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 mill. Living 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.
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!
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!
Big girl Lexi with her new little pal, Sadie
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 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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