We lost our Dixie girl last week. It was completely unexpected and we find ourselves utterly heartbroken by her passing.

As some of you may recall, last summer she had some balance and coordination issues while we were in Maine and she was eventually diagnosed with a bulging disc in her spine. We put her on a course of steroids to reduce the pressure on her spinal cord which seemed to resolve the problem until last week when she suddenly lost all function in her back right leg. The disc had herniated and was now compressing her spinal cord.

We were about an hour south of Tucson and took her to an emergency specialty veterinary clinic on Sunday, January 28th. They admitted her and, the following day, her treating neurologist explained the situation. The short version was: she had to pass a bunch of hurdles – no cancers, no other disorders that would make her a bad candidate for surgery, she had to be healthy enough to withstand anesthesia, she had to have a fixable problem, and her spinal cord had to be healthy enough to regain function once he removed the acute pressure –  but assuming she passed all of those tests, he believed he could get her back to normal (for her). We went ahead (not that we had many options…) and Dixie passed every test with flying colors. The MRI showed she had one disc that was completely blown and 3 more mildly compressing the spine.

She underwent surgery on Monday and she did great. Every benchmark the doctors set for her, she met. We visited with her Tuesday evening and she looked good. Wednesday morning, at 10:00 a.m., the doctor called and said she was continuing to improve and he was cautiously optimistic that we might even be able to take her home on Thursday. That afternoon, as Kevin and I were in the car driving to the vet practice to see her during visiting hours, the phone rang. We assumed it was just their evening update call. But the news was nothing we could have ever imagined.

Dixie had apparently suffered some sort of catastrophic medical event – an aneurism, a stroke, a blood clot to her lungs. One minute she was fine, resting comfortably in her kennel. The next, she was unresponsive. They tried to get her back, but she was gone. Just like that.

We were 15 minutes away.

If there’s one part of this that rips our hearts out (and, let’s be honest, it ALL rips our hearts out), it is that we were so close and, yet, we weren’t there when she passed. Dixie was always an anxious, nervous dog and she always wanted to be near us. Through her entire history of seizures, whenever she would feel one coming on, she would always run toward one of us. Sometimes she made it, sometimes she didn’t – but we saw it again and again. She wanted to be near us when she wasn’t feeling well. So, knowing that she was all by herself in a unfamiliar place when whatever happened happened, is really, really tough for us to take. And the pain of losing her is compounded by the shock of it all. We had steeled ourselves for possible bad outcomes during the surgery or the possibility that the surgery might not work, but we thought she was out of the woods and on her way to a full recovery. We were not prepared at all for what happened and we are heartbroken that we never got an opportunity to say goodbye.

And we know we can’t blame ourselves, and we know we were doing the best thing for her, and and we know there was nothing we could do even if we were there…. And yet…. we still feel awful.

We adopted Dixie six years ago from the Virginia German Shepherd Rescue. The first time we went to meet her was at an adoption event. Lots of people were interested in her, but she only had eyes for Kevin.

Since adopting her, she’s embedded herself in our lives to a degree we never could have imagined and become such an integral part of our everyday existence, that her sudden absence has been crushing.

Dixie’s raison d’etre was following us around. She needed to know where each of us was at all times and wanted to be as close to us as possible. If she could have sat on top of us all day, she would have. If either of us were out of the house, she would often wait by the window or the door.  At the old house…

In the RV….

If Kevin walked outside, she would immediately run to “her” window (which happened to be over the wet bay) because she expected to see him there dealing with the tanks.

If I went into the bedroom and, God forbid, closed the sliding door behind me, I often found her paws sticking under the door as she waited for me.

From first thing in the morning to last thing at night, she was our constant companion. As soon as one of us would move in the morning, Dixie would be at our bedside looking for an invite up for ‘snuggle time.’ At night, she would always fall asleep with us, before jumping down and going to sleep on her bed or by the front door.

She liked to sleep cross-wise on the bed. Whomever got to bed last often had to fight Dixie – who would act like she had no idea what was going on – for a tiny sliver of space.

When we were working on our computers, she liked to cram her body under the table (often bringing all her toys with her).

Driving days meant she would happily hang out in “the snuggle zone” in front of the passenger seat. She’d get lots of hugs and pets and then settle in for a snooze as we drove.

She was a GREAT travel companion, just happy to be wherever we were, doing whatever we were doing, adapting as needed to her ever changing environment. She loved it because she got to explore all kinds of new environments – from forests to lakes (she LOVED swimming) to parks (even ones she wasn’t supposed to be at), the beach, and, most recently, the desert.

Her selfie game was strong… Actually, I think she was just confused by me constantly taking pictures of her, but luckily she would humor me and put up with it.

What she wouldn’t put up with was anyone messing with our pack. She didn’t become our ‘Director of Homeland Security’ for nothing. Whenever I would consider the possibility of someone trying to break into our home, all I could think of was Mr. T’s famous phrase… “I pity the fool…”

Yeah. Good luck with that.

If we were doing stuff around the house, Dixie would try to “help.” And by “help,” I mean “not help at all….”  If I was vacuuming, she’d helpfully go lay wherever I was trying to vacuum. If Kevin was sitting on the ground, she’d be all up in his business.

“Hey dad! What are we doing?”
“Hey… You look busy. You know what would be great? If you could pet me.”
“That’s cool. I’ll just wait. And stare into your soul until you pay attention to me.”

Dixie was especially skilled at adding obstacles to Kevin’s home improvement projects. Because nothing makes fixing stuff easier than having a dog crawling all over you.

And no, Kevin is not left handed… When Dixie wanted attention, you just had to adapt…

Speaking of Kevin, as much as Dixie loved me, she would have pushed me off the back of a train if it meant she could have Kevin all to herself.

Matching outfits, treat balancing challenges, squirrel monitoring sessions, costumes, and endless snuggles…they were the best of friends.

For the last several months, because of her back problems, Dixie was completely reliant on Kevin to get her in and out of the RV, to give her a lift onto the bed or couch, or to get her into the car. She was dependent on him and he was happy to take on the responsibility. Rain, cold, heat, middle of the night, side of the highway – he was there for her whenever she needed him. He knew it and she knew it. And it’s making it all that much harder on him now.

What we referred to as “PTS” – Puppy Transportation Services


I’d love to tell you that we are quickly focusing on the good memories and moving forward, but everything is really raw right now and we’re still processing what happened. There’s a 75 pound hole in our hearts and the edges of that hole are really, really jagged. It’s going to take a while for either of us to feel normal again.

We loved our puppy girl and we know she loved us. We are heartbroken that our adventures together ended too soon. We hope she didn’t suffer and we hope she knows we would have done anything to make things right.

Dog as co-pilot
Dog as pilot

If there is a heaven, we know she’s up there, running and swimming, collecting balls, terrorizing squirrels, and eating all the cheese. She deserves every bit of joy, happiness, and fun possible. She was smart, loving, loyal, protective, and entirely devoted to our pack until the end, and we will be forever grateful that she was part of our lives, even if it wasn’t for as long as we’d hoped.

We love you, Dixie, and we miss you terribly. Be good. And leave the poor cats alone.


  1. We are so sorry for your loss! We know how much you loved her and it clearly was mutual. You were all the perfect match for each other. We will miss her. Hang in there! Sending hugs.

    • Thank you, Jen (and Jeremy). While we were too upset to say much when you called that night, we do appreciate that you took the time to reach out and that you put us in touch with H&H. It was nice to have that support right from the start and very helpful to talk to someone else who’d gone through the exact same thing. We always appreciate that you guys are in our corner and it meant even more this time.

  2. Oh sweet puppy love, I’m crying right along with you.
    We truly know the devastation, and sorry to say, though it does ease, that painful place never completely goes away. Softens, but still…

    We are so incredibly sorry for your loss, especially when it comes so shockingly suddenly, on the heels of what must have felt like relief and optimism about how Dixie was doing. She sounds like such an awesome dog. Your pictures and words tell the tail (sic)

    I don’t know if you were at Specialty Vet on La Canada, but we’ve been there too and I refer to it as the Mayo Clinic for dogs. You did everything you could possibly do, and I hope that will comfort you. Though we’ve never met, we send you much love and light for your comfort and healing. And maybe you think this is slightly nuts, but you just might feel Dixie hanging around a little bit longer as you go through these first days without her physical presence. I’ve experienced that with two of our dogs after their passing.

    We have a place at the end of Bear Canyon on the East side of Tucson. If there’s anything we can do, or you. need any recommendations for anything, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’ve really enjoyed your blog and writing style, I’m just sorry this is what finally brought me out of the shadows to “talk” to you. Be good to yourselves. It’s a very tender time for both of you.

    • Thank you so much for your comment. I really appreciate it. We did go to the Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson and they do seem to have an excellent facility. We were very thankful to be so close to a place that could handle these issues on an emergency basis and that had the facilities to help her. Given some of the other places we’ve traveled through recently, we are well aware that finding a veterinary neurologist is not a given, so we were lucky to be where we were.

      As for Dixie still being present, I’d like to think she is, but even if she’s not, I expect we’ll be finding her dog hair on our stuff for the next 30 years. 🙂

      Thank you for your offer of help. It means so much to hear from so many people today. We truly feel like we’re not alone out there and that makes a huge difference. Thank you.

  3. We are heartbroken about Dixie. She was a very special dog. You’ll gave her a wonderful life and did everything you could for her. We were happy she accepted us and allowed us in her space. So glad we got to spend time with her over the holidays. Hopefully she and Charlie are running around together and eating all the treats they want. ????❤️

    • That is a very nice thought. I like to think of all the dogs we’ve known and loved all hanging out together. Maybe Shasta could get Dixie to calm the hell down and relax a bit…. and Charlie could show her how to TRULY appreciate peanut butter… 🙂

      We’re pretty sure Dixie knew there was a solid connection between you guys and Kevin because she took to you so quickly and just adored both of you. I’m glad we all got to spend so much time together over the holidays as well. I know she loved having the kind of attention only grandparents can give. You all spoiled her rotten and she enjoyed every minute.

  4. So sorry to hear of your loss. She acted just like our two, constantly wanting to be with us, even in the bathroom, constantly watching me work on the RV. They are part of the family and the loss is felt by all. Relish the memories as you move forward, knowing that Dixie is watching over you. Hope to catch up with you later this year.

    • Thanks Jon. Dixie did often try to get into the bathroom with us, but that’s where we drew the line. We were pretty sure we could handle things without an assist from her. 🙂 They are most definitely part of the family and, especially when living in such a small space 24/7, their presence becomes incredibly important. Give your girls some extra belly rubs for us, please. And yes, I hope we can hang out again soon.

  5. Jim and I know the crushing heartbreak of the loss of a once in a lifetime pup too soon all too well. So, so sorry for you both.

    • I think we’d definitely put Dixie in the category of a “once in a lifetime pup.” I love that description. We are quickly realizing that we are not alone in going through something like this, and, while it’s a sad club to be in, it is comforting to know we are not alone. Thank you. It really does help.

  6. ((I’m a loser – forgot to add my name. Didn’t want you to think some weirdo posted anonymously above.). Hang in there.

  7. My heart cries for y’all. The love you had for her and she for y’all is so tender and giving. Your life and hers was richer for it.

  8. Laura and Kevin – I am so, so sorry about Dixie. She was, very obviously, a special, unique, one of a kind puppy. A big, beautiful loving puppy who got so much joy out of life. What an adventure you guys gave her! No doubt she is in heaven jumping, playing, walking up and down stairs, carousing with other great dogs – with Snoopy and Peanut from my childhood- no doubt. Allow yourself to grieve as much as you need. I will be sending you good vibes of comfort and peace.

    • Thank you Lisa! I love that you had dogs named Snoopy and Peanut… that is awesome! And I certainly hope that they are all living the puppy dog dream up there… endless squirrels to chase, piles of bacon and cheese, beautiful lakes to swim in, and no cares to worry about. It is definitely nice to think about. Thank you for thinking of us. We appreciate it very much.

  9. Oh Laura, I just can’t. ……
    Words cannot express how sorry I am for your devastating loss. I have experienced that kind of heartbreak and will never forget the pain. But take comfort in knowing that she had the most exciting life a dog could ever have, and felt more love than she ever could have ever dreamed possible. May God bless her and keep her until you meet again.

  10. Oh Laura, I just can’t. ……
    Words cannot express how sorry I am for your devastating loss. I have experienced that kind of heartbreak and will never forget the pain. But take comfort in knowing that she had the most exciting life a dog could ever have, and felt more love than she ever could have ever dreamed possible. May God bless her and keep her until you meet again.

    • Thanks Angela. It’s been a terrible couple of days, but it does give us a lot of comfort to look back on the last couple years and see all the fun things we did with her and all times she made us laugh. She was definitely a traveling puppy… having to adapt to new environments every week, but she was a rock star with it, just rolling with the changes and finding enjoyment in each new place. We are cherishing those memories now.

  11. It’s so hard to lose them, isn’t it? I know it was a tough loss for you guys… what a great and beautiful companion!!! Ugh, why can’t they live with us for our entire lives??? ???? Chin up, if you can.

    • Seriously? I really don’t understand the whole timeline thing. Someone should have a discussion with Management to fix this once and for all. “Dogs live forever. Got it? Good.” Anyway, thanks for the encouragement…. One day at a time….

  12. My sincerest condolences. I understand your loss, pain, and emptiness. There’s nothing like the unconditional love of our four-legged children. Hang in there. It’ll get easier with time. Beautiful post and tribute to Dixie.

    • Thank you, Ingrid. I appreciate it. We are working hard to stay busy and active while soaking up as much sunshine as possible. On a related note, we absolutely understand why you love the desert so much. It’s been unbelievably therapeutic to be here this week. Blue skies and sunshine truly do make all the difference when it comes to our mood.

  13. I follow your blog, so you don’t know me, but I went thru something very similar. One of my pugs was in a 24 hour specialty clinic for three weeks due to pancreatitis. She’d get better, then worse, then better again. We also thought she was out of the woods. Until early one morning, I got the phone call as well. She had aspirated and was gone. I felt all the same feelings you are now. Why wasn’t I there, what could I have done differently, all the “what ifs”. Just let yourself have these, as you will. And give yourself time to grieve. She left a huge hole in your lives and it’s going to take a while to at least feel partially normal again. My girl was 7 years old and I kept thinking “why so young?” Someone once told me that dogs have no idea how old they are, they live in the moment. To them, they feel they lived out their whole life at that moment and have no regrets, no remorse at going “so young”. It kinda helped me in a way. Dixie was beautiful inside and out and you made her life wonderfully complete. She will remember that always.

    • Thank you so much. I’m sorry to hear you went through such a similar experience and had so many of the same feelings we’ve been having. It’s hard not to ask yourself those questions, but at the end of the day, logically, we know there’s nothing we could have done differently. Sometimes, these things just happen and it’s no one’s fault. It just sucks. I, too, have heard that dogs don’t have any conception of time and just live in the moment… no concerns about the past or the future. It certainly would explain some of their loveable, and not so loveable, habits. 🙂 Thank you for your comments.

  14. Oh, my heart breaks for you & Kevin. Nothing can prepare you for losing a member of your family and nothing can help during the painful grieving but time.
    Your post was beautifully written.
    Sending positive thoughts & hugs.

    • Thank you, Debbie. I agree… nothing but time will heal these wounds, but positive thoughts and virtual hugs do help a lot, so thank you.

  15. Well, this made me cry. What a beautiful girl. And so many of your memories and photos are so “German Shepherdy.” We are on our third German Shepherd, and our other two both died suddenly, relatively young, so believe me when I say, I feel your pain. I hope some of these comments make you feel better, but I know it’s not enough. Hang in there.

    • I know I’m totally biased, but I definitely think there is something special about German Shepherds. Dixie was our second and I really can’t imagine ever having any other breed of dog. I love all dogs, but GSDs are just spectacular pets. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been through this too. And these comments absolutely do help – both because we are finding comfort knowing we’re not alone, and because it’s nice to feel so supported, even by folks we’ve never met.

  16. Laura, I’m so sorry! I have only had one dog as an adult and when he died I was so heartbroken I’ve never been able to bring myself to get another 🙁

    • I can totally understand the feeling and I have seen several folks decide against adopting again for that very reason. These dogs really do break your heart when they leave.

  17. Dearest Kevin and Laura, our hearts break for you and your Dixie had the best parents in the world! It has always been evident of the immense love you both shared with her. Your beautiful tribute to her says it all and we can only add our feelings of love and deepest sympathy. We truly care.

    • Thank you so much, Gretta and Tommy. Dixie made it easy for us to look like “good parents” because she was such a great dog (loony, but great nonetheless 🙂 ). It was such a gift to have her be part of our lives for as long as we had her, which is what we are trying to focus on now. Thank you for your kind words and for always being so supportive of us.

  18. My heart is breaking for you. I’m so, so sorry for your loss–Dixie was so much more than a dog, she was family. She’s in no pain now and there is comfort in that, but missing her is something which will take more time. I wish there were words adequate enough to comfort. This is a beautiful tribute. Dawn

    • Thank you, Dawn. We certainly take comfort in the thought of her being able to run and play without all the pain she was facing. We miss her terribly, but are trying to focus on the good things as much as we can. It will absolutely take time to start feeling normal again, but every day will be a little easier – or so we hope. It helps to have friends we haven’t even met yet rooting for us. So thank you….

    • I’m so sorry to hear that. It seems there are a lot of people who have gone through something like this. I had no idea. It is truly heartbreaking.

  19. Oh you guys, we are so deeply saddened to hear that you lost your beloved Dixie. How lucky you were to have found each other, and to have journeyed together both in life and on the road. Thanks for sharing your sweet memories and photos of a very special companion. Those paws peeking out from beneath the door…what a character she must have been. Sending hugs to you both.

    • Hi Laurel… That photo of her paws is actually one of my all time favorites. That and the one of her and Kevin looking out the window together completely encapsulate her personality and her impact on our lives. She always wanted to be with us and she and Kevin were always up to something together. Those photos make me smile and cry at the same time…. Thank you, as always, for your thoughtful words…Sending hugs back at ya.

  20. Kevin and Laura, I am so sorry for the pain of losing Dixie. She had a great life with you two and that should be some comfort. The pictures show a lot of love from her to you and you two to her. Hang in there. Much love, Val

    • Thank you, Val. We know we loved her and we’re reasonably sure she loved us too. Ok, we’re completely sure of that. 🙂 She was a great dog and we do hope we gave her a great life. Thanks for your support. Hope you are doing well and finally getting some sunshine and warmth in Charleston.

  21. My heart is breaking for you! I know how hard this is. We lost both our beautiful rescue dogs (they rescued us) while RVing. Our Dutch Shepherd to a neurological condition and our Chow to old age. Doesn’t matter what takes them, it hurts all the same. This post was a touching tribute to an amazing dog and family member who will forever be in your hearts.

    • Oh wow, I didn’t realize you guys lost two dogs while living in the RV… I’m so sorry to hear that. I know it’s hard to lose a dog either way (S&B or RV), but having spent SO much time together in such a small space, I think it’s added to the impact for us – and I’m sure it was the same for you guys. It’s gonna be a long while before this place feels normal again. I still don’t take a step without ensuring Dixie isn’t standing behind me waiting to trip me. 🙂

  22. Andrea just forwarded your post to me and I’m heartbroken for you two… We lost our 1st born, the GSD named Ruger, over 9 years ago and it still breaks my heart to this day.

    IMHO, GSDs are a special breed and it sounds like Dixie was no exception. I wish we could have met her in Hot Springs. 🙁

    If love could have saved her, she would have lived forever!

    • Thanks Shawn… I wish you could have met her too. If you’re a GSD fan, she was all GSD. Crazy as ever, but completely loyal and smart. I absolutely agree – they are special dogs. I’m sorry to hear about your Ruger…. I have no doubt he was a wonderful dog as well.

  23. Our hearts break for you. Dixie sounds like such a wonderful dog and so many of her traits remind me of our daughter’s German Shepard … Lucy won’t leave the grandkids side and you never have to fear that anyone will mess with them when she is around. I know there is nothing we can say that will make this any better, but you are in our prayers.

    • Thank you so much. It sounds like your grand kids are well protected and have a perfect best friend by their sides. I’m not gonna say that German Shepherds are THE BEST dogs around, but they are totally the best dogs around. It’s not even close. They rule. 🙂 Anyway, thank you for your kind words. They are very much appreciated.

  24. Ah, Laura – I am so sorry you lost your Dixie girl. I hoped to meet her one day soon.

    I’m well acquainted with the practice of carrying large dogs out to take care of business in all kinds of weather. And with anxious dogs. And all manner of dog injuries and health issues. And also with the sudden loss of any/all of the above.

    Your post brought tears to my eyes, but you made me laugh, too. What a fitting tribute.

    • I was thinking about you the other day when all of this happened. It seemed like just the day before I was expressing condolences to you and we were discussing the joys of dog digestion issues. Incredible how quickly life can change, and incredible how much we are willing to take on for our furry family members, and incredible how painful it can all be. I wish you could have met her too. I’ve no doubt, you would have liked each other.

  25. Oh Laura, what can I say. I feel your pain, sudden loss is the worst. The huge whole in your hearts feels like searing pain that ebbs and flows with the memories of your beautiful Dixie.

    What a wonderful life Dixie had with you and Kevin and what a wonderful life you two had with Dixie. My deepest condolences…only time will make it easier.


    • Hi Brenda, It’s funny that you mention ‘ebbs and flows.’ That is definitely an apt description of our emotions right now. One minute we’re doing ok, out and about running errands and going about our lives, and the next, we are a mess. The most random things set us off. (I think it’s called “being a basketcase.”) In any case, I know you’re right – only time will make it better. We just have to take things one day at a time. Thank you for being so kind.

  26. I am so sorry to hear this about Dixie! It is so hard to loose our fur babies! I know you said it helps you to hear from your readers but it also helps us to read your stories. I lost my cat very suddenly and like you and Kevin, he died at the vet before I could get there and the hardest part for me was that I wasn’t there for him. It does help to hear there are others that know what I went through. Hang in there. The rough edges do soften over time, but there will always be an open spot in your heart for Dixie. Thank you for being so open and honest, I love reading your blog!

    • Thank you, Renee. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that talking to other people in the same situation helps – that’s the whole idea behind support groups, after all – I’ve just (thankfully) never been in the position of needing something like that. But there is always comfort in knowing you’re not alone and there’s always much to be learned from others who’ve walked a path before you. I’m sorry to hear you went through the same thing with your cat. I am sure you are right about those edges softening in time. We just have to be patient. Thank you for commenting.

  27. Dogs are our family, they can’t tell us when somethings is wrong but because we are so close to them we can sense when they are in pain.
    It can be devastating when they pass but life goes on and new puppies have a way of coming along at just the right time
    We are very sorry for your loss of Dixie and know what you are going through. I am certain she is now running through the green grass over the rainbow bridge and enjoying a carefree healthy life.

    • Thank you so much. I always love seeing pictures of your dogs on your blog. Bernese Mountain Dogs are just so beautiful and snuggle-worthy. I can imagine you know what we are going through because their life spans tend to be so heartbreakingly short. And I also know what you mean about new puppies finding a way into your life. After our last dog passed away, we expected it would take six months to a year before we adopted another dog. We brought Dixie home a month later. 😉 So I am working hard to stay off the damned adoption sites. Those things are nothing but trouble. 🙂

  28. Laura,
    We’ll meet you tonight at MonaLiza and Steve’s but I wanted to reach out to you this way first. I feel your pain, I cried as I read this blog post…..ruined my eye make up…. I know I’ll do it again.

    It’s so very hard to lose that special one, and your Dixie certainly was one special dog. It’s really hard to lose her in that way but I have to tell you, from long experience, it’s nearly impossible to lose them any way it happens. We’ve traveled with many dogs in our RV lives and agonized over each one. I wish I could say “it will get better” but you know…..it doesn’t. It just gets different, the edges round a bit and you’ll be able to smile and not cry when you think about her but those feelings never leave. That’s the down side of loving a dog. They don’t live nearly long enough, but the privilege of having them in our lives seems more than worth the inevitable pain. We lost our dear old Lab. a year ago and we still tear up often over the thoughts of her. We raised her from a pup as a Guide Dog prospect and she was with Dave all day every day since then. She went to work with him, she traveled with us when we retired. She was a good girl. We still have our sweet Lewis but he’s already eight. We’re trying not to think about it.

    This blog was a wonderful tribute to your dear Dixie and to the two of you.

    • Hi Sue, It was so nice to meet you and Dave last night. Thank you for your kind words on this. I know you are most certainly right – there is no good way to lose a dog. We have discussed it ourselves and know it would have been even harder had the surgery not worked and we’d been left to make the decision about what to do. I honestly don’t know what we would have done. It’s hard to even imagine. To some degree, Dixie made it easy on us because there was no decision to make. We’re just sad we were not there and had no time to process anything. But, we are working hard on focusing on the good and trying to find positives. We know we just need to give it time and keep moving forward.

      Speaking of positives, your Lewis sounds like a complete character. He’s adorable and we would love to meet him some day. Hopefully our paths will cross again down the road. Safe travels in the meantime….

  29. What a beautiful tribute to adorable Dixie:) She certainly was a sweetheart and filled your lives with joy and love. You have wonderful memories to carry you through these difficult days:)

    On a happier note…we really enjoyed meeting you and Kevin last night and hope our paths cross again. I love the quote at the beginning of your “About” page. It’s awesome that you two were able to make this journey happen.

    Here is the post I was telling you about that describes adding a window awning yourself.

    • Hi Pam,

      It was great meeting you guys last night too. We learned an enormous amount about where to go and what to do as we continue our western travels. I will be certain to check your blog as we settle in to various locations since you seem to know where all the best hikes are. What a fantastic resource for us… like our own private AllTrails app. 🙂 Thank you as well for this link. I’m happy to know this can even be done and we’re definitely going to add it to our list of planned upgrades. While we love the sun out here, these awnings should make things infinitely more comfortable.

      Safe travels this spring and let’s hope to cross paths again!

  30. I was so looking forward to meeting Dixie 🙁 and I choked up when you told us about her at our first meeting. Pets are definitely part of our lives and I have seen how it affects their parents when they go. If only she can read your tribute!

    • I wish you guys could have met Dixie too. I have no doubt you would have all liked each other. (I have a feeling you might have given her all the treats she wanted!) There’s no doubt Dixie was a huge part of our lives and her absence has been a tough thing to adjust to. We’re just taking things slowly and focusing on all of the good memories we have.

  31. You’ve never met me but I just had to write to you after that beautiful and kind tribute to Dixie. I am friends with Sue Bank, et al. (used to be neighbors!) and so have just opened to your blog since seeing pictures of the “new people” on the various RV blogs.

    You have just done the most important and very difficult first step of losing your girl. You paid homage. You memorialized her for yourselves and for all of us who read your account. Your pictures, stories, memories and little candid moments certainly brought tears to your eyes as you were composing. Just the way they brought tears to all of us who read it.

    There is nothing that can fill that exact hole right now. But, you are putting one step in front of the next as you move forward. Dixie surely had the very best of life with you. And that is what it is all about. As dog lovers and owners, we try to do everything that we can to provide the best for them. You clearly achieved that mark. And for that we are so grateful. In time, I trust that another dog will enter your lives. Somewhere. Somehow. And the hole will start to fill in. There is no substitute for time however.

    • Hi Cindy,

      Thanks for stopping by and thank you so much for your kind words. Writing this article was really difficult, but it also truly helped me with the whole grieving process. We still find ourselves having our “moments” on any given day – there are obviously reminders of her everywhere and just the action of talking about what what happened can be incredibly difficult at times, but we are moving forward slowly and trying to focus on our good memories. We know it will take a long while to get back to what feels normal – since “normal” up until now always involved her. I’ve no doubt that we will eventually bring another dog into our family, but we expect it will be a while – both because of the emotional factors as well as the practical ones involved in adopting a dog while on the road. It will happen in its own time though, no question. Hell, when we think about our long term future, it often involves a small house on a big plot of land and a whole BUNCH of dogs running around. 🙂 We’ll see….

      Anyway, thank you again for stopping by and leaving your thoughts. All of these comments really have helped make us feel a bit better.

  32. I literally found your blog an hour ago, thoroughly enjoyed reading your post about Gulf State Park and adding to our list for when we take off full-time in a few years, then scrolled up to see that you had lost your beautiful pup and was devastated for you. I don’t have any better words of sympathy than have been already said, but I can tell you a crazy something about my own loss, and when you are feeling overwhelmed, you can point to it and say, “Well, at least I’m not THAT lady!” and know that in sharing our grief, we disperse it just a little.

    When we lost our last pup a few years ago, I was so grief-stricken the first day I was alone in the house because it was literally the first day I had ever actually been without another living being in the house, that I ran outside in search of my Zuli’s poop — poop, for crying out loud! But I just desperately needed to see that she had been, that she had lived.

    She had lived, as did your Dixie, and we are all better human beings for having had them.

    Thank you for sharing the hard stuff, and I look forward to reading more of your adventures in the future and happier times. They will come again.

    • HAHAHAHA! That is hilarious… but not entirely surprising at all. The other day I walked out into the living room and saw one of Dixie’s chew toys sitting next to Kevin on the sofa. Just hangin out there watching TV with my husband. 🙂 I’m pretty sure it’s the same thing. It’s just nice to have something tangible sometimes. (Though I do think chew toys might be a little less, um, problematic, than poop. 🙂

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by and thanks for your comment. We are definitely feeling fortunate that we had Dixie with us for as long as we did. She was a wonderful dog and certainly made us better people.

  33. Laura – I am just reading the post today in 2020. Your tribute to your Dixie is wonderful. We had two GSDs – mother and son. They are the best homeland security. Used to tell folks we left the house unlocked. Here’s the directions to it. Take my car. Just knock yourself out. Ewok – the son – protected us till his last breath. Literally. We lose them all so darned soon. I am sure she knew you both loved her completely. I’m also sure she’s happily playing with all the other good dogs who went to the Bridge before her. And she’ll be there waiting for y’all when the time comes to join her. ????

    • Hi Mary,

      Thank you so much. It’s funny how time does make things easier, but we think about Dixie often and still miss her a lot. I know exactly what you mean about homeland security. Our new dog, Thor, has a good solid GSD bark, but he’s less territorial than Dixie ever was. I expect he would protect us, but I’m not sure he’s concern himself all that much with protecting the house if we weren’t home. But just the appearance of these dogs is enough to make anyone second guess their choices. LOL. Anyway, it sounds like you’ve had wonderful pups too and they do bring so much happiness and fullness to our lives. While it took us a while to consider adopting again, we are so happy we did.


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