Dixie was a purebred German shorthair, but she never put on airs. She was just everyday folk, and she was a beloved member of our family for sixteen years. Today, she went to sleep, and I pray that when she woke up in her heaven, it was a field filled with critters to chase, places to investigate, and that her body felt as young and limber as it did so many years ago here with us.
There’s so much I could tell you about Dixie. I could tell you how it always made Mom and me smile when we’d watch Dad leave the house in the pickup, Dixie sitting on the bench seat beside him, their two heads close enough together that Mom and I were certain they were sharing secrets known only to them.
I could tell you about the way Dixie liked to cuddle down on her bed at night with her bear – a stuffed animal Mom would buy for Dixie each Christmas. (But if Mom bought one with a squeaker in it, she’d have to operate on the toy and remove the noisemaker before giving it to Dixie because Dix never liked to think she was hurting the toy when she carried it in her mouth.)
I could tell you about sitting at the kitchen table, enjoying a meal with the family, and feeling Dixie’s gentle nudge on my leg with her nose, her soulful, big brown eyes begging for a taste of just about anything on my plate. She was rarely refused. And I should also tell you that the nudge came as she stretched her neck into the kitchen from the back porch, where her (back) feet stayed planted. She knew her place, but she also knew how much she was loved, and how much she could get away with because of it. She enjoyed many delectable bits from many, many dinners, and often she enjoyed her own scrambled egg in the morning, courtesy of Mom.
I could tell you about how she shadowed my dad wherever he went outside. As soon as that back porch door swung open to greet the day, Dixie was out and trotting towards the barn, checking everything out as she went, making sure everything was ok before Dad got there. She would – as I already mentioned – ride in the pickup with Dad, trot along beside the tractor wherever that tractor might be going, or walk with Mom and Dad (and us kids) whenever we had places to explore on the farm.
I could tell you she was the best dog ever, and she was. (You might argue, if you have a best friend of the four-legged variety living with you.) But what I really want to tell you is that we lost a member of our family today, and that we’re grateful we got to spend so many years with an amazing dog named Dixie.