Dixie arrived by way of a trade in the Summer of 1988...one red Miniature Dachshund pup for two Zebra Finches...her former owner having moved to an apartment where dogs were not allowed. Dixie's exact date of birth was never truly known, but she was estimated to be around four to six months old when she bounded through our front door. A lively and energetic little bundle, whose middle name could have been "stubborn," Dixie was a four-pawed contradiction. Bold to the point of being foolhardy, she stood ready (with bared teeth, bristling fur and threatening growl) to defend her territory against any canine invader, regardless of size. Yet, she would run with ear-shattering yelps from a paper towel which happened to float downward in her direction. A free spirit who was constantly seeking out adventure, she nonetheless liked nothing better than to curl up in a welcome lap or bask in the warmth of a friendly sumbeam for hours on end, happily wagging her tail.
Dixie was easily accepted by DiDiee (our Miniature Schnauzer, to whom this Rainbow Bridge Site is dedicated). But then, DiDee had already been with us for seven years, had always secure in her position and seemed willing to accept new arrivals with the minimum amount of fuss. The same could not be said for Dixie. With the exception of DiDee, Dixie was hostile to other animals...although she liiked people well enough and was constantly seeking out attention from visitors.
Dixie never was what could be termed as a perfectly healthy little dog. Some of her puppy teeth had to be extracted in order to allow the permanent teeth to emerge and she suffered all her life from some type of neurological disorder which was never diagnosed with any certainty. Her eyes appeared a solid black, with no iris to speak of...a sign, so we were told, of an undefined neurological condition. At the age of nine, one of her vertebra cracked. By now, she was more plump than was really good for her, but all attempts to stem her ravenous eating habits proved fruitless...did I mention she was stubborn? Emergency surgery was performed to remove the cracked vertebra in order to prevent paralysis of her back legs. It was a difficult time. During recovery, she took to "star-gazing." A term used by veterinarians to describe a "staring-off into space" with little or no interest in surroundings or food. This is far from a good sign, but Dixie pulled through and the removal of the vertebra appeared to have no effect on her ability to move normally for the rest of her life. Nevertheless, Dixie's continuing medical problems seemed without end...ear infections...decaying teeth...skin disorders...to name but a few.
Around 1999, Dixie developed a cyst in one of the toes on her front right paw which necessitated several lancings until the toe itself was eventually amputated. Again, this had no effect whatsoever on her ability to get around and, even in her declining years, Dixie managed to embark on one or two unscheduled jaunts into the wide world, from which whe was always fortunately returned by the kindness of strangers...unharmed and none the worse for wear. During the last year or so of her life, quite deaf and eyesight impaired, Dixie was diagnosed with Cushings Disease which caused her to lose patches of fur and have limited control over her bodily functions. A decision (both personal and professional) was made not to put her through the rigors of a treatment plan...given her age and the fact that such treatment rarely prolongs life expectancy. By now, Dixie had been through enough.
Dixie's veterinarian expressed the hope that the "little old lady" would pass away at home and not have to be euthanised. That wish came true. Dixie died at the age of fourteen, wrapped in her favorite blanket, during the early hours of October 30, 2002. She had reverted, during most of the previous day, to "star-gazing" once again. Her death was not totally unexpected, but still a shock to those who knew her. Dixie was rather like the proverbial "creaking gate." She had survived much and managed to give the impression that she might well be immortal.
I like to think that DiDee was waiting to greet her long-time companion at Rainbow Bridge, to show her the ropes and provide a guided tour...and I wonder how many unscheduled jaunts that dauntless Miniature Dachshund by the name of Dixie has taken into the wide world beyond since her arrival.
Run free, my dear spirited "little old lady." Nothing can stop you now!
What follows is a personal poetic tribute to Dixie.
It was penned shortly after she arrived in 1988.
Dixie the Dachshund, what am I do do?
There surely was never a rascal like you!
You've chewed up the cushions...chewed up the rug.
There's no place in the garden where you haven't dug!
You bark at the neighbors...you chase every truck.
One day you will find that you've run out of luck!
And then, when I call you, you refuse to come.
I know you can hear, but you choose to play dumb!
When you are scolded, you look so confused,
As if you are saying: "But what did I do?"
It's hard to imagine a dog small as you
Could get up to such mischief the way that you do!
You're full of high spirits...I know that's a fact!
But when will you learn the correct way to act?
If you can't behave, then I'll get you a muzzle.
Perhaps that will teach you to stay out of trouble!
But when you are tired, in need of a nap,
You curl up so tiny and lay in my lap.
So peaceful, so quiet...it's hard to believe
The disasters that such a cute bundle can weave!
My Dixie the Dachshund, what am I to do
With a mischievous, fun-loving rascal like you?