Twelve years ago on my son Henry’s birthday, he got a puppy whom he named “Dixie.” She was an adorable brindle bulldog mix, and Henry thought she was just the best girl ever. I still have the incredibly sweet Christmas ornament that Henry made that year with “Dixie” scrawled onto it in glitter glue.
That year — the one following the birthday where he received Dixie — was a very hard one for Henry, and for all of us. Henry’s dad and I separated. And then the unthinkable happened. I was out walking Dixie (on a leash) in the parking lot of the apartment complex where the kids and I had moved temporarily, while the dust settled from the big changes in our family life, when Dixie — who was maybe 9 months old at that point — saw something. A cat, another dog … I still don’t know what.
But whatever it was, Dixie got super excited, and she yanked away from me, pulling the leash out of my hand and dashing directly into a car crossing the parking lot. She was hit in the head and died on the spot. It was HORRIBLE. The driver felt awful, I felt awful, and oh my GOD…having to tell Henry when he got home from school that day that I’d let his beloved Dixie get away from me and be hit by a car to this day ranks right up there as among the most painful, difficult conversations I have ever had with one of my kids about anything. And he was just heartbroken. It was truly awful.
After he quit crying, I told Henry that we could wait to get another puppy if he felt like that would be better, or we could start looking at shelters sooner — whatever felt right to him. Being a little kid, as sad as he was about Dixie, he was quickly ready to bring home a new dog pal.
So the next weekend we headed over to the animal shelter and checked out the available litters pf pups. One adorable, wiggly pile of 8-week-old puppy cuteness stood out immediately; there were 4 or 5 pups which all looked pretty much like purebred dachshunds…and then there was Fiat, a classic black and white Jack Russell terrier puppy who looked like the single adopted puppy in the litter of dachshunds. The shelter adoption lady explained to us that the mama dog had looked like a small mutt, but that clearly these pups had both dachshund and Jack Russell genes. While the doxie genes had dominated in this litter, some throwback JRT genes had decided to pop out in this black and white puppy.
And that’s how Fiat came home with us.
Head over to Katie’s Granju’s Babble Voices blog to continue reading about Fiat’s relationship with Henry!
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