It would have been your birthday in just a few short days, but your eyes told us you were done this morning. Roxie entered our lives just as winter vacation began a year ago--2/18/12--and our family would never be the same. Your goofy smile with the cute little teeth, your confident and assessing posture, waiting to see what fun we had in store for you that day, that moment, your cute floppy ears and your helicopter tail, whirling in a circle whenever something exciting was going on and greeting us every evening when we came home. You cried if we didn't give you enough food or if we left you alone too long. You wanted company. You sighed contentedly at night and snored gently all night long, comforting me and letting us know you were alright, at rest. Within a few weeks we started being concerned, because you couldn't get up completely--you were stuck with your front legs up and your back legs crouching. Our vet and the vet where we brought you from--where we were still fostering you from--said you had osteosarcoma, a lethal and common ailment among greyhounds, and they both gave you between 4 to 8 weeks. Four to eight weeks. We were devastated. I had just started a great job and so we could afford to build you a ramp, because we couldn't bear the thought of you breaking that leg when you hollered down our steps like you loved to do. Your boundless playful energy didn't stop with the ramp, which you took to right away, thank you!, even when our crazy little tiny kittens wanted to take it over from you!, and you'd bolt as soon as you were down and bolt all the way back when we called you inside. You didn't want to stop the long hikes on the forest trail or the shorter hikes up the street. You hated turning around and you hated to be told it was time to turn around. But we did it for your own good--we thought we were doing everything possible to make you comfortable.|
Eight weeks later you showed zero signs of slowing down. Another vet check as scheduled, and we found out that you just had fibrotic myelopathy, or "guitar-string" leg--a swollen, contracted muscle on the inside of your leg that was supposed to be incredibly painful. Sure enough, you'd yip sometimes in pain after running like crazy around our yard, or digging like a puppy near the roses. (Leaving you a single rose because you loved that mud!) But it didn't stop you the very next day or next outing. You kept going. And then we got another fatal diagnosis: kidney failure. We were devastated. Again. You were such a good fit for our doggie family, and you tolerated the rascal kittens who kept taking over your bed, getting underfoot, and deliberately being in your face. Cheyenne loved to play with you, and you loved to chase Jack. Here we thought we got Jack to play with Cheyenne--he's her brother, after all, little did we know at the time! But she only came out of her shell with you, she wanted to play with you, she liked hanging out with you and she learned how to be inquisitive, have fun, and seize the day, the beautiful warm sunny days here and the wonderful magical snowy days too. You calmed down Jack's exuberance with your faster-than-light chases. We think you were something special on that track, but for some reason you came to us.
We love you Roxie. You fought hard, you really did. We are grateful for all the support from our family, friends, and vets and Greyhound Friends who let us foster you for so long! To St. Roch who is patron Saint of Dogs, we give heartfelt thanks, appreciation and love for responding to our prayer for your health (how could he not--you are named after him, after all, and his life was saved by a hunter's dog, possibly a greyhound like you!). We had nearly a year and even had better kidney results after we prayed a novena in faith to Patron Saint Roch. We believe in prayer, but we also know there is a time for everything. It was your time today, big girl, and we want to give you our heartfelt prayers of thanksgiving and love for all the many kindnesses and wonderful selfless gifts of love you gave us every day. We will never forget you! You were so sweet, playful, and gentle. We are so sorry our time with you was so short, but hopefully you are bouncing around in Heaven now, running like the wind free from fear of yipping pain or kidney pain. You can have all the steak tips you want now, and it won't feel bad once it goes down, nor will you need any Fortiflora or rice or medicine with it (but feel free to lick up all the toothpaste your little heart desires. Leaving you a cookie since you loved them soooo much!). We hope you have lots of mud to dig through and lots and lots of kisses and long friendly hikes with the short playful sprints you loved so much. Pa will love you, say hi to him for me. Smokey will be sure to greet you, please tell them both we miss them greatly. You can play with Lucky again now, but please let her keep the ball -- she's always been our top dog with all her incredible brains. And you've never met Miko, Toto, or Mandy, but you'd love them: Miko was a self-possessed, confident and intuitively intelligent alpha like you, and Toto and Mandy just loved running and playing in snow and leaves just like you. We wish we could have had many years more with all of them, but we know you will be happier now just like they all are, or so we hope. Rest now, beautiful Roxie. So photogenic and so lovely (who ever said greyhounds are funny-looking never met you). I miss you already and I wish you were home with us still. Goodbye, Roxie, our aurora borealis who shone so bright for such a short, short time. Thank you for all your love!
2/17/13 Dear Roxie,
Today would have been Pa's 79th Birthday. We would have made him a big cake and not told him anything, made fondue and invited a bunch of people but never said the word "birthday" to irritate him. He would have loved it anyways, gifts, cards, and all. Today instead we shoveled at Mom's and at our house. The wind was cold and Cheyenne was nervous. Jack, too. He didn't want to go down the steps; he wanted to use your ramp. See how you've blessed this house in not even one year! It's so hard to come home to an empty, quiet house ... where are your hellos? Your wagging helicopter tail? I miss your greetings and your quiet huffing telling me you were alright and resting. I'm sorry you had to go so soon. We have your beautiful magenta collar here still, but not you. It's heartbreaking; I'd rather have you and your goofy smile. It's easier knowing you are no longer in any pain or suffering, and I'm glad that your suffering was short--you were such a happy girl. Thank you for blessing our lives. We miss you very, very very much.
2/18/13 Beautiful Roxie-roo, miss your greeting me when I came home today, from the supermarket to get bread for fondue in remembrance of Pa and from Church to celebrate the start of a Novena in your namesake's honor. We baked you a cake for your first birthday-would-have-been with us today--we made it dark chocolate for your beautiful dark fur. I didn't have any white frosting for your little belly star or your white hind foot, but we honor you and thank you for your time with us with what we have. We toasted Erik's new Double Chocolate Oatmeal Stout to your resting in peace and tranquility now, hopefully playing with Pa and running like the wind, no worries now about guitar-string tendon or sarcoma or kidney failure. I'm sure the scar on that right kidney area you had when we took you in has all but healed now, and your goofy smile is making others laugh and giggle and rub your warm, fuzzy, and oh-so-soft neck. Waggle your ears and helicopter your tail to our loved ones who have gone before us, and thank you, Roxie, for being such a wonderful, sweet girl. We'd take back all your complaints for more in a heartbeat just to have you here with us again, but we are also thankful you have gone in peace. Godspeed, Roxie-roo! Happy Birthday, beautiful girl.
2/28/13 Hello beautiful girl, wherever you are! I couldn't write last week when we picked up your ashes. We were making fondue -- it's around that time of year, Pa's birthday, winter cold, winter break - but I sent Erik out to get your ashes as soon as we learned. He'd just opened one of the brews he named after you and little Annie, you remember her, she loved taking over your bed (at 7 lbs, you were cowed, and we always had to be the ones to move her because you'd cry). Well the beer brewed over but we had your ashes. They are gracing our mantle with your beautiful soft collar around it. I can't give your collar away or let anyone else use it--it was yours; we bought it for you and your soft pretty neck; it matched your harness which we specially bought for you and your sensitive big chest. We made you a birthday cake for your birthday -- all dark chocolate with chocolate frosting (seeing as you couldn't eat it anymore) in honor of your beautiful shiny dark coat. It's very quiet here in this house, now, without your gentle snoring or annoying whining, but I'd take it back to have you here. Thank you for the short time you were here to lighten our hearts and make us laugh and smile in amazement at your resilience and speed. Have a nice, long sprint up there on the green grasses & rolling hills, have fun rolling around in the mud puddles and digging in the dirt, and don't forget to send our love to Pa, Uncle Tony, Aunts Barla and Ursula, Uncle Pieder and Uncle Luke, Grandma Beeli, Grandpa Weber and Aunt Elizabeth. Hope you are having fun chasing Lucky, Toto and Mandy (but watch out for them sneaking underneath you!!). Special greetings to Smokey and Miko, who both went too soon, too fast. We love you and miss you all!