From time to time I will add an article of mine from a previous venture into this craft of writing. This one is near and dear to not only my heart but the sentiment imparted is an homage to the unconditional love my wife has shown to our dogs over the years.

Nearly a month ago we as a family lost another canine member of our family. Lexi was a female German Shepherd that we “saved” from a breeder of this beautiful breed of dogs down in North Fort Meyers, Florida. She was a peculiar dog in many ways but a loving dog to her family. Lexi was a rebound addition to our family during the month of February 2005. It was in that month that our ever faithful, fearless Samson had to be euthanized because of tumors and subsequent anemia that hit us all hard. He was a male German Shepherd, one-hundred twenty-one pounds of strength and perseverance. His last battle was a calm, peaceful trip to the veterinarians’ office. He wasn’t a fighter as much as a protector of his yard and family. We all know how territorial dogs are and Samson as well as all the dog’s we’ve owned have been the same, protect the yard and don’t mess with my family. More on Samson in another post.

With the sudden loss of Samson we researched breeders of German Shepherds in reasonable proximity to central Florida. We felt this breeder in southwest Florida would be a good choice and traveled the three hour’s to possibly replace Samson, maybe with a female and even thought we might breed her to have an eternal supply of German Shepherds. The breeder’s property was large with various pens and running areas for the adult dogs and an area we did not see where the pups were kept. It was not a place we initially were skeptical of but in hindsight maybe the love of the breed was not currently in the breeder’s heart. Quite a few people were in various stages of falling in love with these beautiful puppies, adults and children alike. We saw a couple that for some reason or another we were not enamored with and then they brought us a female, a little older than we were looking for (nearly three months) and she was the one. She wanted out of that place and we “saved” her.

Lexi would live (and bark) for nearly nine years. Early on our vet told us she had an umbilical hernia which was hereditary and breeding her would not be wise so we had her spayed. It didn’t matter that we couldn’t breed her, my family needed, if not a replacement for Samson, at least another dog we could learn to love and appreciate for all its warts and bad habits that all dogs are prone to have. Lexi had a smile almost until the end. She loved playing with a ball and actually catching it in the air. As a young dog she was quick and perceptive. Her instincts would have been great as a police dog or in search and rescue. She could be stubborn, like never wanting to give up a “ball” in which I quote since this “ball” was now just several pieces of rubber strewn about the yard that she played with until the end. The end occurred on November 8, 2013 about one month shy of her birthday. I came home late that night from some usher work at the Amway Center and was told by my wife and daughter that Lexi had died. It was heartbreaking; we lost another dog at such a young age. My wife, who has been the nearly sole provider, friend and Mom to our dogs for all these years, was struck the hardest. She knew Lexi was nearing the end; Lexi had slowed down immeasurably the last couple of months, if not years. Alongside Jack, one of our surviving two dogs, also a German Shepherd and pure black, Lexi could not keep up. Jack is swift and aggressive, Lexi was slow and deliberate. We laid Lexi to eternal rest on Saturday morning right near the side yard where she spent many days watching, resting and barking.

I never had a dog growing up; my parents just were not into dogs. My wife on the other hand had dogs her whole life growing up. She has brought the love of dogs into our family, especially into me. I didn’t know man’s best friend until my wife showed me they were also a woman’s best friend. Rest in peace Lexi, you will be missed.