RIP Lexie


My dog died today.  Lexie.  Short for Alexis.

Lexie replaced his predecessor Zorba who died in December of 2001 after eating a bad fish.  We drove 500 miles from Vancouver Island, BC to Kennewick Washington to adopt Lexie.  I’d found him on a “Border Collie Rescue” website.  Shocked by Zorba’s untimely departure, I wanted another Border Collie.

After a few weeks the boys told me Lexie was no Border Collie.  More a Springer Spaniel.  Yes, black & white markings like a Border Collie.  But the temperament of a Spaniel.  And such a nice dog he was.  Didn’t snap at children, as Zorba had.  But no fetching instinct.  I’d throw a ball, stick, bone or frisbee.  Lexie would look at me, bark wildly, then dash off to chase Merlin, who faithfully tried to bring the stick back, even as Lexie tried to yank it from his grasp.

I feel great remorse and guilt at Lexie’s passing.  Par for the course, given the terrain of my grief work over the past year. Yet Lexie had seemed so lonely, especially after Merlin died this last July.  Recently he’d just seemed to give up, not even running out to greet the car.  Then I realized he’d grown deaf and blind – I could walk up on him and he wouldn’t know I was there, until I touched him.  Then a week ago or so, Lexie just stopped eating.

“Failure to Thrive” is a condition I’ve heard of.  What causes it?  Lack of attention?  Lack of companionship?  Lack of love?  How this also resonates with my current inner struggle.  Isn’t that how my marriage died too?  Didn’t I stop paying attention, stop coming home, stop caring, stop loving?

I know I shouldn’t be that harsh in self judgment.  I know I gave everything I could to my relationship, to our mutual ventures – home and restaurant and family and lifestyle.  In the end, I came out to parts of myself I’d neglected, not a fault of the marriage or my partner – rather an expression of sexuality that didn’t fit into a monogamous commitment.

As to my relationship with my dog – I just wasn’t able to care for Lexie like a loving dog owner should – like one cares for a child, like a companion, who you take everywhere you go.  That I did not do.

I am haunted by the memories of Lexie watching me drive away from the home, his pleading look, “Why don’t you take me too?”  And haunted by the sad, weak dog face that looked up at me two days ago, seeming to say, “Do I know you?”  Barely able to get up, smelling of death as he exhaled.

RIP, Lexie.  You deserved better care from your Master.

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