Last week, on a warm sunny day, under the shade of a big maple tree in front of the house, Baxter died. I held him and told him what a good boy he is and how special he is and how well he had done at everything.
And I told him Matt was waiting for him and would be so, so happy to see him. I can see Baxter wagging his helicopter tail and singing his woo-woo howl when he sees Matt.
Baxter hadn’t felt up to singing or wagging for awhile, so it will be nice for him to return to himself finally.
As soon as we moved to the farm, Matt and I knew we would add a dog to our family. Baxter was with us through so much. He tolerated renovations, followed the tractor around and lay in the sun as we worked outside. He went along with whatever we were doing and we were a unit.
When Ellie was born, Baxter was uncertain. But he watched over her and made sure she was taken care of, even through his early uneasiness. She became part of our unit, and he became rock solid for her.
I am so grateful that he was in her life. Ellie’s love for animals and her gentleness with them is rooted with Baxter. She will carry the lessons he taught her through her life.
Matt and Bax had a special relationship. Their little routines or sayings are unique to them. As Matt’s illness progressed, there were many nights Baxter stayed with him. He stayed close to Matt and watched him carefully.
And after Matt died, Baxter was there for me, asking for very, very little as we went through each day and giving patience and comfort through tearful late night conversations and cuddles.
There is another hole in our lives.
But, our lives were fuller because of him, and we hold him with us.