I collected a pretty blue brindle dog from Hawkesbury Pound in April 2008. I’d never met her but the rescue group said she seemed like a nice dog so we offered to foster her. I dropped her at kennels to be quarantined before she could be desexed and then brought home. The receptionist asked me what name to put on her paperwork so I tried to think of the least tough name I could. What’s a Poodle name, I asked myself … Trixie!

Before I start posting photos I need to point out that most of them are very old, some are phone pics and a lot are snapshots – don’t judge me!

Dave and I went from owning no dogs to owning three dogs within six months (don’t be like us, we don’t recommend doing that!). Ivan and Angel were great starter dogs. Chopper was our first foster dog but he was really fun so we decided to adopt him. He was a live-wire so we needed to do a lot of learning about taming a high drive beast and managing pack dynamics. We rose to the challenge and thought we were doing a pretty awesome job. We moved to a new rental and built dog runs which meant we could foster again. Handsome Eddie was foster number two, he was adopted before we even had a chance to think about keeping him! Trixie was foster dog number three.

Everything seemed ok at first but then her and Chopper started to butt heads (two dogs of the same age and the same size, would not recommend this either). She was also displaying fear aggression towards other dogs when out and about. She was listed for adoption and a family came to meet her but her behaviour around the kid was concerning. Dave and I had a talk afterwards and we decided that we were probably the best home for Trixie. We were set up to manage a pack of dogs and we had the time to put into working on her issues. In hindsight I now know that those are terrible reasons to adopt a dog.

I’m not going to lie, I found Trixie a difficult dog to own. We called her the fun police. If Chopper or Angel were excited she didn’t like it and tried to shut it down. Excited was their default setting so the pack management was a lot of work. Vigilance meant we were able to maintain peace and harmony for 99% of her life. Though she often chose to spend time on her own she also enjoyed to snuggle with the other dogs … whether there was room in the bed for her or not!

We don’t know how Trixie spent the first two years of her life. The fact that she was a stray makes me wonder if someone dumped her because this dog was so content in our back garden, she never once made any attempt to escape. Even if the gate was open to bring the bins down the driveway she had no interest in making a break for freedom. If you put the pack management stuff aside she was actually a really easy dog to own. She was never destructive, she only barked to alert us if someone was at the door (we miss that, we’ll probably have to get the doorbell fixed now!), she didn’t pull on the lead or carry on like a porkchop in public and she never demanded anything.

Poor Trixie was such an unhealthy dog. I used to say whoever bred her should be shot. She had bad skin and got interdigital cysts multiple times a year. She was prone to ear infections. She had a grade two mass cell tumour removed when she was three. A year or so later she was diagnosed with idiosympathic geriatric vestibular disease (many dogs don’t survive that condition). She used to spend considerable amounts of time just standing and staring into space, we thought it was just another one of her weird quirks but I Googled it one day and found it can indicate a thyroid issue. We had her tested and found she was so bad she had to take human strength Thyroxine every day for the rest of her life.

With all that going on I guess it was no wonder she was cranky!

I used to joke that she was going to outlive me because she’d beaten so many illnesses. But in Autumn 2018 she had surgery to remove a mass beside her anus. We had it tested and the vet told us it was a grade two tumour and due to the location they were unable to take large margins so it was possible the cancer would return. Life went on as normal. She looked old but she’d looked old for years. We took a family holiday in August. These photos were the last ones I took of her.

Towards the end of September she slowed down a lot, lost weight and looked like she’d aged heaps since our holiday. On the morning of October 1st she couldn’t get out of bed and wouldn’t eat (she never refused food!). The cancer had beaten her this time and her eyes told us it was time. Every dog owner hopes that, when the time comes, their dog will pass away peacefully in their sleep. Unfortunately we’ve yet to be that lucky. We brought Trixie to Sydney Uni, where we’d taken Ivan so many years previously, to be euthanised. It was such a sad day but we took comfort in the fact that she’d had a good innings and she didn’t suffer.

Many people who came to our house chose Trixie as their favourite. She would sit calmly at their feet and lean in hard when she got a neck scratch. She wasn’t like any of the other head-cases who would bounce around trying to get more attention than each other. Even my father who doesn’t really like dogs thought she was “a grand dog” – which is high praise, believe me!

I went through my archives and picked out a bunch of photos from her 10 years with us. If you click on a thumbnail below it will open the gallery.

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