I can't believe she's gone. I have had this post in my head for a couple of days...started it..and then stopped...started again...stopped again. It's hard to find the right words to span the last nearly 11 years and to explain just how deeply intwined into our lives Lexi was.
She was just four months old when she came to live with us. I had been talking to her breeder Cherie for quite sometime from Chris and I's little apartment in Victoria. I desperately wanted a dog again and it had to be a Doberman, a breed I had wanted since I was a child. Chris and I had been house hunting and when the right place became available we moved out of the apartment and into a house with a yard, and and Lexi came home shortly after.
I know that everyone always thinks their dog is perfect but Lexi really was. She was born an old soul and was always a perfect lady. She never had an accident in the house, she never barked and whined, she never chewed anything (except once...most surprising the corner of our couch which we still have to this day), she was never a crazy and wild puppy (although her and Chris always loved a good wrestle on the floor...one of her very favourite games), she made dog ownership look easy.
I had never taped ears before and was so nervous about making a mistake. I drove back and forth to Cherie's several times for taping (about 45min each way) until she finally said to me..."you know you're going to have to do this on your own right?", and she was right. Chris and I would slowly and carefully tape her ears, using way too much tape and constantly questioning whether her ears were where they should be. She was endlessly patient of course, which in the long run turned out to be a good thing because she had one ear that didn't want to stand and we ended up taping her ears until she was ten months old. They were perfect though, we made sure of that, and she always used her ears well so the persistence was worth it.
Lexi was originally supposed to be a show dog and the foundation for Braebrook Dobermans but it was not to be. She really did not enjoy showing. She was never a dog to stand out and put on a show, much preferring to stay in the background and observe. She only ever entered the ring twice and was once reserve. After chatting with Cherie we decided that Lexi would just be our much loved pet and London joined us. She would go on to take the place that Lexi was meant to have as our foundation bitch and the two of them were absolutely inseparable.
Until London came along Lexi had a horrible time with traveling in the vehicle. She wouldn't last more than a five minute trip before throwing up, but from the first trip with London she never threw up again.
I lost many of my pictures when my computer crashed a couple of years ago and so don't have some of the very sweet ones of Lexi and the kids when they were really little. I cried when it happened originally as I was so upset about losing the kids pictures and I find myself shedding a tear again now when I am looking for pictures of Lexi.
She was always excellent with children and loved her own fiercely. When Ella was first born I had to put Lexi in our bedroom when the neighbours came to visit as she didn't think anyone should be coming near "her" baby.
Ella and Lexi on Ella's first day of kindergarten. She was always there, for the milestones and for the regular every day stuff too. It's what makes having her gone feel so strange...like a part of our day is missing. Ella has taken it particularly hard and there have been many tears.
She was a very intuitive dog and always wanted to be near you if she felt like you needed her. Here she is keeping an eye on Enya after Enya's surgical implant to Trotyl.
Lexi was always quiet and unassuming, but she was a constant fixture in our lives. It was thanks to her that I met her breeder Cherie who has become one of my dearest friends and also thanks to her that Chris got his first job in the field he now works in (it's amazing the people you meet walking dogs). Ella learned to walk holding on to her, she was endlessly patient and while I don't have the pictures to show it she was quite happy to be "dressed up" in people clothes much to the amusement of her little charge.
Or as one of Santa's reindeer if that's what was preferred.
She loved going to my parents in Sayward and running on the beach of the Salmon River. She was never a swimmer but loved to wade around belly deep, splashing and playing and half heartedly chasing the sticks we would throw.
As faces get grey and kids get older you become very aware that time is passing. You try not to think about that fact that your dog is getting old, but as each birthday passes it is of course inevitable.
Lexi had never had a particularly strong rear and as she aged it was one of the first things that started to go. That combined with a loss of bladder control ( a result of being spayed, and meds were no longer working ) made things very difficult for both her and for us. Constant bedding changes and even diapers (which she did not like wearing) were not enough to save our hardwood floors where the dog beds are. When Lexi was a puppy we trained her not to go on the couch, a rule that has gone out the window over the years, and even with great coaxing she would never get on the couch. It just wasn't right in her mind and she was a very black and white dog. In the end it was a good thing as it saved our couches (and we get to keep the one with a chew mark on the corner to remember her by).
A couple of months ago she started to deteriorate very quickly and got to the point where walking was very difficult for her and she fell constantly. She often needed to be packed into the house from the yard as she just couldn't do it on her own. Last week I had a long talk with my vet about her condition, I knew I had been putting it off for too long but it is so hard to make that final decision. She agreed with my assessment that it was time. A few days later after everyone at home had gotten a chance to say goodbye we made the very tearful and difficult trip to the clinic. She went very peacefully while I cried like a baby, kissed her head and told her I loved her. Her beautiful grey face and cloudy old dog eyes will be forever etched in my memory but I know in doggy heaven she is able to run again.
Sleep softly my sweet girl....
I know you will be waiting on the other side for me...