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Friday, February 4, 2011

Mutts and More Mutts:
It's the Magical Mystery Mutt Tour

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
© courtesy Will My Dog Hate Me

Today's post is a bit of fun reminiscence about Xena, my Retriever mix that we lost to a stroke in October. I'm ready to talk about her now, having gone through the mourning period and realizing I NEED to talk about her now. I miss her.

My fellow bloggers, the folks at Will My Dog Hate Me, Peggy's Pet Place, and I Still Want More Puppies, have launched today's blog hop called the Magical Mystery Tour. This is sort of celebration of our mixed breed dogs, and Xena would never forgive me if I didn't participate. So here goes:

When I wrote a post, preparing my readers for what I assumed would be Xena's last year or so, I had no idea how soon it would creep up. Truth be told, I think I wrote this post more to prepare myself, than my readers :(. I knew she was slowing down, despite the still playful spirit inside. Her desire to snuggle with and toss around her daddy's socks will never leave the video recesses in my memory banks.

Xena was a beautiful younger dog--a mix of a Golden Retriever mom and a dad that was Labrador Retreiver/Chow Chow. Or so we were told. She was often mistaken for a Flat-Coated Retriever in your early years, even by new veterinarians. Her personality (don't tell me dogs don't have one; I simply don't buy that!) and behavior traits fit the 75% Retriever that was apparently in her DNA. She was people pleasing, loving, playful, affectionate and ever the mother.

Adopting a kitten at age 2, I allowed Xena to select her new housemate. Patches, a Heinz 57, won her over with her spunky attitude and quick left cross to her nose, assuring Xena that life would never be dull with Patches in the house. Was she every right. The two bonded instantly over a good ear-washing and back-end cleaning, provided by Xena's warm and loving tongue. Mom? Yup!

When Robby, our rabbit, arrived a few years later, she attempted to do the same with him. Robby was not as willing, but Tanner was pleased to have bathtime help, as a puppy, when he entered the picture in her 10th year. Tanner and Xena quickly became like-sized playmates that enjoyed a daily tag game, along with regular wrestling matches, right up till the week before Xena left us.

The best way to honor Xena in this post is probably with photos. When she joined us, it was before digital cameras were the norm. Pictures of her puppyhood are probably buried in a box somewhere, but I'll share a few of her later years here. Please comment; I could use the TLC right now. Thanks!

How about we announce a giveaway today, in honor of our sweet Xena. She was truly the epitome of man's best friend, so the perfect gift would be a MANKINDdog™ coffee mug. I'll give two away in a drawing next Friday. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post here at the blog, or comment on this post on my Facebook page. Best wishes to all of my Mutt-loving readers!

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Kristine said...

I would totally guess Flat Coated Retriever as well. I love those dogs, they are gorgeous and so much fun. Xena was definitely both of those things and more. Whatever her breed, she was obviously a very special dog.

Thanks for sharing her story and her photos. I am so sorry for your loss.

Peggy Frezon said...

I'm sorry you lost your friend Xena but you do honor her with these beautiful photos. She looks like lab, golden retriever, and maybe even a little newfie.

Anonymous said...

Awww... It sucks to lose a friend. I like thinking of Xena and the friends I've lost getting to meet up now. I bet they're having a jolly time... without me!

Anonymous said...

So sorry for your loss... but it's great to share the photos!

I would have guessed a flat-coated retriever also!

Unknown said...

Xena was beautiful & we can tell she was VERY LOVED. Thank you for providing her with all that she needed & more.

Pauley James & Middy Sue

Edie said...

Thank you for sharing your memories of Zena with us; what a lovely tribute to a beloved family member.

Alison said...

Thanks for your comment over at The Other Winnie Cooper!We'll be revealing Zipper's DNA results over the weekend.

Xena looked just like a our dog friend Andie (she too passed last year). We always guessed Andie was Flat Coated Retriever, but knowing that they are rare and golden/black lab cross was probably a lot more common!

Sorry for your loss. You both were lucky to find each other.

Pup Fan said...

Xena was absolutely beautiful. Sending lots of hugs your way - I know it's hard to say goodbye to a wonderful furry friend.

I would have guessed flat-haired retriever as well. I had two growing up, named Sparkle and Bourbon, and she reminds me so much of them!

AlbanyPets said...

That is a wonderful tribute to Xena!

Ruff Toy Reviews said...

Xena was a beauty... and I would have asked if she was a flat coat too, had we met on the street. Your tribute was lovely and your photos of her in her senior years brought back all the bittersweet memories I have for my dear old Seamus, who I lost in 2008. I'm sure writing about Xena was therapeutic for you and right now her spirit feels very close. Thank you for sharing her story!

Anonymous said...

What a sweetie. I love that you got pictures of her smiling and laughing. And sharing! She had a generous spirit.
I know how difficult it is to lose someone who has been part of your life, a huge part of your life, for many years. I hope sharing the wonderful moments gives some comfort.

Patti said...

What a beautiful tribute to your girl, Carrie :) Xena was blessed to have a family who loved her so much and vice-versa....our pets don't leave our sides even when they are no longer here can something that means the world to us ever go away? It's been a year since I lost Bandit and I don't think the hole in my heart will ever heal but I know I'll see him again :) Hugs to you...

Oskar said...

What a touching tribute!

Nubbin wiggles,

Unknown said...

I certainly understand your feelings about Xena as I'm sure many of your commenters do to. I started Something Wagging to reflect on raising Honey but it's my last pup Shadow, that graces the header. I miss her every day.

She was a beautiful dog and it sounds like she was a very good friend.

Anonymous said...

Xena sounds like she was a wonderful loving friend. I am so sorry for your loss. I still reminisce about my Prince who died when I was 16. I wonder how he would like Opie, how much of a belly rub pig he was as well. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and pictures about her. Through you she continues to enrich lives.

Opie's Mom

Lori @ According to Gus said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I can't even imagine how difficult that is. :(

Melf said...

Your Xena is the spitting image of a dog I care for named Beamer. Beamer is Flat Coated Retriever and Springer Spaniel. He's an awesome dog who loves to chase rabbits and cats and... well, you get the point.

I am so sorry for your loss. I know what you mean about it taking time to go through the mourning period. It's hard isn't it? It looks like she was a very loved friend.

Life Student said...

It's so hard to lose a pet... my brother-in-law just put his 15-year-old Tibetan Mastiff to sleep last Monday, and I wrote a little eulogy on my blog ( Made everyone who ever knew him cry!

I see the golden retriever in her ears, and the lab in the sock picture-- although both breeds are called retrievers for a reason. I could look at that photo montage all day! You are blessed with great memories, and lots of love to lavish on Tanner and any other dogs in your life.

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