Dixie Belle was a beloved Bichon Frise who was as much part of her family as any other member. She was also the constant and loyal companion of my friend Mary Beth. I always smiled when I saw the two of them walking briskly all over our little town in Colorado, which was pretty much every day.
Here is a lovely portrait of Mary Beth and Dixie:
Although Dixie was very sick in her last months, she was gracious and loving to the end. I present Mary Beth’s words here, minimally edited, which give us a poignant and touching remembrance of Dixie Belle:
- I could write tomes about how special Dixie was to us, how she changed our lives for the better, how she saved us from petty arguments by just running into the room at the right time, and how she sat next to me with her head in my lap when she knew I was lonely.
I spent much more time with Dixie than I did with Wayne in the 12 years we had her. When he was in New Orleans for 2-1/2 years, she was pretty much all I had. As you know so well, these wonderful little four-footed hairy people bring joy to us in a way that only they can do. They don’t judge, pout, or talk back. They just want our love, and even when they don’t get it, they continue to be loyal and devoted.
Dixie had what the doctor believed to be a cancerous tumor(s) on her spleen. He said surgery would not return her to her normal life though it might extend it. We opted to not put her through it.
She suffered her first episode in October 2008. Internal bleeding resulted in a blood count of 45. The normal range for dogs is 200-500, I think. Amazingly, she recovered, and seemed to have completely regained her energy and personality.
Then on Thanksgiving, during her late night trip outside, her gums turned gray and she collapsed in the snow. We took her to bed, put her between us, and spent the next several hours crying, thinking that each breath was her last. Again, she revived, and again left us befuddled but overjoyed with her recovery.
Finally, on December 10, 2008, after an active but short morning walk, breakfast, and a romp with me, she collapsed, breathing with great difficulty. She died in my arms about half an hour later, maintaining her sweet personality through it all.
This little dog should be an inspiration to humans. Death with dignity takes on a whole new meaning. I can only hope to be as brave when it’s time for me to meet her in heaven. And speaking of Heaven, if dogs aren’t there, then I don’t want to go!
She is buried in our backyard garden under a little yard plaque that says, “One is nearer God’s heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth.” We couldn’t think of a better epitaph. She has to be in God’s heart now because there’s such a huge hole in mine. I don’t think it’s just weird chance that DOG is the mirror image of GOD.