It has been nearly a month since we said our goodbyes to our beloved yellow Labrador Retriever. We rescued her in May of 2006, just two months after we put down our Rottweiler, Fritz. I was ready to be done with pets at that time, but with the passing of my spouse in 2001 and now the dog, my family kept getting smaller and smaller, leaving just me and my then eight-year old son. Also, the boy had never known life without a dog, as Fritz was our “first-born.” We adopted Biloxi Blue just shy of her second birthday. (We got her from a Lab rescue in Indiana. I recently learned that in all of the years that Jan and her friends operated the rescue, they were able to find homes for over 700 Labs.) Upon bringing our new dog home, my son had trouble remembering her name, so I shortened it to Lexi and then later tagged on “Lou.” So, Biloxi Blue, which to me sounded like the name of a race horse, became Lexi Lou.
Miss Lexi provided us with companionship and unconditional love for just under eleven years. She was sweet, affectionate and hugely loyal-a word in the Lab world that can be synonymous with shadow or stalker. Wherever I was, that was where Lexi had to be. She followed me from room to room as I performed chores, sat outside the shower while I bathed, and insisted on joining me for “other” bathroom duties as well. She was exhausted on Mondays from all of the “shadowing” that went on over the weekend.
Her passing has been exceptionally difficult not only because her daily presence is missed and my daily routine has drastically changed, but also because she is my last dog. I will blow out 57 candles on my cake in August. I do not want to take on another 10-13 year commitment to a pet. Mr. Joan and I are semi-empty nesters, and want to enjoy the freedom to pick up and go at will. I will always cherish the love and affection provided by all six of the dogs I have shared a portion of my life with-Kessie, Shosha, Misha, Natasha, Fritz and Lexi. And while I am fairly certain that there will be a “grand-dog” in my future, my days as Dog Momma have come to an end. I would like to think that I have been a good Mom to my four-legged family members. My own mother used to joke that in her next life, she wanted to come back as one of my dogs!
There is so much I already miss about having a dog in my life. I miss your sloppy kisses. I miss your insistence on being a lap dog, though the smallest dog I owned weighed 40 pounds, but most were 60-110 pounds. I miss our daily walks, which provided us both with exercise, but also enabled me to meet tons of neighbors over the years. I miss the back and forth of a great game of fetch. I miss the way you hung your head out the car window, the wind blowing back your ears. I miss the smile on your face. Yes, dogs do smile.
I like to believe that we are reunited with our dogs when we cross over, just like we reunite with our family members who have gone before us. So, until we meet again, I will miss you.