Thursday, January 01, 2009

B'bye, Dixie-belle, My Big, Old, Beautiful, Golden Girl

She was my pal for almost 14 years. We covered a LOT of miles together, including a trip to Philadelphia in 2005 for the first gathering of Atriots. (I think the foto here was taken by Watertiger at that event.) She had the prettiest eyes I've ever seen on a dog, and the loveliest eye-lashes--in 1998, she was declared to have the prettiest doggy-face in Norman, OK.

Tuesday this week, she awoke as usual, and woke me to let her out. She came back in and made her way to the futon in the living room--her usual post for the day, when she wasn't out-side--and jumped up easily.

Forty-five minutes later, when I called her for her breakfast, she collapsed when her legs wouldn't hold her when she tried to jump down. She wouldn't eat, and hardly drank anything all that day, or the next, or the next (New Year's Day). Wednesday, I called my vet, and described the symptoms, and she was no more hopeful than I. Dogs know when it's time, and will tell you if you know how to read their text. Ceasing to eat and drink are the usual cues. All her internal functions were slowly shutting down. Mainly, I left her alone, taking her out into the sun to enjoy the sky and the breeze and the warmth of the sun.

I shall take her to the vet tomorrow, her last trip. I'll hold her on my lap when they give her the injection, and I'll be sure the last thing she hears is that I loved her dearly.

Too often this year (twice, cuz Mischief passed about 11 months ago), I have had recourse to this poem, which is my solace now:
The House Dog's Grave (for Haig, an English Bulldog)

I've changed my ways a little; I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream; and you,
If you dream a moment,
You see me there.

So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you'd soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan.

I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no,
All the nights through I lie alone.

But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to read‚
And I fear often grieving for me‚
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.

You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying.
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope that when you are lying
Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.

No, dears, that's too much hope:
You are not so well cared for as I have been.
And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided...
But to me you were true.

You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.


E J said...

I understand your sadness and the heaviness you must feel at losing such a sweet companion; I am facing the same with my gray, grizzled Alex (from the Red Stick). Dixie-belle is gorgeous and so well loved.

Spocko said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss.

Lovely poem.

Your minds are perhaps too active, too many sided,
but to me you were true.

That line is especially nice.


Anonymous said...

My deepest condolences, Woody.

Terry C

LittleBrother said...

So sorry to hear of your loss. Best wishes for a pleasant and prosperous new year despite such an inauspicious beginning.

-- Condolences and Regards, Little Brother

"In T.H. White's The Sword in the Stone. The great hound (lymer) named Beaumont is on the ground, his back broken by the boar-- and the expert, the Master of Hounds, William Twyti, has been hurt also.

Twyti limps over to Beaumont and utters a farewell litany: 'Hark to Beaumont. Softly, Beaumont, mon ami. Oyez a Beaumont the valiant. Swef, le douce, Beaumont, swef, swef.' Beaumont licked his hand but could not wag his tail.

Twyti nods to Robin Wood and holds the hound's eyes with his own, saying, 'Good dog, Beaumont the valiant, sleep now, old friend Beaumont, good old dog,' while Robin dispatches the dog for him: 'Then Robin's falchion let Beaumont out of this world, to run free with Orion and to roll among the stars.'"

Anonymous said...

Dixie was always so thoughtful, I'm sorry she's going. Sending a loving skritch for her head, and remembering how contentedly she lay outside beside the door waiting for you to come along.

from Ruth

Anonymous said...

Aw, hell, John, we're very sorry to hear about Dixie. A truly great dog. As you know, we had to make the same trip twice last year, six months apart, for our much loved elderly dogs. We'll be thinking about you and Dixie, our hearts are with you.

Jay & Janet

kissmekitty said...

im so VERY SORRY,I loved her muchly,Katie

Prayers of Compassion

By: Albert Schweitzer

Hear our humble prayer, O God, for our friends the animals, especially for animals who are suffering; for any that are hunted or lost or deserted or
frightened or hungry; for all that will be put to death.

We entreat for them all Thy mercy and pity, and for those who deal with them we ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kindly words.

Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to animals and so to share the blessings of the merciful.

madamab said...

Big hugs and condolences on the loss of such a dear friend. I am sure she will never be forgotten and that you will always treasure the time you had with her.

Peace, joy and prosperity to you in the New Year. May you remember the good times and let the bad times fade away.

Lil' Red Ridin In Tha' Hood said...


I'm so sorry, she was well loved and a wonderful dog. Our thoughts are with you.


Lil' Red

kelley b. said...

To our companions, we are strange and mysterious beings. We can be great benefactors and sources of joy. We live for long, long times, and ride magical chariots across the earth and the sea and the sky.

The way I see it, all we can do for them is to make their worlds better. The greatest dangers to their worlds come from us. Remember your friend, and protect her kin, and be a guardian of her world.

It is the best we can do.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Woody, I am so sorry for your impending loss. These critters are our family, our deep loves. I know what you are going through, having lost two of my companions. I outlived them, to my great pain. Your world will be very empty for a long while, and you will never, ever forget her. Please know many of us understand and are sending you hugs and comfort, for whatever that's worth. It can only ease, not remove your pain.
Sarah Deere

Nancy Willing said...

Woody, so sad to hear of your sudden loss. I keep writing and deleting words that seem so stupid as soon as I write them.
The tears have dried now and the animals have been hugged tight. That is a great poem. Yonah sends a special doggie kiss of thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Woody, I'm so sorry. Truly the sweetest looking thing . . . SP

Donna said...

Dixie-belle will be with you in spirit. Inseparable in life and after-life. But still, the lump in my throat won't go away. Thanks for the beautiful picture.

Alexandra said...

I'm so sorry.

shrimplate said...

Sweet dreams, beautiful little doggie. My condolences, WGG.

ErinPDX said...

Woody, I'm so very sorry you lost your dear friend. Peace to you.

Agent Orange said...

Hi Woody,

Sorry to read about the old gal moving on.
The first round at dinner tonight we'll raise a toast to her memory.

Anonymous said...

Dear John,

I'm so very sorry about Dixie. It was like that with Tasha, MY dog. I held her, and wept more salt tears for her than for mom and dad together. I'm not proud of that, but Tasha was my Dixie--so true, loving, accepting--a real part of my heart. Parents are good. We had pretty good ones, overall. But dogs--as our parents knew!--are those special spirits directly sent from God to fill the voids of love in our lives, to fill the void of God in our lives. God sent us dogs because he couldn't be in everyone's lap all the time...

Love, Chris and your sister

Mr. Pelican said...

Damn these dogs anyway. We love them
feed them, play with them, plow our hearts into them, and what do they give us? 14 years of devotion, unqualified acceptance and love, and then, as you have said so often, they die and then they give us the gift of grief and an excuse to cry.
Let's raise a glass to Dixie, and to the memory of all our best friends who have gone to their reward. If, as I have said on such occasions as these, if my dogs aren't in heaven, then I don't want to go.

filkertom said...

So very sorry, Woody. Big damn manly hugs, and here's to a very long time with a very fine friend.

Liberality said...

You gave her a happy life. She was a lucky dog compared to some. Your heart will grieve for some time but you surely will let another animal enjoy your company again.

Uncle Smokes said...

I count myself fortunate to have had a moment to give both Mischief and Dixie a friendly scratch behind the ears.

Everyone else has said wonderful things, and so all I can add is just...


oldwhitelady said...

Hi WGG. I'm sorry to be reading about Dixie. She was a happy beautiful dog. You gave her a home, love, and affection, something all dogs need. I know you will miss her, but she had a good life. I can see how the poem helps.

FeralLiberal said...

I'm glad I had a chance to meet Dixie before she passed, and to join those here in wishing her a heartfelt farewell.

pie said...

wgg, I don't check my yahoo account that often, so I just read the news about Dixie. She was a beautiful dog. I'm sorry for your loss, though it sounds like she was ready to go. And you had 14 good years with her.

Hope the rest of the year brings new friends and happier days.

charley said...