fact, there were times I wondered who loved who the most amongst the 3 of us. He spoiled her more rotten than me, if that was possible. Why that poor little girl barely walked through the house. She was carried by him most of the time. He loved to hold her, and she loved to be held, so that was the way they were quite often.
Through time, we slowly watched her age, but she still stayed in reasonably good health. But from about those 10 years and on, we did begin to have a regular relationship with the vet, as little side things from the Cushing's would develop. Every time we would see him, though, he would always remark she was his "longest living Cushing's patient".
During the summer of 2007, we found out she had a grade 5 heart murmur which was very serious. I still had hope that we could medicate her and have a little more time together. She did fairly well til the 4th of July.
Bobby Johns gave her a bath and she was running through the house like her wild usual self after a bath. She was in the bedroom and began to scream horribly. I ran into the room, and there she lay very lethargic with her head swinging back and forth, and had pottied on herself. Of course, I was concerned, but she seemed to back bounce after a few minutes and was back to her old self. That was on Wednesday. She had arthritis, and we thought maybe she had just twisted the wrong way while running around.
By Saturday night she had another episode after I brought her back inside from pottying. She came up a few steps to get back into the house, which must have overworked her heart, and as I reached down to undo her collar, she lost her balance and leaned over to the left. When I reached to steady her, she leaned off to the right, and then threw her head back and went limp as a dishrag. I held onto her for a couple hours feeling she would probably go during the night. But she didn't. She held on again. She didn't eat much over the weekend, and somewhat laid around, but still I didn't feel she was to the point of putting her down.
Monday morning I went by to see Dr. Gault and tell him what had happened. We agreed to try some new medicine and see if it would help. But by that afternoon Bobby Johns came home from work and she met him at the back door. He was going back out to his car to get something and he heard her began to do that horrible scream again. He said she arched her back and was screaming. He reached down to pick her up and get her quiet and easy. Then he called me as I was still at work.
I had determined I would not let her go through suffering. I had since 2003 to prepare myself for her death, and I knew when she began to have seizures, or whatever spells they were, and was pottying on herself, that she could not go on. I told him I was leaving work and we would take her to have her put down.
By the time I got home she was back into her lethargic state again. We had time to love on her for a bit, and even made a few pictures with her. Looking at them now, I can see how badly she felt.
So we carried her in. I had called Dr. Gault on my way home from work and told him the plans. He was waiting for us. He allowed us to stay in there with her, and as I laid her on the table, I laid my own self on as much of her as I could, with my arms around her, kissing and hugging her, and whispering in her ear how much we loved her.
I felt her head go down, and I clung on for another minute. I finally pulled away and he checked her. She was gone. My sweet little angel.
Words cannot express how I felt and still feel. We left her along with her favorite little "blankie" and sent them to be cremated together. We have them now, on a special table in the bedroom, alongside her picture, and that helps.
My heart still aches, and I still cry. I have tears in my eyes now as I write this. Dixie and I had one heart, and it was torn in two. That's what killed her. I always said being separated from me is what would kill her.
I have a tuft of her hair, and part of her ashes I carry in my purse. Sometimes I still touched it to feel her again. I talk to her every day when I leave for work and every night when I go to sleep.
I believe some day I probably will have another dog, but I just can't imagine it yet. I think Bobby Johns is more ready for one than I am.
I will admit that because I could never love another one like I loved Dixie that maybe I shouldn't love another one at all. But I can begin to see that changing, just a little. We did go to a friend's house not long ago, and she (the friend) had a dog and 2 cats, and I actually enjoyed playing with them. It was actually good for me. I still think I need more time, but I do see that there is love in my heart for another animal someday.
I still have tears, but they are good tears. Needed tears. I am not ready for them to stop. I think I want the day for my pain to stop. But I'm also fearful for that day. Right now, grieving is all I have of Dixie, so I'll grieve.
I long to have her in my arms. Kissing her little face. She was so sweet. Whenever we'd kiss her face, she'd tuck her little head on your shoulder. She loved her parents, and her parents loved her. We were all soul mates, destined to be together. We were connected and kindred.
I've made a list of some of the things I miss about her. This is what I have so far...
1. Seeing her sleep on the ceramic floor in the kitchen with me while I cook.
Well, that's all my postings for now. I'll probably update as my feelings change, and "blog".
I just know I miss my little girl. I know I keep saying it, but things just really aren't the same without her.