Losing Lexi

Sherri Gardner HowellFarragut, Kitchen Table Talk

With most things in my life, I try for perspective. Events – sad, happy, tragic or joyous – are best accepted and/or enjoyed if kept in the right proportion. I’m not a teenager anymore, and I don’t care to relive those “everything is epic” teenage days.

Our sweet Lexi

I tell you that so that you will know that there are many things on my heart right now, terrible things going on with people I love. A cousin, one of the kindest, sweetest women in the world, is dealing with an unexpected double loss that has the whole family reeling. A former colleague has just been through weeks of fear and uncertainty as her husband fights his way back from a stroke that happened while they were on vacation. And there are others …

So, in perspective, the death last Thursday of our sweet, beloved little dog, Lexi, is sad, but bearable.

Logically, she had a long life for a little dog, and she had a good life, filled with love.

Illogically and out of perspective, I want to cry every time I walk in the door and she isn’t there to greet me. Illogically and out of perspective, my heart hurts, and I just want to hear that little bark and that snorty snore one more time.

Lexi was 2 months old when my neighbor, Meg, and I brought her and her half-sister home to live in our houses. Lexi and Mattie had the same Yorkshire terrier dad. Lexi’s mom was a Chihuahua, while Mattie is a full Yorkie.

I named her after my beloved hometown of Lexington. In the early days, Lexi went to work with me often at Blount Today, sitting in my lap while I worked. She would fit in my purse in the beginning, but her love of treats and our tendency to spoil her soon made another way to travel necessary, so I bought her a fancy dog carrier.

With Neville and me both working, we worried about Lexi not getting to go outside to relieve herself during the day. We worked some long hours in the early days of Lexi becoming part of our family, so we trained her to use puppy pads in the house.

We were quite pleased with our solution, happy in the knowledge that she would never need to be uncomfortable if we were gone all day. Problem was, Lexi was a smart little pup, and she loved her treats. She didn’t want to waste an ounce of pee if no one was there to see her – and therefore give her a treat.

We would come home to completely dry puppy pads until the moment we walked in the door. As soon as she was confident we were watching, she would run to the pad and let it go, then prance back to get her treat!

Once my husband retired and was at home more than I was, Lexi switched her loyalty. Truthfully, she always chose Neville over me (he was a complete pushover in the “treats” department), but she loved us both and would divide her couch time between us.

If you are a pet owner, you know how completely a dog and/or cat can capture your heart. Lexi held ours in her paws. She entertained us, and she loved us, as we did her.

We do take comfort in the absolute fact that Lexi had a wonderful 14 years as an integral part of our family. We always considered her needs in our plans, and she led us to make some new, good friends along the way.

I was out of town when Lexi’s little heart suddenly began to give out, but her Neville was with her, and she got immediate care. I prayed she would hold on, but she just couldn’t.

I look for perspective, and I am grateful for so many things: the number of years we had, the happy little dog she always was, the love she gave and received. We will be fine, but we will always, always hold her memory close. Pets are godsends, and we miss our little blessing named Lexi.

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