Two weeks after writing about a new addition to my family, I'm heartbroken to say we've lost a treasured and beloved member. Baxter passed away on Dec. 28.
We had Baxter for eight years. We got him when he was about 5 or 6. The previous owner wasn't sure about his age. She gave him to us after having a baby, feeling that she couldn't give him the attention he deserved. We are so thankful for her act of kindness.
We welcomed Baxter, all six pounds of him, into our home. We already had another dog, Bucky, who was not quite a year old but we believed he needed a canine friend. They became best buddies.
Baxter was a special friend. He would communicate with us by going around in circles. If we asked him something, he would respond affirmatively by going in a circle. If not, he'd just look at us.
My son, Sean, lived with us about the time Baxter came into our family. Baxter adored him. He couldn't wait for Sean to come home from work. He would smother him in doggie kisses. Even after Sean moved away, the mention of Sean's name made Baxter's ears perk up. And when Sean came to visit, he knew there would be kisses from his "little buddy."
Baxter also loved to travel in the car. When I asked, "Do you want to go bye-bye," he'd go around in circles and head to the car. One of his favorite places was River View Park. Again, I'd say, "Do you want to go to the river?" and he responded accordingly. I spent many days walking Baxter and Bucky along the banks of the Kentucky River.
Baxter was a fussy eater. While we gave him a variety of dog food, he loved pizza, spaghetti and Pringles Stix. I only had to mention those words and he'd go in circles and follow me to his feeding dish.
Baxter slept with us as well. His preferred spot was on a pillow. My wife and I didn't mind. It was comforting to have him so close, all curled up and touching my head. And if he had to get up in the middle of the night to potty, he would gently tap me on the head or shoulder. He was also my alarm clock because he was an early riser.
Two-and-a-half years ago we took Baxter to the vet. He was having problems breathing. An X-ray revealed spots on his lungs. The vet thought he might have cancer. He also had an enlarged chamber in his heart.
We didn't know how long we would have him so we tried to make everyday special for him. But Baxter proved to be a tough little fella. He ended up outliving Bucky, who passed away in October 2011.
After Bucky died, Baxter would take short walks by himself, sometimes before daybreak and sometimes when I came home for lunch. He'd be gone for five-to-ten minutes, and return. If we weren't at the front door, he would stand there tapping on it.
Baxter was getting older and somewhat frail. Aside from his daily walks, he was content to rest on the bed.
Yesterday afternoon, Baxter took his leisurely walk. When he didn't return in ten minutes, I grew worried. I found his lifeless body behind my next-door neighbor's house.
My son Justin came over and we buried Baxter in the back yard, next to Bucky. Many tears have been shed by my wife and me because Baxter brought so much love and joy to our lives. He was our "handsome scamp" and "little tiger."
But let me tell you that in his last 24 hours Baxter got to go bye-bye in the car to pick up my wife at work, had some cheese pizza, two Pringles Stix, and shared the pillows in our bed before took his fateful walk across the Rainbow Bridge.
I'll always miss you, Baxter. Thank you for being you and part of my life.
Until the next time…