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Goodbye, Sweet Dixie

It has been said that a puppy is a heartbreak waiting to happen. That statement has never been more poignant because, today at 4pm, our awesome vet will be coming to our home to help Dixie take a walk over the rainbow bridge. It’s something we have debated for quite some time and I’m not ashamed to admit that I have thought the time was right for her to go for a while. Dale, however, was not there yet and he has struggled with this decision greatly. But, even he has come to realize that her quality of life is practically nil.

dixie with frosty paws for carole knits

She is 14 years old and that is old for a yellow lab. Our vet told us over a year ago that Dixie had beaten the odds.

She is blind. She mostly knows her way around our house and yard but there are times that she walks into things (sometimes it’s funny, I will admit) and there have been a few times where she has stumbled and fallen off the deck when negotiating the couple of stairs we have.

dixie july 2013

She is deaf. She can still sometimes hear me but she can’t hear Dale’s deeper voice and that is awfully sad because he is her person much more than I am. I think because of her deafness she thinks she’s alone a lot of the time and that breaks my heart.

Her hind legs are shot. She blew out her knee several years ago when she got so excited about going bird hunting that she jumped off the deck and tore something or other. Permanently. Since then she has been on a slow decline, physically. She can still (mostly) get up on her own but we can see that it’s a real struggle for her and we are worried that soon she won’t be able to do this and her last bit of dignity will go down the drain.

dixie christmas 2013

She barks all the time. And Dixie is a dog who never ever barked. Now, though, she barks and whines and cries and I firmly believe that she is doing this because she is scared and lonely and confused. We haven’t been able to find a way to keep her comfortable and it’s gotten to the point where she flinches when we pet her because she doesn’t know we are there.

And so, today is the day.

Dixie and Dale April 2000

We made this decision a little over a week ago and we have spent the time since spoiling her rotten. Honestly, eating is the only thing she enjoys anymore so she has had numerous servings of Frosty Paws and special cookies and hot dogs and yesterday we had a party so that everyone could come and pet her and love on her and tell her goodbye.

She’s the only dog I’ve ever loved and I’m grateful for every moment I’ve had with her. She’s been loyal and good and faithful. She has kept me company when Dale was out working late with the band. She played with Mason and she protected Patrick when he was a toddler. She went with us on vacation and in the car and to the beach. She loved the water and chicken more than anything in the world – except for us, because she surely loved us best of all.

Think of us today, won’t you? Send some love and comforting thoughts our way because we are going to need all the support we can get as we say goodbye to our girl.

This Post Has 63 Comments

  1. oh my friend, I feel your heartbreak. trust you’ll find peace in knowing it was the right decision. and so very glad you had all those happy years with her – great photos!

  2. I’m so sorry and my thoughts will be with you today. May you be at peace with your decision.

  3. What a lovely tribute for your beautiful girl who lived well and loved more! Wishing you peace and comfort today and in the days ahead. Godspeed Dixie!

  4. My heart goes out to you both. We have a yellow lab that is 14 also. Her name is Sandy. She is Dixie’s twin. She looks just like her. Her health is very bad also. I cried while reading your beautiful words. Sending you hugs, my friend <3

  5. A beautiful post for your wonderful and sweet Dixie. I feel your pain in making that tough decision. Sending love and hugs to you both. We have been on the cusp of the same with our black lab Rosie, though she keeps rebounding after each episode of decline. Keeping you all in my thoughts today.

  6. I’ll surely be keeping you all in my thoughts today. Here are some words for you and Dale today:

    “God turns clouds inside out to make fluffy beds for the dogs in Dog Heaven, and when they are tired from running and barking and eating ham-sandwich biscuits, the dogs find a cloud bed for sleeping. God watches over each one of them. And there are no bad dreams.” — Cynthia Rylant

    My beloved Jake will be waiting to welcome Dixie today. (He’ll show her where to find the ham-sandwich biscuits.)


  7. Sending all my love! I’m so sorry you have to say goodbye, but it’s with love that you came to this decision. Hugs!

  8. Oh Carol… I know how hard that decision is to make…. it is the most difficult one that is part of having a pet in your life, and the most loving gift we can give them. I love the quote from Kym – my dear cocker Molly, whom I helped make the walk last year, will also be waiting to show Dixie the best swimming holes, as that is what made Molly most happy.

    Sending lots of love for you and Dale today.

  9. My thoughts are with you and Dale on this hard day. I understand completely. Dixie will be comfortable soon and enjoying her days in doggie heaven. xoxo

  10. Our pets infuse themselves into our daily lives and bring us so much joy and conditional love. It’s hard and sad and painful when they are no longer around. My heart breaks for you, even more so because the loss of sweet Moxie is still so fresh. Our best to Dale and to you as you go through this last heart break with dear Dixie. Our thoughts are with you. xoxo

  11. You warned me, but I read your post anyway. And now I’m going to work with tears freely flowing – and I wouldn’t have it any other way, because Dixie is as much a part of my life as breathing, and I love the old girl. Sweet passage, my friend, I know you’ll be chasing ducks and swimming again soon <3

  12. I’m sorry Carole. Saying goodbye to a beloved pet is one of the hardest things. Thinking of you all.

  13. Oh poor Dixie 🙁 You’re right, it’s time. She will be in a beautiful place very soon where she can see and hear and run and jump and swim and eat chicken all day long 🙂 It’s never easy saying goodbye. Sending you guys comforting thoughts and prayers. Rest in Sweet Peace Dixie <3

  14. What an incredibly compassionate vet to allow Dixie to step over the Rainbow Bridge in the comfort of her familiar surroundings. I firmly believe that what you are doing is a real act of love for Dixie. In the coming days you will miss her terribly, but try to think of all the joys you all enjoyed with her.

  15. This is a beautiful post. I am so sorry for you and Dale. We had the same struggle with our Homer, several years ago. It is hard to let our dogs go. I’ll be thinking of you today.

  16. Dear Carole and Dale,
    Dixie is leaving this planet knowing that she was loved. There will be a new star in the sky tonight.

    I am including a prayer that has given me comfort in the past, and hoping that it will provide some comfort to you and your family.

    A Parting Prayer
    Dear Lord, please open your paradise
    And Call St. Francis
    To come escort this beloved companion.
    Assign her to a place of honor,
    For she has been my faithful friend.
    Bless the hands that send her to you,
    For they are doing so in love and compassion,
    Freeing her from pain and suffering.
    Grant me the strength not to dwell on my loss.
    Help me remember the details of her life
    with the love she has shown me,
    And grant me the courage to honor her
    By sharing those memories with others.
    Let her remember me as well,
    And let her know that I will always love her.
    And when it’s my time to pass over into your paradise,
    Please allow her to accompany me home.
    Thank you, Lord,
    for the gift of her companionship
    and the time we’ve had together.
    And thank you, Lord,
    for granting me the strength
    To give her to You now,

  17. We say that the reason Maynard stayed with us so long was because he loved us so much. I just know that that is how Dixie beat the odds as well. You gave Dixie a wonderful and loving home. A beautiful post, Carole. Sending our love to you all.

  18. my heart is breaking for you and Dale right now, and for Dixie. I know exactly what you are feeling. It’s why after 40 years with several dogs I don’t have one now. It’s so hard to let go. I wish you all peace and love.

  19. I am crying, too as I read this. I will be thinking of you this afternoon, and also in the days to come. I have never heard “A puppy is just heartbreak waiting to happen,” but it is true.

  20. Carole and Dale,

    It’s been 5+ years since our beloved Jake (also a yellow Lab) crossed over the Rainbow Bridge, and we are still talking about him and laughing at his antics. The last kindness we can do for our beloved four-legged companions is to not let them suffer when it is time for them to go, no matter how hard it is. Warm thoughts to you both.

    (My first comment on your blog.)

  21. Dale and Carole, may you find comfort in remembering all the joys of having Dixie in your lives and in knowing you have made a loving and unselfish decision. You know that all our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  22. How blessed you were to have such a wonderful friend for so long, and how blessed she is to have you now when she most needs you. I will be thinking of you and Dale not just today but in the days to come.

  23. It looks like Dixie had a wonderful life by the pictures you posted. Try to keep that in mind as you go through the following days. It’s so hard to let them go but it’s harder to let them suffer.
    I’ll bet that since she was a yellow lab that she was an exuberant puppy and into mischief. You gave her a super home and now you are doing the right thing.
    I’ll be thinking of you all this afternoon. So nice of the vet to make a housecall…

  24. Oh, Carole. It’s so hard to say goodbye, even when you know you’re doing the right thing. I will be thinking of you all at 4P as you say goodbye to your sweet Dixie.

  25. You were there for me when I wrote our beloved Minky’s obituary, and now it is time to say goodbye to your precious fur baby. It’s good that you have had the time to give her such a send-off weekend. Hugs and prayers for you all.

  26. Carole, I feel your heartache and I am crying with you. We had to do the same
    with our lab last year. It is difficult to let go but you are doing the right thing
    by not letting her suffer any more. Remember she was very fortunate to have
    had a very good life. Keep thinking about all the good memories while you get
    through this difficult time.

  27. Surely sending love and comforting thoughts today. This is never an easy decision to make, but you know when it is right.

  28. In tears for you. Anyone who thinks of a puppy as a heartbreak waiting to happen never really appreciated the joy of being loved by a dog. You two have given Dixie a high quality life.

  29. In tears for you. Anyone who thinks of a puppy as a heartbreak waiting to happen never really appreciated the joy of being loved by a dog. You two have given Dixie a high quality life.

  30. In tears for you. Anyone who thinks of a puppy as a heartbreak waiting to happen never really appreciated the joy of being loved by a dog. You two have given Dixie a high quality life.

  31. All dogs go to heaven. With tears in my eyes, I still know that it is a blessing that the vet will come to your house so that Dixie will be in familiar surroundings with her best-loved people around her.

  32. To love and be loved is the greatest of gifts. May you find comfort in your memories of a faithful companion. Thinking of you today–and in the days ahead.

  33. Your loving tribute has me in tears as well. I lost my beloved dog at 13-1/2 to hemangiosarcoma in 2/13 and I still miss her so. Puppies are a heartbreak waiting to happen and it is a tribute to their wonderfulness that, even in that knowledge, it is still better to have a dog by one’s side. It was important to me that my dog pass from this world in familiar surroundings, so our vet came to our home. I would not have a vet who doesn’t provide this compassionate service. You have some rough days ahead of you. I hope wonderful memories of Dixie help temper the sorrow. Thank you again for the beautiful post.

  34. Oh, Carole, my heart breaks for you and Dale, and the rest of your family. Having been owned by a chocolate lab for 13 1/2 years (and she’s been gone nearly 2 years), I’ve got a pretty good idea what you’re going through. They never stay long enough…

    Will be thinking of you today.

    Run free, Dixie. If you see my Gracie at The Rainbow Bridge, say hello for me. She’ll share her toys and treats.

  35. My eyes are crying for Dixie and you and Dale but my heart is full because I know that Dixie will leave here with love and loving memories. xoxo, Carole! It’s a hard day!

  36. I’m so very sorry. It is one of the hardest decision to make, but I hope you take comfort in doing what is best for your beloved pet. You are lucky to have had such a wonderful, loyal companion.

  37. Hugs to you all, letting go of our furry family is never easy.
    I’m afraid we are heading down the same road with our shepherd too. Such a hard road.

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