I remember when Alexis was born. The breeder was a friend and I was showing my boy 'Conrad' at the time. Alexis was the boss of the litter...keeping all her siblings in their places. She had this beautiful little square body, feisty attitude, we could tell she was going to have a wonderful hard coat...the signature for a Standard Schnauzer. Alexis was was the 'pick show female' of the liter.
Alexis was purchased by a man as a 'show' puppy at 8 weeks. She was returned to the breeder at 6 months on the premise that she was 'untrainable'....THE MAN HAD BEATEN HER.
My friend and I were heartbroken...this man had not trained her, he had attempted to force her into submission. She came back a broken abused puppy. She became mine that very weekend.
When I first brought her home she wouldn't even respond to her name and if you picked up a magazine or a yard stick to measure something, she was gone...as far away as she could get. If you moved to quickly, she coward and shook. With love and patience Alexis came out of most of her 'fright' but never returned completely to that trusting little puppy she was when I first saw her.
Conrad, gentleman as he was, allowed Alexis to rule the roost and she certainly did. Her problem was with people not with other dogs and Conrad seemed to understand. He was a stable, soft, gentle spirit...and I think this helped Alexis adjust.
Alexis was the 'first born' and trust me was going to be first in everything in life, and would almost knock Conrad and I down to get there. She was first to get outside, first into the van (to get the best seat), and when we went on walks...she always had to be 'just a little' ahead of Conrad.
When it came to sharing...Alexis didn't. She 'hid' all their toys under the glass top coffee table (as if they were out of sight!). If Conrad had a toy, she would 'steal' it the minuet he wasn't watching and put it in her stash...stand back, take a look, and then readjust it until she was happy that it was appropriately hidden.
Alexis didn't want to share me either. If Conrad and I were 'lovin', Alexis would pester him until he just moved over and let her in. Alexis became my shadow...always wanting to be where I was at and as close as possible. I believe Conrad understood her needs.
When Conrad became sick their rolls reversed...Alexis became devoted to Conrad and mothered and looked after him. She would come get me when he was having one of his spells and mourned him for weeks after he passed away. For a long time after, if I corrected her she would go into the other room and lay in his bed for comfort.
In Conrad's absence she became even more attached to me...bringing joy, laughter, and companionship to my everyday life. Her presence filled the house and today there is such an emptiness.
Alexis had sever liver issues...the tumors grew at a rapid rate causing problems with her other organs. She would have been 16 next month, an age where surgery and treatment were not an option. In the end she and I both knew it was time. She was barely eating and could no longer support herself to go potty. Her organs were shutting down and the ornery little twinkle in her eyes was just not there anymore.
Her last night, she wanted in bed with me. I put a piece of plastic down and a blanket on top...we just cuddled. In the morning I took her to the vet and stayed with her while the sedative was administered. "My last act of love for my Best Friend."
I've been through this too often. Even though you know it's the right thing, it's so hard. The quiet in my home is deafening. The void is palpable. I just hate it.
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