Ms. Dixie "Diva" Nickerson -- Hurting for You
by K Nickerson
My Beloved “Ms. Dixie”
Ms. Dixie was my 6 year old Chihuahua who I adopted almost five years ago. I have never been a “pet” person. Dixie was actually adopted from a pet rescue as a companion for my sister who had recently loss her husband.
Well it was a great gesture – but it didn’t work out and 2 days later, Dixie was returned to me. I could not bear to return her to the Pet Rescue, so I decided (with my husband’s approval) to keep her. It was an instant romance between the two of us!
Dixie was a black and white Chihuahua mix. We become companions and best friends. Her love was absolutely unconditional. When I would leave for work in the morning, I would kiss her good-bye and when I returned in the evenings, she met me (every single day) at the door with pure excitement that “mama’s home!”
On Friday, November 16, 2012, my sweet baby died – instantly and completely unexpectedly! I had run errands earlier in the day and had made plans to have her groomed in the afternoon. Dixie’s favorite words were “Dixie – wanna go with me?” She would spring from my king sized poster bed and run towards me (and you may not believe this, but I swear she would be grinning). So I came home Friday and took my doggie from her bed (where she was just fine) and headed to my Vet to have her nails trimmed. Other than her normal show of keen dislike for the Vet, the visit was uneventful and we were on our way within 15 minutes of arriving.
We left the Vet and headed to get her favorite treat. She rode in my lap – watching cars, while I drove and motioning for me with her paw to rub her when I was at a stop light. We returned home no more than 20 minutes of leaving the Vet. Just so happened that my husband and son had arrived ahead of us. As my son was exiting the vehicle, Dixie started barking at him (he had on a cap and she couldn’t recognize him). So my son comes up to my car and as soon as recognized him, she greeted him with a wag and a kiss. So I put my car in park – which was Dixie’s signal to jump from my lap to the passenger seat as she prepared to exit the car.
I got out of the car and Dixie got out behind me and began to follow my son who was retrieving the trash can from the curve. As they began to walk up the drive, she stopped to bark at a neighbor who was at the mailbox and then at a neighborhood dog. I turned my back to her (just for a minute) to say something to my husband. As I was proceeding into the house, I said (as I always do) – “come Dixie.” At that moment my husband said, and these are his exact words, “child, Dixie is laying down in the driveway” – as if she was chilling. As soon as he said it I whirled around – because Dixie didn’t lie down outside no way – no how – ever! She walked outside, she did her business outside, she chased cats and squirrels outside but no sir, my Dixie wasn’t going to put her little body on the ground or the concrete – she was too diva for that.
When I turned around ya’ll, it knew it was bad! My baby was on her left side lying by my car, facing away from me. I immediately ran to her and scooped her up. Her eyes were fixed, her mouth was opened and her tongue was hanging. My husband started mouth to mouth and chest compressions; we hurried her back to our Vet (who is less than 10 minutes from our home). It was too late; just that quick she was gone. From getting her back rubbed while we were driving, to barking at my son, the neighbor, and the neighborhood dog – she was gone!
My heart hurts – literally. I’m crying every day. I don’t understand it. I question whether the Vet tried hard enough to revive her (unfortunately my Vet was off for the afternoon and an Intern was working). They say they gave her something to shock her heart but it didn’t work.
To sum up my loss, my grief, my pain, here it is: Dixie was in bed, just fine. I took her out of bed – away from home (mainly to have her nails trimmed) – and she never made it back to our bed!
We slept together; I miss feeling her in the small of my back. I miss her waking from her pillow and tunneling under the covers. Traveling home knowing she is not there is extremely difficult. I’m finally not having flashbacks of her last minutes as frequently. So each hour is just one step at a time. I miss her so much. I haven’t eaten since it happened. The grief is almost unbearable.
I can briefly camouflage my grief by reminding myself that Dixie was loved and she knew was loved. Dixie was pampered and she had no problem acting like a pampered Diva. I was told by the rescue agency, that Dixie had a very difficult start to life. Once she became mine, I gave her a loving home, protection, companionship, friendship and many, many belly and back rubs.
As she lay there on the table in the Vet’s office, I stroked her and talked to her (when I wasn’t screaming). I told her how much I loved her, how sweet she was, and that I was going to miss her. I held her, kissed her and stroked her back and belly (which she loved so much) for the last time and turned and walked away.
The pain is intense but my Dixie’s sudden passing reminded me of several things:
(1) to be prepared to love, you must also be prepared to hurt;
(2) life is fleeting and can change in an instant;
(3) I gave her my all – she wasn’t denied anything; so I have no regrets (other than taking her to have her nails clipped).
Thank you for letting me share my grief story.