It’s been 6 weeks and 1 day since our sweet little dog went to heaven and the pain is still like a shadow following me around. There hasn’t been a day when I’ve walked in the door when I haven’t looked over to where her bed used to be, and then glanced over to see if she’d peed on the wee wee pad. It’s a strange feeling because Trixie had gotten to the age where she was hard to take care of. There was always a mess to clean up, constantly mopping, changing the pads, washing the bed cover, etc… At the time near her end, I was tired of it. Now I want the mess back, just so that I can have her again.
Trixie had been in our family for 14 years. We adopted her from St. Huberts Animal Shelter when she was 1 1/2 years old. I remember the day like it was yesterday. My then husband had finally relented regarding getting another dog. Our first dog, Thor, hadn’t worked out very well and had to be adopted out to a woman without children after growling at my crawling baby one day. Considering the menacing sound of his growl, his size and strength, and after talking to breeders of Akitas, we made the painful decision that we couldn’t risk keeping a non child friendly dog in the house as we were just starting our family. All worked out though and Thor ended up a very spoiled, pampered pooch somewhere else. We even received a lovely note and pictures of him and his new love, a cat.
I walked through the doors to St. Huberts, so excited to pick up a dog that I’d visited there two days prior. My heart immediately sank as I was told that the shepherd mix, Java, had already been adopted. Why did I wait? I sat down for a minute and the young man at the shelter said, “Well, I’ve got this little Trixie dog who’s ready for a home. She’s just been spade and is still recovering. Would you like to see her?” I remember wondering what a Trixie dog was and of course was glad to find out. Within minutes the young man came back out carrying what looked like a baby, loosely swaddled in a white blanket. He then walked over to where I was sitting and put her in my arms. I’ll never forget looking down into her huge brown eyes against her black face with floppy ears and tan fur on her muzzle. I fell in love and that was that. There was no way I was leaving without her. All of my then husband’s requirements for a dog, “big and hearty like a Labrador or something,” went right out the window. Looking back I’ve realized that the young man at the shelter was very good at what he did. Smart man.
I don’t remember putting her down except for the brief few moments when I had to get my paperwork and fill out my check, and then tenderly put her on the seat in the car, hoping she’d stay still. I knew that she’d only had her surgery a day or two beforehand and was sore. I couldn’t let her hurt herself by walking. Yes, I had another infant, as far as I was concerned. On our way to the car, we quickly stopped at the small pet shop at St. Huberts and bought supplies before heading home and making her part of our family.
As I think of her now often and my eyes well up with tears each time (like now), I feel thankful. I believe pets are gifts. They truly give unconditional love and affection. Aside from that first day when she was sore, Trixie didn’t love being picked up. Her little body would get stiff and she’d wiggle to get down. She was a lap dog though. As soon as I’d sit down at night with my cup of tea next to me, Trixie would jump up and lay across my lap. We could sit that way for hours and if I had to get up for any reason, she’d hop right back up as soon as I was seated again. That was our special thing. I’d stroke her head and ears and down her back. She loved it and it was wonderfully relaxing for me. She seemed to have a special ritual with each of us. For me, she was the lap dog, for my ex she loved to run around outside and play. For my oldest, she’d need to be in her room, on her bed, whenever my daughter was in there, right smack in the middle of what was going on at the time. For my youngest, she was her protector. No other dog could get near her without Trixie getting in between them and being not very nice. My youngest was her puppy. Even if I was chasing my daughter, trying to tickle her while she squealed with delight, Trixie would start chasing me around, being playful, but somewhat nippy at my heals until it all stopped. Good times.
That was all 14 years ago. My children were in preschool and kindergarten at the time when I brought her home. They grew up with Trixie and can hardly remember a time when she wasn’t there racing ahead of them towards a chair so that Trixie could take the spot first. When the girls were little, there was no filling a kiddie pool without Trixie submerging her body except for her head, making her look like either an Egyptian Sphinx or a dog shaped submarine. Yes, she was funny, affectionate, protective and loving.