Ducks 'n a Row: I Miss My Dog

27 June 2015

I Miss My Dog

By Sinea Pies

Our neighbor may be getting a 12 week old puppy named Ivy. She looks like this. A beautiful black lab -- except no white on her. Just as cute as this little lady is, though. Adorable!

labrador retriever; dog; puppy

Seeing her picture reminded me of how much I miss my dog, Lexi.

Lexi was our 135 pound, awesome English yellow lab. What a sweetheart. When she'd come up to me and gaze into my eyes it was like she could see into my heart. There was strong communication there.

When Lexi joined our family, she was probably 4 years old. Her age was an unknown because she had been held captive in a puppy millLiving in something like a chicken coop, she gave birth to litter after litter.  

Her owners looked at dogs much differently than you and  I. Dogs came under the category of cattle or other farm animals and that's how they treated her. They didn't give her a name or record her birth-date. She had never been on a lawn, in a house or even played with a toy. She ate out of a trough. So, when she was rescued, along with the other adult dogs they had, she was in the Letter L group. Our son was the one who named her Lexi.

Lexi was rescued by a wonderful organization - Rudy's Rescue. Previously, I had been in touch with them, expressing our desire to adopt another yellow lab like Blondie. Oh, I knew the next one wouldn't be exactly like her but I was hoping and praying to find one a lot like her. 

Blondie's Story
puppies; dogs; yellow Labrador retriever

Our first lab, Blondie, had died at 10 years old. We missed Blondie terribly. 

We had her from a pup and saw her through 5 years of diabetes that included her going blind in one horrible day! That is a whole nuther story but suffice it to say that we were able to get her surgery and she regained her sight!

After years of caring for her needs meticulously, we were knit so close with her. Her loss was huge. I'd "see" her everywhere. In her favorite napping spot. Outdoors. Indoors. In my dreams. 

Lexi's Story
Amy is the name of Lexi's rescuer. Her group became aware of this puppy mill and the horrible conditions the dogs were living in. She saw Lexi in the chicken coop and, over time, negotiated her release, along with the other adult dogs (the pups were sold, I assume.) She knew of my search and sent me a picture saying "this may be the one."   I could hardly wait to meet her. She was the one. Lexi and Blondie could have been twins. 

It took Lexi a long time to become a "real dog." She was so traumatized that she was in shock, I think. Her eyes were glazed over and she cowered in her crate, where she felt safe. She took to our youngest son, Zack, right away. 

The first time she barked, I cried. Finally! She sounded like a dog! A couple of weeks later she began to trust me and it was another 2 years for her to warm up to anyone else in the family, including my husband. That was a long, hard wait for him. He missed Blondie as much as I did.  When she finally felt safe with him, he became her best buddy. She loved him dearly and had to have "daddy time" every evening. She insisted on it, bumping his arm whenever he stopped petting her. She wanted more!

Fun "Lexi" story: Lexi, the Skunk and Me

dog, puppy, labs, yellow lab
Big girl Lexi with her new little pal, Sadie

Sadie's Story
Sadie: so tiny!

Next, we got a puppy. Sadie. Another yellow lab. Sadie made all of our lives complete. Lexi was the mommy. Sadie followed her like a little puppy should. They slept together. Guarded the house together. Played together. It was perfect. 

Lexi and Sadie taking a little snooze.


But, in January 2015, the inevitable happened. 
Lexi died of cancer.

Lexi got rectal cancer. I should have known something was wrong long before I did. She'd groan a lot but I attributed it to old age. Eventually, the problem became visible and the doctor confirmed she had cancer. We kept her comfortable with pain killers and babied her as best we could. Eventually, it became obvious that she shouldn't have to keep on going like that. It was time.

She was in so much pain, her breathing labored. I had to do the very thing I did not want to do:  make the appointment. Saying goodbye was going to be hard but it couldn't wait. 

I set it for 3:00 pm that day but I prayed. "Lord, she feels safe here with me. Please take her here before we have to go." And, softly petting her head,  I told Lexi it was OK to go. I would see her again. She lay right at my feet in the kitchen and breathed her last. God answered my prayers and she was gone. I will always be grateful for that. 

Sadie isn't quite the same, now. She misses Lexi, too. I think Lexi's strength was her security. She could boldly bark at strangers, and hide behind Lexi. That type of thing. It is as if part of her personality left with Lexi. 

We do have our sons dogs, Murphy & Troy, come for playdates - which she loves -  and my granddogs, Indie and Bear come over and my brother's dog, Jake, comes by, too. But seeing Ivy's picture today reminded me that we have a puppy-sized hole that needs to be filled. Not just now, not yet.  But someday soon, I hope.

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