My little angel passed away this weekend. She was ripped away from us by sudden heart failure. My heart has never been so broken. She's recovered from other health issues (like hip/back problems) before and although she was diagnosed with a mild heart murmur early on, it had never bothered her before. She had a tumour in her mouth surgically removed last month but recovered quite well from that. She was back to her old self immediately after. She seemed really happy to have the tumour gone.
I want to honour and celebrate her life today. Lexie was my sidekick and travel companion for the past ten years. I was living in Brooklyn when I adopted her. She's been with me through thick and thin. Her Toronto home was quieter than Brooklyn and she really loved it here.
Lexie started her life in rural Arkansas. I adopted her from a breeder there who was using her to breed puppies. She wasn't even two years old and she had just had her second litter of pups. The breeder was giving her up because, apparently, she had trouble with labour. I don't know much about dog breeding but I thought she was too young to be bred. I also suspect she was neglected and bullied by other dogs. I like to think I rescued her from a less happy life. I fell in love with her the moment I saw her. I still believe she is the prettiest little dachshund I have ever seen.
One humbling lesson I learned not long after I adopted her was while on my commute home from work in NYC. She rode the train to and from work with me every day. An animal behaviourist struck up a conversation with me when she spotted me carrying Lexie in a bag. Having seen ‘The Dog Whisperer’ on television, I thought to ask her if she had a tip for how I could train Lexie to be less nervous on the subway and/or of loud noises. What she told me almost left me in tears. She said that there is no trick. I just had to learn how to love and accept Lexie for who she was. I instantly felt so guilty for thinking that she needed fixing. Learning this actually made me want to love and protect her all the more.
Lexie stayed exactly the same her whole life. I kept her nervousness in mind and did my best to work around it. She was a shy, delicate and sweet creature. But she was wise, serene and polite. She made up her own mind about who she loved and how much attention she wanted. She was occasionally aloof - which I must say, I respected. She didn't like everyone indiscriminately nor needed everyone to like her. She loved with conviction. I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of that love. She and my husband adored one another. She was loyal and gently protective of us. When I brought our baby home three and a half months ago, she squealed with joy, wagging her tail, running in circles and kissed our baby's face. I was moved to tears. She had seen my life journey and welcomed big changes with so much love. Her joyful greetings and kisses whenever we came home never got old. What I will miss the most are her long, soulful stares. Those eyes told me a lot. I understood her.
I am filled with so much sadness. I still expect to see her little body coming around the corner in our apartment. I still expect to feel her stand on her hind legs to ask me to lift her up. She didn't care for toys but LOVED food more than anything. My husband (a chef) would add his special touch to her dog food and fed her the best meals. We both miss spoiling her. She was such a good girl. She gave me life. I hope she's watching over our little family now, that she's somehow still around us.
Wherever you are, Lexie, I wish you peace. I hope I gave you the happiest life. I will miss you forever and ever.
So much love,
Lexie's life was well documented. In many ways, I celebrated her life in photographs. I've put these images together (in rough chronological order). This is mostly for me and my husband, but feel free to take a look. :)