The Missing Piece
A rescue dog fills the space in two women’s lives.
In the summer of 2009, my brother moved in with my mother who had stage 4 colon cancer, and brought his dog Cashew, a Shar Pei and shepherd mix. Even though my mom worried that Cashew would be too much for her, the dog immediately became the light of her life. It seemed Cashew had a sixth sense to my mother’s cancer because the dog was very gentle and protective of her. After 3 months, my brother and Cashew moved out. This broke my mother’s heart.
After a week of watching my mother despair over Cashew, I decided to find her a dog. The next Saturday, something told me to go to the local shelter. I saw two really cute little puppies that the attendant thought were Dachshund-Beagle mixes. I brought my mom back to the shelter for a visit, and she fell in love immediately. That night, Mom said she felt like it was like Christmas Eve because she was so excited to receive her new companion the next day.
On the way home from our visit, we stopped at a little family owned café, and shared pictures of our new friend with the owner’s 15-year-old grandson. He asked what we wanted to name her, and we said we hadn’t come up with a name. He suggested Roxy. Mom and I looked at each other and both said, “That’s it!” We are also big fans of Broadway, and Roxy is a character from the musical “Chicago.”
The following day, we brought Roxy home. She was a lot of puppy for my mother. I took Roxy occasionally, and she eventually belonged to both my mother and me. Mom and I only had Roxy for six weeks before Mom went into the hospital for the last time. Naturally, I took Roxy to my house. Roxy went to the cancer ward and the convalescent home to visit my mother. She brought a lot of joy to my mother in her final days. By the end of the month, Mom passed away. Roxy became the companion I needed in my mother’s absence. My mother told me that she didn’t want to die and leave me alone. Because I had Roxy, I wasn’t alone.
I learned that Roxy was a Dachshund–Basset Hound mix. With her unusual looks, she’s quite the conversation piece. This allows me to meet people who often ask me what breed she is.
I wasn’t really a dog person, but Roxy changed that. I am not only in love with her, but I have taken an interest in other animals. I enjoy spending time with Roxy and can’t wait to go home at the end of my work day to see her. I travel a lot and take Roxy wherever I go. For the past two summers, we have traveled across the country. Roxy has been in 40 states.
When I tell my story, I always add that Roxy was an angel sent from heaven. I’m sure mom’s looking down and happy that I am not alone.
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