Memories of Roxie

Roxie's birthday was February 24, 1988.

There is an entry in my journal for Sunday, April 17, 1988. "After dinner last night we bought a puppy. She's a Labrador and Sheltie mixture. There was an advertisement in the Post for the puppies at $95. They were way out in Damascus. The kids have named her Roxanne (Roxie)." I remember that at the kennel the owners brought all the puppies of the litter in, and Roxie was the one that was the most assertive and friendly. On Monday of that week our cat Sota had died a day before she was scheduled to be put to sleep.

On Roxie's first night in our home, we used a board to barricade her in a corner of the kitchen near the window. That night she climbed over the board. She slept in Doug's room for the rest of that night, and both kids slept with her

During her early months we continued to barricade Roxie in the kitchen area using boards and kiddy gates. I think we kept her out of the dining room and parlor area for many years. In later years, the parlor in front of the windows was her favorite spot.

On Saturday, May 21, 1988, my journal says, "Yesterday we got two kittens, a black male called 'Bat' and a grey striped female called 'Misty'. The kids have been very excited. Roxy weighed 14 pounds on Tuesday, May 17." From time to time, I would pick up Roxie and step on the scale with and without her to get her weight.
As a pup, Roxie chewed on things. She gnawed off a corner of the kitchen cabinet and the board along side the stairs, both of which still show her marks. One day she ate a Bill Cosby record album. She continued to chew on things until she was 2 years old.

She liked to tease me when outside playing. We would exercise by throwing a frisbee for her to catch and retrieve. It became harder and harder to get her back after these sessions. She could and did run circles around me. We stopped releasing her from her leash and just walked her. That continued for years.

Sometimes we put her in a kennel when we went on vacation. She was always very excited and happy when we came to get her after vacation. She would pull us on her leash all the way back to the car.

Roxie loved to greet people when they came home. One spring afternoon in 1990 Gail put her on the back deck, closed the screen door, and forgot her out there. When I got home from work, she was so eager to greet me that she charged right through the screen door.

During the middle years, we returned to throwing the frisbee for her in the field next to our house. Later we used tennis balls instead of the hard frisbees out of concern for her teeth.

She was a good watch dog, always barking when someone or something moved in the yard. One day a contractor-supervisor who had people working in the Hoffhein's house next door got the wrong address and accidently walked in our front door. Roxie was right there to greet him with a wagging tail. She was not a guard dog.

Roxie loved to meet, greet, and sniff the back ends of people. She did not get along well with other dogs. She tried to dominate them, and this usually resulted in growling, barking, and nipping. The owners of other dogs kept them away from her.

Roxie also would sniff the back ends of cars.

She seemed to love fresh, light snow, and would stick her nose into it.

Tumors grew on her. We had major operations to remove them on two occasions, once to take one off her shoulder and once to take one off her right hind leg. Both times, she had a slow convalescence, and had to wear a T-shirt to keep her from disrupting the healing of the incision. At the end of her life, she still had many little lumps over her body. I wonder if there were lumps inside her body as well.

She often slept lying on her back with all four legs up.

When she grew older, she developed a fear of thunderstorms. Sometimes they would drive her upstairs to try to hide, even after her hind legs grew too weak to get her there normally. We'd have to carry her downstairs afterwards. Sometimes she would lock herself in the downstairs bathroom.

Roxie drank water from the downstairs toilet, the magic fountain.

For many years, we fed her dry, pellet food - Science Diet, or some other brand. Then she began to have diarrhea. The vet had us feed her canned lamb and rice softened with bullion. After that, she only got canned dog food, generally chicken and rice. But we also had to give her hard biscuits to keep her teeth clean. At one point, she had a bladder infection, and we were instructed to give her salty bullion to make her drink more water and pee more. She loved uncooked green peppers and any leftovers from the table. She liked to finish off the cat's after dinner treats, sometimes even before the cat got to them.

She became mostly deaf by the end of 2000. She seemed to hear sharp noises like claps and thunder, but not voices or barks.

In January 2003, we left her at home in care of Pat's Pet A Go Go while we visited Doug in San Diego. When we got home from the trip, we found a strange plastic collar around her neck. What was this? Something to keep her from licking or biting at an injury? We called the pet man, but he didn't know where it came from either. It just appeared around her neck one day. He wondered who else was coming into the house. Then I found that the swinging lid was missing from the wastebasket in the downstairs bathroom. She had stuck her head into the trash, and had gotten the cover wedged around her neck. Luckily it wasn't

too tight to prevent her from breathing or eating. It was hard, but I managed to get it off without taking off any of her ears.

Roxie lived 95% of her life within the four walls of our house, an idle prisoner. Could she have had a productive and useful life on the outside, as a sheep herder, a rescue dog, etc.? She was pretty with long red hair, a well proportioned body, and a head shaped a little like a fox, and she was smart enough. In later years, when she had slowed down and we knew she would not run away, we sometimes trusted her to stay outside by herself. On these few occasions, she would often sit or lie in the front yard, watching over the happenings in the court.

We had her put to sleep on Saturday, July 26, 2003. She went peacefully and without any apparent distress, but with a lot of tears from us. We left her body lying on her left side under a blanket on the examining table at the Cherry Hill Shopping Center. Will her soul find its way home to Heaven? CJ had the inspired idea of burying her collar in our back yard near Sota and Bat.

Responsible: Al Holm
Updated: 14 Jan 2019