Warning: if you're not an animal lover you may have trouble relating to this post and you may think I'm crazy.
A year ago today, my husband and I had to say goodbye to our very first baby...our boy Baxter. I've had dogs in the past and have been through the emotional wreckage of losing them, so these feelings weren't new to me. But Bax was special. He was our baby before we had our first human baby. He was there when Mike and I fell in love, and there for our wedding, through a move across country and through my first pregnancy. He was there up until our daughter was well into her toddler years.
In fact, he was so involved in our lives that my husband asked me to move in with him by way of Baxter. After a few months of living out of an overnight bag, and spending the majority of nights at Mike's bachelor pad, I was woken to Baxter who was just a few months old at the time. While he had smothered me with slobbery kisses on many occasions, this time was different. There was something attached to his collar. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was the garage door opener, and at first I thought it was very bizarre until I read the note that it was accompanied by. On a torn piece of paper, the following message was written in messy scrawl...
"Mommy will you move in with me and daddy?"
And the rest is history...I moved in, got rid of tacky decor like good girlfriends do and soon Baxter became a part of our wedding planning journey. Without much thought, Mike and I both agreed to include our boy in our engagement photos. It was only right...as that fluffy black and white fur baby was our past, present and future. He was our world. Soon, we took in another Newf and Baxter had a buddy and it's a good thing he did because life really started to change and he needed the support of his furry brother Brody.
Mike and I packed up our Jeeps, and we each had a Newf in tow as we drove from Saint Louis to Boston. Baxter kept me company for the twenty-something hour drive and was there when I cried along the way, missing what I was leaving behind. I'll never forget what Baxter looked like when we were on our final leg of the trip. We had reached Vermont and I rolled the windows down so he could get some fresh air. He was in his glory, sticking his big head out the window with his lips flapping in the wind. I'm convinced Baxter's heaven looks a lot like Vermont.
It didn't take long for Baxter to get accustomed to our new lives and soon he was a true New Englander, living his dream life by the water. When we were home, he had the perk of living by the beach and when we were up in New Hampshire he found solace in being on the lake. His natural water rescue instinct prevented anyone from enjoying the water when he was around, but we loved him for it.
And then came Emily June. Baxter was happy to take on the role of big brother with enthusiasm and in true Baxter fashion he discovered quickly what he could get out of it. He would trail behind Emily collecting dropped treats and even got her hooked on sending dog treats through her playhouse mailbox.
Mike and I had established Baxter's personality well and we soon built an entire life up for him. He spent his spare time smoking cigars and hanging out in the town center fighting off the stray dogs who bullied him. He was also known to leave a trail of nips behind him whenever he went into town, so every time we see an empty nip bottle,(which is often) we take that as a sign that Baxter was there.
I still think of my "little prince" every day and sometimes can't help but shed a tear.Especially when I see a wave crashing along the shore or when I hear our special song, Better Together, by Jack Johnson.
So, on this one year anniversary of Baxter's passing (AKA "Prince Ragamuffin, Baxter Bear, Prince, Baxtah)we celebrate his life and the many snuggles and smiles he gave us.
Since then, Barnacle has accepted the passing of the torch but he's got big paws to fill. The middle image below is of Barnacle holding Baxter's collar in his mouth...the official passing of the collars.