Dixie will remain in my heart forever. Letting her go was one of the hardest losses of my life. Dixie was born in Wyoming just northwest of Big Piney, a plains area at about 7,000 feet, to a family whose name I don’t know. I think they were dog breeder, though I hope someone put them on a different path. Dixie, a Boston Terrier, was neglected and abused physically and emotionally by this family. Dixie’s birth date is unclear. We know she was born in 2006, and have dates of 6/6/2006 and 12/23/2006. I personally lean toward the earlier one, since I doubt she would have survived ill treatment as a fledgling pup in a Wyoming winter.
Dixie finally managed to escape sometime in her second to third year, and made her way down a steep hill, across a highway, and a along the road to my niece, Nina’s house about a mile away. Nina knew her family and at first returned her, but she could see the situation was not good. Dixie came to Nina again, and a bargain was struck so that Dixie could live with Nina’s family.
A note here about Nina. She loves animals and is known for rescuing dogs and horses. Nina soon began mentioning Dixie to me. I had a lab chow, Niki, at the time who was not friendly to other animals, especially smaller ones so I could do nothing initially. Niki died of cancer in 2009 and my husband and I adopted a Cockapoo puppy from our neighbors. Bonita is full of bounce and sass. Meanwhile, Dixie moved to a new home with my niece. She loved to roam the hay meadows.
In 2012 my husband and I traveled to Wyoming in late summer. We stayed with my sister. Dixie had endured, and being a quiet soul, she left the menagerie at Nina’s and came over to my sister’s house, insisting on sleeping with Roque and I. As tiny as she was, she found a way to get up on the tall bed and nestled into the folds of the comforter between us. We decided then to adopt her, if Nina’s prior request was still open.
We couldn’t take her directly home on that trip so the weekend after Thanksgiving that year, my sister came to visit for a long weekend and brought Dixie to us. Dixie and Bonita had to adjust to each other, but that process went smoothly and quickly. Dixie soon decided that I was her person, and so became my shadow. If I was in the bathroom, she would push the door open with her nose and peek in to make sure I was really there. If I took a bath, she would lie on the mat outside the tub. She slept with me and loved to curl into my body for warmth. for a small dog, she was amazingly strong and could push me over to the very edge of the bed. When I ate, she and Bonita would come to see if I would share. Dixie would put her little feet up on my knee and give me her “oh please” look. Dixie had a good appetite. I called her my ‘snuffalufagus’ because she would use her nose to forage for any tidbit that might have been dropped or missed. “Let no food be left behind” was her motto.
Dixie loved to find a comfy place on a couch or chair where she would dig at the throw blankets to arrange a perfect nest. Often only her face would peep out from the soft folds. There were other times when Dixie would leap to unbelievable heights or across the room. She would romp with Bonita and if Bonita got too uppity, would nip at her heels as she had seen the cow dogs do where she grew up in Wyoming. I knew that Dixie felt at home when I saw her play with toys or run for joy.
Dixie loved to dig, not surprising for her breed. She made numerous holes in the back yard. We had to make additions under the deck because for a while Dixie would tunnel under it in order to visit our neighbors. People were drawn to Dixie. Her caregivers were genuinely happy to see her. It was not uncommon that people would single her out.
My husband and I walk each Sunday morning with the dogs. Tiny, though she was, Dixie, excited by a squirrel, once pulled me off my feet. I have a friend who says that she loved that Dixie made no pretense to be other than herself. She was contented being small. Dixie loved sun bathing on our deck in warm weather. We had a morning ritual for her to go outside. Dixie would stretch her hind legs like a ballerina. I called her Dix Pix, short for Dixie, the Pixie.
As the years went by, Dixie developed several health problems. We new as summer became Fall and Fall moved toward winter that Dixie was quite ill and fading fast. We hoped for another Spring. Dr Nelson referred us to Dr. Goodwin. We met with him the Thursday after Thanksgiving. Dixie passed away the evening of Saturday, December 1.
It has been a month now since Dixie left us. She died peacefully in her sleep while lying on my lap, surrounded by people who loved her. We gave her a good death. I know we made the right decision. Dixie, we will always remember and love you. Rest peacefully, tiny one.
Storm & Zeke, a Requiem to my Friend.
Storm & Zeke, the final chapter
I recall as a young man, not really having aspirations of raising a family. I did however, want a dog and his name was always going to be Zeke. I can’t give you a real reason for the name other than it’s just a good, solid, name for a dog.
As I’ve looked back on our lives these past few days, I’ve come to learn a lot about myself and the type of person I want to be. I have many of you to thank for this as well. I don’t know why I started writing these chapters, I just did. The act, it seemed right. The responding outflow of love and support has been far more amazing than words can describe. I am humbled and grateful.
Today, I’m taking Zena to doggy daycare. Early this morning in fact. I’ve been very careful over the years about letting Zeke eat human food. Outside of his birthday steaks and marrow bones, I’ve done pretty well. Today though, things will be a little different.
We’re starting off with a massive bacon and eggs breakfast, followed by burgers and dogs for lunch and one final steak for dinner. Somewhere along the line, we’ll go for a short walk if he wants to, and then I’m going to brush him. I may even see if he will eat an ice cream cone. I really don’t know if he will or not.
My friend, his godmother and a few others are coming over this evening. I will have gone to pick up Zena by now. We’ll all sit around a fire by the river and Zeke will be laying somewhere close so he can feel the fire’s heat.
My friends will make me laugh because they’ll make fun of me for the crazy way I feel about this dog. That’s okay though, that’s why they’re my friends. Somewhere around 8:00, I’ll say a toast to Zeke – because I have to do that. And finally, we’ll just enjoy each other’s company until it’s time to go.
Zeke taught me patience and to be kind for kindness sake. He taught me how to put the needs of others ahead of my own and he taught me, it’s not being weak to show you care. I believe God brought us together and said “Now, go teach the world what it means to love someone more than you love yourself.” I don’t think we’ve let God down.
Zeke’s old and he’s tired now. His joints ache, he’s gone deaf in one ear and his eyes are beginning to fail him. I once asked God to let me be the last thing Zeke sees before he closes his eyes for the last time. In return, I promised Zeke to let him go when his time was up. Zeke’s time is here. I’ve known this for a couple weeks, and tomorrow morning at 9:00 , I’m keeping my promise.
I wrote a letter to Zeke, I will post it tomorrow some time after 9:00. And then I promise, I’ll be done. Again, thank you all for your support.
I’ve called this photo, “Goodbye Ol’ Friend”.
Woody Adams aka Woodrow Dickens
My Dear Woody, friend, companion, love of my life and my support for the past 17 years.
I don’t know where to begin for I don’t think I can express the expansiveness of my love that I have for you in my heart. When I was dragged to the pet store by my nieces in the Spokane Valley 17 years ago I had no intention of walking out with a cat. Little did I know that I would walk out with one of the best things to happen in my life. I brought home a beautiful cat who I would name Woody. You were but a little boy who grew up into a large male cat with just as large a personality. Everyone who knew you loved you. How could one not love you Woody.
You had the most beautiful and softest fur that I have ever seen or felt on a kitty cat. You were handsome beyond words my furry friend. Your were the best friend and companion I could ever hope for and my love for you extended beyond the boundaries of our home. Your extended family loved you. You also loved them and loved it when they were around, spoiling you of course. I hope you know that you were loved. Deeply loved. You were a large cat in the physical sense but not nearly as large as your were in personality and love.
I hope you are happy that you passed away in your loving home on your dad’s lap who loves you so much. I am so lucky to have had you with me for 17 years.
I really don’t know where you have gone Woody, but I would like to believe you are still by my side and still with me. You know you will always have a special place in my heart.
I miss you so much and the house you made a home is now just a house again without you in it to bring it love and life.
See you soon buddy,
Your very, very proud dad and friend.