A week ago we got the news—Dame Dixie had taken her last walk around her neighbourhood in Calgary. And, true to her “life is good if you don’t weaken” philosophy, she would have extended that last excursion if her walker hadn’t needed to get to work.
She turned sixteen last month. Sixteen years is impressive on its own for a breed that has a life expectancy of ten to twelve. And then there was the cancer that she battled and conquered five years ago. They didn’t expect her to survive more than a year. She not only survived, she thrived, continued to walk three times a day, and gave her people the gift of many more years of her companionship.
We visited Dixie the weekend before she died. She seemed a little tired. They’d been on a trip to the west coast and she was feeling like it might have been her last long journey. She found the hours on the road more difficult than ever before, and not because she suffers from travel anxiety like me. It’s just tough for us old guys to adjust to changes in routine and sleeping arrangements.
The purpose of the trip was to pick up a new camping trailer and, as much as she loved the new home-away-from-home and the idea of summer adventures in the mountains, Dixie was concerned her humans would curtail their travel plans to suit her. And that didn’t suit her at all. She’d always been up for going anywhere Gord and Spring chose to venture. I think that’s why she decided it was time for that last walk. And trust me, she did decide.
The photos in this post are all from Dixie’s visits to the farm last year. She loved it out here and we were sure happy to have her. We’ll miss her gentle presence, her clever mind, and her never-quit attitude toward walks.
Next time we visit Gord and Spring, it won’t be the same without Dixie there at the door to greet us when we arrive and say goodbye at the end of the night. But I’ll just curl up in the backyard den she let me use the last time we were there, and I’m certain her spirit will linger in that place.
Rest in peace, Dame Dixie, and enjoy your walks beyond the rainbow bridge.
By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,
Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.
Where the friends of man and woman do run,
When their time on earth is over and done.