Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Tribute To My Lexie

I have to talk about my little Lexie and losing her, and Killer Hobbies feels like the best place to do it--partly because she was such an inspiration to my writing, one of the main reasons so much of my work now includes dogs.

You see, I've been owned by Cavalier King Charles Spaniels for a long time.  They're all special to me, including my remaining, adorable nut-case Mystie, who will never grow up. 

But among them all, Lexie was the most special.

She became part of my family thirteen years ago.  I began writing my first cozy mystery series, the Kendra Ballantyne Pet-Sitter Mysteries, not long afterward.  Kendra was a lawyer who lived in the Hollywood Hills with her tricolor Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Lexie.  And yes, you may be aware that I was then a practicing lawyer, I live in the Hollywood Hills... and then there was Lexie.  The first Kendra book, SIT, STAY, SLAY, has a cover depicting a cartoon Cavalier resembling Lexie.

Lexie taught me a lot about how dogs can communicate and love like humans.  She could tell time and always let me know, starting about an hour before her dinner time, that mealtime was approaching.  Recently, when she needed a pill around noon, she'd tell me that time, too--since she got her pills in food she liked.

She liked to walk.  She liked to run.  And we have a nice, large backyard that she liked to explore and exercise in.  Since she got treats when she used that yard as doggies do, she would look up at me when she was done to make sure I saw her.   Plus she would wag her tail.  She wagged her tail often, especially while looking me in the eyes.

She constantly gave me orders.  As she aged, she liked sleeping in front of a particular air conditioner vent near the floor and would stand near it and look at me till I turned the air on for her.  Her mobility began to decrease recently, and she let me know that she no longer wanted to walk down the two tile steps from our entryway into our living room by standing there barking one day till I figured it out.  Mostly, though, she wasn't bothered by her dwindling mobility.

In fact, with all her problems, she was always happy, looking into my eyes despite her increasing vision issues, cocking her head (partly because of her vestibular disease), and giving little air-licks of happiness to show she appreciated how close we were.

But Lexie was a Cavalier.  And despite current breeders often being better about breeding parents whose health is acceptable, Cavaliers still get mitral valve heart disease.  Till Lexie, mine were all diagnosed with it at around age five.  She didn't get it till around age ten... and she went into heart failure a year ago, at age twelve.

I stayed home from a recent family trip my husband took since I was too worried about Lexie's health to go, though I was concerned she'd leave us before his return.  She didn't.  She started declining more a couple of days before he was expected back... and when we took her to her cardiologist and she didn't respond well to the additional medication, it was time. 

She crossed the Rainbow Bridge exactly a week ago, on Wednesday, October 12.

We all miss her, including her sort-of sister Mystie, who is getting more attention, of course, but is clearly depressed.  We will most likely get her another Cavalier companion--for us, too.

But not as a replacement for our Lexie.  That would be impossible.

Bye, Lex.  We love you.

P.S.  I'm aware that my photo when I answer comments shows Lexie with me.  I'll keep it that way, at least for now.


Anonymous said...

When you have furr babies, your life is richer and you can be a better person if you allow your baby into your heart. I have had people tell me it's just a dog or cat. No, when you let them into your heart, they take care of you just as much if not more than you do for them. So sorry for your loss. daw655 (at)hotmail (dot)com

Linda O. Johnston said...

You are so right. Our pets are important and beloved family members. Thanks so much for your sentiments.

GBPool said...

I know you will miss Lexie, but she is only a memory away. And it is true that we are able to call them up at will and remember all the good times. They are the only ones that remain.

Linda O. Johnston said...

You're right about those memories. I keep seeing her out of the corner of my eye...

Cheryl Corbitt said...

No new pet replaces a beloved fur baby, but your heart stretches to be filled with more love.

Linda O. Johnston said...

How true, and how sweet, Cheryl.

BonnieS said...

This is a very touching and clearly heartfelt post. I've been where you are, and there are no words that can ease the pain of your loss. I do know, however, that the day will come when you can think of her with a smile instead of tears. And that's why we are able to take on another four-legged friend, even knowing sorrow may lurk at the end of the road.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Thanks, Bonnie. I've been here before, too, and know I can move forward, but Lexie was particularly special and I'll always miss her.

Judy Greenwald said...

A beautiful tribute, a pet is a beloved member of one's family!

Judy Greenwald said...

A beautiful tribute, a pet is a beloved member of one's family!

Monica Ferris said...

Sleek sable Ozra, royal Dane,
Small Jetsam, of strange pedigree,
Bolo, who crossed the Spanish main,
And shy, devoted Scotch Dundee,

And all that eager trusting band
Who lived their lives as best they knew;
Who thrust wet muzzles 'gainst my hand,
And gave me love beyond my due;

So gallantly each played his part
That no new friend usurps his place.
In quiet corner of my heart
Each owns, still warm, a bedding space.

I'll not believe their jaunty tails
Are drooping in Death's gloomy pound -
But one by one they found the trails
That lead to some far hunting ground.

I hope it breaks no holy laws
If 'neath God's table they ae fed;
I like to think their spirit paws
May dig Elysium's garden bed.

And He who fashioned grass and trees,
And cars for sparrows, beasts and men,
May let them press against His knees
And stoop to stroke them now and then.
-Burges Johnson, in *Sonnets from the
Pekinese*, 1935

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, what a wonderful tribute to Lexie. I can see how special she was to you.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Thanks, Judy. Yes, Lexie was definitely a member of our family.

What a lovely poem, Monica. Thank you.

And yes, Betty, Lexie was definitely special to me.