Friday, March 18, 2016

Sweet Baxter -- March 14, 2002 to March 15, 2016

Our home is so very quiet now.  No little barker standing at the top of the stairs welcoming us home or complaining about the wait for dinner or his need to run outside to take care of business.  .
He started his life with us at about ten weeks.  He was born March 14th and we picked him up over Memorial weekend while down visiting family in Oregon.   He captured our hearts from that very first day.  We had met his sister and realized we had found THE CUTEST PUPPY EVER!!!  Puppy Schipperke's look like miniature bear cubs before their noses grow out and while they still have only their soft undercoat. I am always irritated that I can't tell for sure which of the penta-puppies in the photo is Baxter. 

When we first moved to Snohomish County he was only a year and a half old.  Sometimes we would add a bandana to give him a little flair -- one time I pulled it up over his nose and christened him "Bandit Dog."
Schipperkes have a lot of fur so he was always happy to go for walks in the winter.  While summer hikes left him a bit worn out with the heat, with winter hikes he was still going strong when the rest of us were feeling rather frozen!
This was what he thought about the summer heat! Taken during our spectacular 2015 Summer!

Baxter was very social and originally thought every dog was his friend. He wasn't so sure about that after he almost became an hors d'oeuvres.  He was very accepting of the cats when he was a pup, but became less tolerant as he got older.  Here he is with "his own cat" Duncan. They had a rough and tumble relationships -- but at the end the cat was giving Baxter a bath.
It's obvious Baxter does not trust Duncan and is pretty wary of what might be coming!
 He loved people too and always had a fun time welcoming all the "Men's Bible Study guys" as weekly members of his pack.  He also  hoped that chocolate chip cookies would fall from the sky.  He had been known to snatch a cookie from anyone who neglected to keep theirs safe.  Here he is at the top of the stairs waiting for the entry of one of his "boys." 
He loved going to Pacific Beach and chasing gulls.  In spite of being a "Belgian Barge Dog" he didn't particularly like getting wet so generally stayed away from the surf. 
He was the perfect sized dog to have sit on your lap.  He hated being picked up and held but was fine with sitting on laps.  He much preferred his paws to be on terra-firma!
Schipperke's have annual "blowouts" and it takes a lot of brushing to get their undercoat loosened up and separated from the dog.  We laughed that we could have made another dog from all this extra fur!
We liked the "festive dog" look during the holidays but he wasn't so enthusiastic.  He hated the bells on that neck scarf and went to work on chewing all the bells so that they didn't make noise.  We finally took the bells off but still made him wear it!
He went on our neighborhood camping trip to Orcas Island and had a fun time!  We had a good time with the neighbors although our idea of camping runs more toward Comfort Inn.
When circumstances warranted the necessity of it -- he hated the "cone of shame."
A couple of years ago he had a paw infection of some sort -- don't remember details. He started out with blue "shoes" and with a cover to keep his paws dry (He didn't like the latter).  His later "shoes" were hot pink. While he didn't like the rain covers as they were slippery, he tolerated the "shoes" well because his paws were not hurting and he could take walks while he healed.
He started having seizures in 2012 but that was controlled by medication.  He was getting a bit arthritic the last few years, but that just slowed him down a bit.  It was the lump on his shoulder diagnosed as cancer that ultimately was his undoing.  As he declined he remained patient, rarely whined or complained and kept his dignity to the very end.  On his last day he just laid in our arms, mostly mine. 
We call our sweet Baxter the world's best dog because he was always amiable, good tempered and tolerant of all the pick-ups, hugs and snuggles that he got on many occasions.  He was always ready for a good walk and loved when the Seahawks played -- as he was a fan of the other dogs who attended the games and of the occasional snack that dropped from the sky!  His devotion to his family and family friends was primary in his short but well-lived life.  He loved our teacher friend who was the best dog-sitter one could hope for and we always knew he was in good hands when we left town.  He adored me and spent many hours lying beside my desk while I worked -- giver of  unmerited (by me)  trust and devotion. 
Good bye my sweet little friend.  I hope that all dogs DO go to heaven and that my late sister Venca was able to meet you and escort you to Jordan's other side.  Here you were at Pacific Beach in 2010.  two years later she passed on.  May your journey be peaceful and joyful as you follow her into the light.