My heart aches beyond words right now. On Monday I lost one of the dearest things in my life, my sweet girl Dixie.
Dixie was a bright eyed 12 (almost 13) year old Labrador. Growing up she was best friends with my first dog, Baron. They were a funny pair that shared a special bond. When we lost Baron in 2007 it was heart wrenching. Dixie missed him greatly and it was very evident. She kept up all of his paths in the backyard and every now and then you'd here her cry a little. She loved him just as much as we did.
When I was ill and had to move back home, Dixie was my nurse pup. She got me outside. We sat, walked, and talked. We shared many hugs, kisses, and belly rubs. She was insanely smart and very protective of her family. She loved supervising all of my Dad's outdoor projects. She was a big bear full of love for her family.
She loved to bark at cows, play in snow, and sit on the front porch and watch the world go by. She would always run from me whenever I would pull out the camera. She was not into selfies but obliged me. When I was well enough and moved back to my home I would talk to her on the phone. She even found one of my baby blankets and slept with it. When I would come home for visits she gave me the best welcome. She'd cock her head and give me this look of pure surprise and joy and then run to me. I'm going to miss that so much.
On Sunday January 26th my parents noticed that something wasn't right. Dixie was ill and had taken to staying in the backyard. My Mom stayed up with her all night, and called me to talk to her. She raised up and perked her ears when I talked. That's my girl. On Monday the 27th my parents got her to the vet. I was preparing to make the drive up to see her because I was terribly worried.
While I was driving I got the devastating call from my Mom. The vet found a large cancerous tumor on her spleen. Apparently this cancer is hard to detect until it's too late. I began to sob and had to pull over. I was in complete shock and disbelief. My husband drove the rest of the way there. The vet was keeping her comfortable, but didn't know if she would make it through the night. My parents made that hard decision, the one no one ever wants to make. On that drive up all I could think about was how I was going to say goodbye to my sweet girl.
My husband and I got to the vets office first. They took me back to see her. She seemed like a shell of herself because of the medicine. I crawled in the little kennel with her and just held her, kissed her, and talked to her. My Mom and Dad got there shortly after. We all talked to her, pet her, and loved on her a lot. She kept giving me her paws to hold or resting them on me. If you knew her you would know she hated having her paws touched so this meant a lot. When it was time the vet gave her the first round of medicine to relax her more. I had crawled back in the kennel with her at this point. She had her paws resting on my leg and she squeezed my leg. Almost like she was telling me it was going to be ok. We all kept telling her how much we loved her and kissed and hugged her. When the doctor came to put the final dose of medicine in I wrapped myself around her and held her. She took a few breaths and then she was gone. It' happened so quickly. I held her forever tracing every little part of her. I didn't want to let her go. We all knew when she was trying to tell us she was ready to go by staying in the backyard Sunday night, but she held on for us. She was so strong and so selfless.
Instead of telling her goodbye I told her I would see her later just like I would when I'd be getting ready to leave after visiting home. "I'll see you later, Keep everyone in line. I love you." She looked so peaceful, and now she could finally be with Baron again.
When I went to sleep that night I had a dream/vision. Dixie was standing tall and strong. She looked at me as if to say she was ok now and then disappeared. That hit me hard when I woke up. I felt so empty and sad. My eyes were almost swollen shut from all the tears.
The day after she passed it snowed, and it doesn't snow in the south very often. Cruel irony? She loved the snow. And it was so bittersweet watching it fall. It broke my heart that she didn't get to see one more snow day and catch one more snowball. I did my best to enjoy it for her with my little family though.
I'm going to miss everything about my sweet girl. If only I could hug her one more time...