Thursday, October 23, 2014

A dog named Roxie

Dear Roxie,

Our journey began just over eleven years ago.  One evening after work Jarrod and I picked you out of a large litter at a Stillwater animal shelter.  We actually went to look at puppies without the intention of taking one home in the car :)  You were the calmest in the bunch and you were the only one with a white ring around your neck.  You were thought to have been five weeks old and we could hold you in the palm of our hand.  We paid $5 for you and the rest was history!  We named you Roxie.  Somehow along the way you picked up the middle name Louise.  We eventually called you "Lou Lou" for short.  During the first few weeks you chewed up the carpet on a bottom step and climbed over a baby gate.  By the time Jarrod got home on his lunch break you were stuck pitifully whimpering at the top of the stair case.

You were the cutest little thing.  You were our first and furriest child.  We figured out pretty quickly that you were smart.  Jarrod worked diligently with you and taught you more commands and party tricks than I can even count!  You knew how to shake, sit, lay down, stay, play dead, wait, roll over, jump, speak and hold a small treat steady on your nose, just to name a few.  You would even allow us to place goldfish on both paws and then patiently wait to eat them until we said "get it".  You would join in when we howled and could 'sing' on command.  You understood plenty of other words including ready to go, outside, inside, walk, swim, let's go, car, Emma, kitty, puppy and treat.

You were gentle, quiet, loving, loyal and obedient.  You were always scared of the vacuum cleaner and when people raised their voice in anger.  You had an incredibly ferocious bark but would literally never hurt a fly.  You would often watch squirrels scurry up trees and sneak over to get a closer look.  I'm sure it was your natural dog instinct but it was funny because you had no clue what you were "supposed" to do as a dog :)  The one and only time we saw you show your teeth was at Pistol Pete as he approached us at an OSU walkathon.  We weren't sure exactly what you had against him!  You moved six times including two states, five towns and six addresses.  In most places you were well known and loved by our neighbors.  You could wander away as you pleased but never got far and always returned quickly.

You loved being around the rest of the family.  Jarrod was definitely your favorite -- and I totally understood!  You loved going for walks and swimming in the lake.  We could not take you near a body of water without you sneaking into it :)  In your younger years you loved chasing a ball and bringing it back.  In your later years you stopped bringing it back!  Each time you saw us taking luggage out to the car before a trip you managed to hop into the car.  Whether or not you were invited we would find you perched between the car seats ready for the next big adventure.  You were a bit of a camera hog.  Somehow you usually snuck your way into photos, whether or not you were invited :)  I'm sure we will laugh and cry for many years to come.

I'm fairly certain you didn't know you were a dog.  We spoiled you the best we could.  Even when the grocery bill was high enough we occasionally bought Frosty Paws, ice cream for dogs.  You also loved 'chewies', raw hide chews.  You would often follow us into the house as we hauled grocery bags in to see whether or not we got your 'chewies'!  You didn't beg for food much -- that is, until I brought in a rotisserie chicken.  You eagerly sat at my feet waiting for me to offer you piece after piece.

It was hard watching you get older.  Your signs of aging included losing your sense of smell, gaining more white hair and your inability to get into car without a boost.

You fell ill the first week of June while Emma was away at camp.  Your abdomen suddenly filled with fluid which made you very lethargic.  We were shocked and thought we would say our goodbyes at that time.  We took you to Dr Reece who diagnosed you with a collapsed lung and thought you might have some sort of abdominal mass.  He prescribed medicine which worked wonders!  You were back to yourself in no time.  We were blessed with 4+ more months of you and tried to make the most of it.  A few weeks ago the meds stopped working so well and you fell ill again with the same symptoms.  This time Dr R said that you were in congestive heart failure and that there wasn't much that could be done.  We took you home for another week and tried to make you comfortable.  Even on your last few days you would wag your tail when Jarrod returned home.  Your breathing was labored and we couldn't stand to let you suffer any longer.

Thank you for everything.  Thank you for watching over our babies.  They have never known life without you.  It was especially difficult for Emma at the end.  She knew it was coming but wanted you around as long as possible.  We all did.  She said "I wish dogs could live as long as people."

We hope you know how much you were loved.

You were the BEST dog and we miss you already.

"Dogs are not our whole love but they make our lives whole." 
~Roger Caras

It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.” 
― John GroganMarley and Me

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