Monday, April 14, 2008
When it rains, it pours. If there wasn't enough grief facing our family already, last Monday gave us further reason to be sad. Exactly one week after my father-in-law's passing, our new little lab pup was hit by a car.
Dixie was a very recent addition to our family, and we adored her. I had been hesitant about getting a dog as they can be a lot of work; nevertheless, I felt a dog would be good not only for our little boy to grow up with, but also as sort of a fierce looking obstacle for any would-be intruder to our new residence. Conveniently, a close friend of mine had recently taken in two new lab-rott pups from her brother who's dog had a litter. Already having a full grown dog, the addition of the two new puppies created a sort of dog anarchy at her place. When I expressed my interest in getting a dog, she offered one of her new ones, and I gladly accepted. Bringing Dixie home that Friday, we knew she was perfect - and I mean that, absolutely perfect. She was a one-in-a-million kind of a dog. She was about five months old and had the sweetest temperament: eager to please, calm, neat, quiet, gentle and most importantly, fun. As quickly as Dixie took to our family, I took to her that much quicker. I commented to my husband the day after we got her that I was surprised at how quickly I'd fallen completely in love with her.
Just three days after we had adopted Dixie we got the call about my father-in-law and loaded up the whole family, Dixie included, to gather with other family members. We weren't sure how long we'd be gone, but we knew we wanted Dixie with us. Over the coming week, she was a source of comfort and delight. Various friends and family were amazed at our kind and bright little dog. Everyone loved watching Dixie play with Jimmy and Kyla. A cousin commented that Dixie sort of "herded" Kyla - playfully directing her by nuzzling her; Kyla would squeal in laughter at Dixie's attention. The lower level of mom's house can make a full circle, and it was a fun game for Dixie and Kyla to play a slow yet lively game of chase as they circled the house, spreading a little bit of joy to every room they passed through.
A week after bringing Dixie to my mother-in-law's house, we decided we needed to run home to gather a few extra belongings. Jim was headed to work that morning, so we left early from mom's house so he could get his truck from our house and still get to work on time. It was still dark, and Dixie was running around with my brother-in-law's dog, Abby. We could here them barking intermittently, but couldn't see them. We didn't have time to search the three acres for them, so after calling and whistling for a few minutes, I gave up and hopped in the car with my husband and kids. Mom followed us up to the road and made sure to close the gate behind us. She looked very nervous about having not found the dogs, and looking back, I'd say she had a sixth sense about the whole thing. Though we told her the dogs would be fine and that they were somewhere on the property, she insisted that she'd keep looking until she had found them.
We weren't twenty minutes up the road when we got the call from Mom stating that she'd found Dixie on the road, just in front of the driveway. She had searched and searched for the dogs, and had found Abby, but after she still couldn't find Dixie she decided she and her sister would head out in the car to hunt for her; it was then that she came upon Dixie, already dead. I assume Dixie had responded to my calls and whistles a bit late, and when she saw our van leaving, attempted to follow us, squeezing under the gate.
My heart ached for my mom; to lose her husband one week, and the new family pet the next week was a cruel twist of fate. And worse yet was that she had to be the one to find her. I tried to tell her it was alright, and it was just a dog after all, but her response through tears was "But she was a special dog." And that is a true statement, Dixie was a special little dog.
I was also rather disgusted with whoever hit her. She was quite large for a puppy - as big as many full grown labs - so I'm sure whoever hit her noticed what they'd done. I can also even understand mistakenly hitting a dog, but couldn't someone have stopped? Had anyone stopped, they would have surely heard Mom and Aunt Kae calling for Dixie, and could have been mature enough to deliver the news. No, whoever hit Dixie didn't care - just another dent in the fender for them. Shame on those people who take no responsibility for their actions, even if they are mistakes. Dad would have never raised a human being so ignoble.
Though her death is far overshadowed by our Dad's, we still do miss our Dixie Dog. She was a wonderful pet while she was here. Providing vast amounts of comfort when we needed it most, Dixie will never be forgotten.