Dexter

Random Thoughts has written a beautiful piece I’m strongly recommending, especially if you’re a lover of dogs:

DexterHe was a medium sized yellow Labrador Retriever mix, sitting patiently behind the chain link gate of the very last run in the kennel. Almost all the other dogs were barking, but not Dexter. He just sat there, gazing out, with a look on his face that said “What did I do wrong to end up in here?”

He’d done nothing. Nothing whatsoever. According to the papers clipboarded to his kennel, his name was Dexter and he’d been brought in with his sister Daisy two days earlier. The reason was simply stated: “DIVORCE.” He’d been brought in by a man, who had given the shelter a file of vet records, and those indicated that Dexter’s owner was a woman. The kennel sheet also bore the notations “Good with other dogs,” “Good with cats,” “Good with children,” “Loves to ride in cars,” and “Housebroken.”

He was, in short, the perfect dog. And he’d been dumped at the pound right after Christmas by an angry soon-to-be-ex-husband. His sister Daisy had already been adopted, but Dexter remained behind, bewildered but waiting patiently for someone to retrieve him.

“Stay right here,” I instructed Youngest Daughter, “I’m going to the office to get someone to let us look at him up close.”

And so I did. Unbeknownst to me, a few minutes earlier a woman with two young boys had also gone to get one of the attendants to let her and her sons interact with Dexter in the shelter’s grassy introduction pen. When the attendant came to get Dexter for the boys, she found me waiting with him. I sized up the situation, grabbed youngest daughter’s hand and said, “We’re waiting to see this dog.” So the attendant handed him over to us.

The mom with the sons tried to intervene, but her boys were a handful and far more interested in wrestling with each other than in the dog they’d ostensibly been about to meet.

Dexter for his part completely ignored the two boys, walked over to Youngest Daughter and nudged her hand as if to say, “You. I’m going home with you. I’m yours now.”

“We’ll take him,” I told the attendant.

“Dad’s gonna kill us,” Youngest Daughter told me.

“I’ll deal with it,” I told her. “This dog does not belong here. He’s going home with us.” And I filled out the shelter paperwork transferring ownership of Dexter to our family.

The only thing remaining to do was introduce Dexter to the Dalmatians, who had been waiting patiently in our minivan. I opened the van door, they looked at him, he looked at them, tails wagged all around, he jumped in the van as if he’d been doing it all his life, and they acted as if they’d known him all their lives.

Dexter became part of the family immediately. Even Mr. Random Thoughts (after a startled “Who’s dog is that?” upon seeing Dexter sitting in our kitchen) recognized the exceptional nature of this dog.

He was indeed housebroken, great with kids (including Youngest Son, a rambunctious 5 year old at the time) other dogs, both our cats, and perfect in the car. And he absolutely adored Youngest Daughter. She was His Girl. He was frisky when she was happy, knew when she was sad and in that unerring way the best dogs have, would rest his head on her knee as though trying to comfort her. They took long walks together, and when Youngest Daughter joined her high school track team Dexter would jog on the local trails with her.

Of course there’s more at RT’s place.  Do go and finish with her… but first heed this word of advice.  Stop now and get something with which to dab the eyes.  You’re going to need it.  Trust me.

The Dexter piece takes me back to my chronicling of Sadie, our own good girl, and how much she meant to us.  Hard to believe 11 years have passed since she entered our lives and nearly 6 since she left.

We’ve since picked up Harley and love him as much but God, do we sure miss Sadie.

Here’s hoping she and Dexter are romping together today, waiting on the big reunion.

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  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the article, Rick.
    Really touches the heart.

    Dexter reminds me of our old Black Lab, Bruiser.
    Vets say he only has a year or two left, if that. Needs pain meds to live somewhat comfortably.

    Most of his life, we tried to get him to bark on command. Tried everything we could. He was always silent. Then this year, after 9 years of trying, one of us said “woof” to him and he immediately responded with a bark. Tried it again, he barked. Works every time.
    And to be honest, he hasn’t shut up since. Never knew he had so much to say. He was just waiting for us to learn the correct word.

    • Anonymous

      Dogs train us, not the other way around.  They can be very patient.

  • herddog505

    Dexter for his part completely ignored the two boys, walked over to Youngest Daughter and nudged her hand as if to say, “You. I’m going home with you. I’m yours now.”

    That’s we got two of our three dogs: THEY picked US.

    Pretty sure that we got the better end of the deal.

  • Anonymous

    Very touching.  I love dogs. All dogs are good dogs.

    My favorite breeds are Boston Terriers and Great Danes. My wife and I had our 14 year old Boston put down a few weeks ago. Peanut is her name. (Peanut Butter Cup is her AKC name) Three years before that we had our Dane put down. Very heartbreaking. Until a couple weeks ago, we had a two year old Boston who seemed lonely so we just welcomed into our home a Great Dane puppy. The two are bestest friends and the wife and I get such a kick out of watching them play. Thanks for the post Rick.

  • Eight years ago this past Thanksgiving, I was driving through my woods at a point where it is about a mile’s drive to any public road and half a mile as the crow flies, but with intervening streams and thick areas.  I was on a road around an old field and there sitting in the middle of the road (more of a dirt car path) was a tiny puppy with her back to the Jeep.

    She looked over her shoulder to see what was there, and then ambled over to a two-inch thick pine tree and “hid” behind it.  I picked her up, the vet said she was just six weeks old and would have died within a day or two if our paths hadn’t crossed.

    She’s been a blessing, as have all my animals, nearly all of whom are rescues of one form or another.

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  • Anonymous

    We lost our black lab, Sable in Feb of this year. I still cry when I think of her. She was getting old and mostly okay, until suddenly, she wasn’t and within a few days she died with me beside her as she laid on the floor, unable to get up or eat or drink or anything.

    My son was home that weekend and helped me get her into the car and to the crematorium. It was such a blessing to have him there and it is a bond we will always share, being with her when she died and taking care of her together.

    Pets are such special additions to the family and there is no describing the pain when they go. Thank you for this very moving story. It is a reminder that we are all touched by love and loss in some way and that is what connects us.