Friday, June 3, 2011

We Love You Roxi

Roxi, February 2008

We're approaching the one week mark of Roxi's departure, and it has been an adjustment. So strange. So quiet. Backbreaking too, having to bend over to pick up those bits of food that fall to the floor. Having to dispose of the apple cores and carrot ends instead of tossing them her way. Returning to a quiet house each morning after getting Gaby on the bus. It's all so strange. Equally as strange is leaving food on the counter/table/anywhere! I baked cookies last Sunday afternoon, after Roxi left, and was able to leave them to cool on the island instead of guarding them during the baking process and moving them up to the top of the kitchen armoire. I took bacon out of the freezer and automatically put it atop the fridge to defrost for a bit. I was reminded by Marc that I didn't have to do that anymore. Nor worry about the pantry door being open. Or boogery tissues in the open trash cans. Why do dogs love to eat those anyway?!

Roxi & Abby, spring 2008

Puppy Training Graduate, spring 2008

While I don't have to think about rushing home on days that I'm out, as Roxi isn't used to my absence on a regular basis, I'd rather have to. Soon, there'll be no black dog hair tumbleweeds blowing across the floors when the windows are open. Still finding some today, but they're diminishing in number and in size. I'd rather be finding them and complaining, than to have Roxi gone.

But gone she is. Happily, she's with another family, so eager to have her join theirs that they made the return trip from the Pittsburgh area, over 5 hours each way, last Sunday. This, to have time with her at home before returning to their work and school routine.

Why no more Roxi? Well, it's a sad and somewhat tragic story. One that we can tell, but not completely understand. But it happened.

While I was in Winnipeg enjoying time with family and friends and looking forward to my high school's 50th anniversary celebrations, Roxi had a run in with another dog. A much smaller dog. Maybe one tenth her size.

Roxi weighed in at a trim 124 pounds at her vet visit in April. Down from a high of 137, which the vet advised was a bit too big for her breed. Now, she is big for a Bernese Mtn dog, especially a female, but she's long and tall so at 124, she's at an ideal weight.

We don't know why Roxi attacked the much smaller dog that was minding it's own business, strolling by with its young owner. We know that Roxi felt left out, with Nick, his friend, and Gaby, out front. And if she could find a way to join us, she always did. Roxi burst out the front door, which she was able to open on her own, and attacked the smaller Bichon. Had they been more equally matched, the injuries of the other dog wouldn't have been nearly as severe. But in large part due to that size difference, the smaller dog suffered deep puncture wounds and required extensive medical intervention to survive.

Our original plan for the weekend that this occurred was for Marc to leave for San Fran on Saturday and me to return from Canada on Sunday. The kids were covered for all of their daytime activities, and they were to spend the night at the neighbors. Our awesome neighbors! But after I found out that this had occurred, I changed my flights to return Saturday instead of Sunday.

No adults were involved in this incident. Marc was not yet home from work. The kids let him know what was going on, and I went back and forth between him and the kids, from my parents' home phone.

However this may sound, Marc's first reaction was to have Roxi put down. He seriously thought that would be our only option. Our vet's office was closed, and three area vets refused his request. They advised that this was out of character for the breed, and they wouldn't do it. Marc ended up contacting a rescue group instead.

When I returned home on Saturday, it was to a sad and somber welcome. I think the kids were pretty traumatized by what they witnessed. And sad that the wheels had been put in motion to remove Roxi from our home.

Being a bit of a coward, I waited til Sunday evening to call the other dog owner. It is awful to have an incident like this happen and have this poor dog suffering and be responsible for it. Most people, especially those who know Roxi, are surprised that this happened, and of course we were too. We can't figure out why.

In speaking to the other owner, she seemed calm and understanding, advising that she had paid the vet bills with her credit card, so that issue was on the back burner for now. She mentioned that her dog would still require more attention from the vet and that she would have to return with him, several times. She also gave the impression that she was sad that we were making arrangements for Roxi to leave us.

Something else she told me, that I found interesting, was that her vet stated they had seen a larger than usual number of dogs come in after being attacked by other dogs. The explanation? None. Now, it WAS a full moon, and also the eve of May 21st, the doomsday forecast by some crazy fanatic. It was already May 21st in the eastern hemisphere. We seriously don't know why this happened and can't speculate. We do know that it was out of character for Roxi. When we board her, she's turned out with other dogs of varying breeds and sizes on a regular basis and she's fine. They always love to have her spend time there.

Whatever the reason, we knew we couldn't keep her any longer. The rescue group called back on Monday, and didn't see any reason why they couldn't assist in finding Roxi a new home. But the earliest they could get out to assess her would be the following Sunday. While we weren't happy with this, that was the best they could do.
Of course our neighbors were brought up to speed on what had happened with my premature return and were as surprised as us at what had happened. Sue, being the Roxi fan that she is, told the story at work. She's a nurse, and works at a location where temporary nurses are brought in occasionally. In telling the story to Gina, one of these nurses, Gina recalled a nurse she had worked with in the Pittsburgh area who expressed an interest in having a Bernese Mtn dog. Sue told me and agreed to pass along our contact info. Short story is that we emailed back and forth, spoke on the phone, and made arrangements for them to travel to pick up Roxi last Sunday. I just had a really good feeling, between our emails and conversations, that Roxi was going to a wonderful home where she would be happy and loved. We're so thankful to Sue for the role she played in Roxi finding a new home. Karma.
In some ways, it seemed to happen so fast. We spoke late Saturday afternoon, and Missy advised they'd leave early Sunday morning, to facilitate the long round trip. We gave Roxi a bath Saturday, no small feat with a pup that size, and spent Sunday morning packing up her things and just staring at her.

I would usually insist that Roxi get off of the couch, but on her last night with us, I backed off. She was happy cuddling Marc, oblivious to what was coming.

Nick had his weekly rehearsal at SOR Sunday morning, so he bid her farewell before he left.

Gaby's goodbye kisses were well before Roxi's new family arrived. She didn't want to be a part of those goodbyes. Can't say that I blame her.

Missy and her family showed up around noonish, stayed for half an hour or so, then packed Roxi up for the long trip home. They were as nice in person as on the phone. Their youngest son, who is Nick's age, came as well and I was reassured by his enthusiasm and excitement. We told them as much as we could and we all agreed to stay in touch. We loaded up Roxi's dog bed, food, toys, papers, meds (heartworm, flea & tick) and Roxi herself jumped up into their SUV. The second row seats were half up and half down, so Roxi could hang with her new young owner. We said our tearful goodbyes to both Roxi and her new family, and I was touched that Missy was tearful also. It was emotional for all of us, except for Roxi. She wasn't the least bit bothered about driving away in a new vehicle!

We texted on their return trip and received word that Roxi did well on the drive. Missy sent a picture then next day of Roxi relaxing in the yard, looking right at home. She did mention that their cat and Roxi had yet to warm to each other, but we all figured that would take time!

And a couple of days ago, I received word that the other dog was on the mend, which is a big relief to us. It would have been enough tougher to part with Roxi had the outcome been different. We're glad that only one family has to be without their beloved dog.

(Mother's Day 2011)

We love you Roxi.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sherri, I came to your blog via Julie's art journal sign-ups for June. So sorry to read this sad story. I'm glad that you were able to find a home for your dog where you know she will be loved and cared for, but I'm so sorry that you had to say good-bye to her.