Though Roxie was only with Kevin and Amber for two years, she made a big impact. They were searching for a companion for their other bulldog when they heard about Roxie. The dog they meant on a Saturday morning in June was the saddest, smelliest pile of fur and bones they had ever seen. With a bum leg and huge under bite, she immediately stole the hearts of Kevin and Amber, they were smitten.
Not knowing much about her background, only that she had been neglected and half starved, they suspected she came from a puppy mill or backyard breeder in part due to her advanced skin condition and poor socialization. It was evident that she had been accustomed to fending for herself and that food was the way to her heart. Roxie wasn't crazy about Amber's other bulldog Millie and it was clear she had never had much interaction or love not knowing what a toy or "play" was.
Over time Roxie learned to trust and claimed her spot as the Queen of the Bulldogs. She would march out into the kitchen and not bark, but "YARK!" when it was dinner time. She would push her metal bowl all over the floor, clanging it on the wall until someone came to feed her. She loved to go for rides, especially when they ended at the creemee stand. She never learned to whine- when she wanted something, she would tuck her tongue into her mouth (it always stuck out, like she was blowing raspberries) and growl softly, making it ripple like waves lapping on the shore of a lake. The first time Amber saw her pick up a toy, her heart swelled with pride. Watching her blossom into a happy and comfortable bulldog was the most rewarding experience of Amber's life. She let Amber and Kevin love her and in turn loved them back.
Her will to live is what brought her to Amber and Kevin. Roxie was never completely healthy, but they were able to keep her under control with medicine and constant trips to their wonderful veterinarian. Previous years of neglect and poor care began to take its toll on her body; eventually she began to decline- first with the discovery of heart disease, then the development of Cushing's disease. It was a death sentence- one they chose to let take its course. Through it all, she just kept pushing forward, growling and yarking the whole way. Her last morning with Amber and Kevin was the first time she had shown signs of discomfort. By the time the vet came to their home, she was already slipping away. Amber felt a piece of my soul go with her the moment she left this world.
In the fall, when the weather cools off, Amber and Kevin will make a pilgrimage to Stephen Huneck's Dog Chapel in Saint Johnsbury Vermont to place Roxie's picture among all of the other dogs gone before her. They had taken her there many times before, but this time, they will go with broken hearts and a pocketful of memories.
Roxie is more proof that rescuing senior dogs and dogs with health problems, is worth the risk, the love, lessons and memories she gave Amber and Kevin in her short time with them will last forever.