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The loss of my dog, my best friend, my Roxy Ann

Roxy & Quincy 2-17-16

I apologize for my lack of updates over the past several weeks. I have some sad news about my dog, Roxy Ann. Many of you may know Roxy from the DIY photos posted throughout the site, my Facebook header, or even my PrettyPurpleDoor logo. Sadly, she developed osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in her leg, and one month ago today, she passed away. Things are just not the same.

My Rescue Dog

I began by fostering Roxy from a local pet rescue, One Life To Live Pet Rescue & Adoption (OLTL), in May 2010. She was a 26 lb. puppy (and eventually grew to 95lbs.).  My goal was to give her a loving foster home until she found her “furever” home. It was my 2 week trip to Europe that did it for me. I missed her so, so, so much while I was away. All I did was think about her… and that’s how I knew I could never be without her. The second I got home I made the call to the OLTL to tell Debbie the news.. her response was, “well it’s about time! You were made for each other!”

And she was right.

First photo of Roxy
This is the first photo I ever took of Roxy Ann, in my old kitchen.

Even though I waited nearly 3 months before officially adopting her, Roxy stole my heart very quickly. I loved her from the very first day I saw her, when One Life to Live did a home visit and brought Roxy along for the ride. She flopped down in my kitchen and fell asleep in about 3 seconds. I thought… I can do this… look how sweet she is.

Roxy and Quincy in 2010
Roxy and my cat Quincy loved each other from the start.

A Handful of Puppy

This sweet, innocent puppy was a handful in her early years. She tested my patience, and my sanity. She destroyed multiple goose-down comforters and pillows (feathers… everywhere). And ate the furniture. And ate a hole through the outside door. Oh, and that time when she jumped out the window as I watched the “RoxyCam” — the webcam I set up to keep an eye on her — from my office in horror. And that time she ate 13 socks — no that’s not a typo.

Roxy jumping out window
Roxy jumping out the window. This is shot from my “RoxyCam” that I would watch from work to keep an eye on her

She Was My Best Friend

my best friend

But she (obviously) wasn’t perfect. She was a destructive puppy, but turned into a wonderful, well-behaved companion. Roxy was full of life and personality. She was perfect in my eyes… and I was perfect in hers. She touched the lives of so many people. But most importantly, she gave me comfort. Always did something silly,  or just laid with her head in my lap to let me know she was there for me. She took such good care of her mommy.

Here is a video I made pulling together some great clips and photos of Roxy as a puppy.
Here’s a video I made in honor of Roxy Ann after she passed.

Over the past 6 years I’ve had a lot of difficult times. Losing some good friends, dealing with my family’s and my own medical issues. Most relevant, the stress of buying my first home, and adjusting to my new life here in Old Forge. Roxy has always been by my side through those times.

Our days were filled with walks, games of playing ball, snuggling on the couch with her stuffed animals, trips to the dog park, hanging out for hours eating treats with the bikers that hung out at the local ice cream parlor, and driving all over creation together.

There were so many great times, that those difficult moments were just that… moments.

Moments surrounded by so much joy and love and laughter that the stress, anxiety, and grief we all face in life just faded away. She made even the most difficult times bearable for me.

Roxy holds my hand
Roxy used to hold my hand, because she was the sweetest dog ever. And she was my best friend.

Roxy listens to Clyde play the guitar
Roxy listens to Clyde play the guitar

Adding a pack member

When my boyfriend moved in about a year ago, my Roxy Ann was a bit apprehensive. But she came around. She loved Clyde, and they bonded quickly.

Of course, I was still her number one. Clyde could come for walks with Roxy and I, but she downright refused to go for a walk with JUST him. I must say, her stubbornness was quite endearing to me… she was so loyal. On the other hand, there were a few days where I wasn’t feeling well and literally begged her to just go for a spin around the block with him. Of course she wouldn’t. So, even when I didn’t feel well I would drag myself out of bed and bounce around town with my happy girl.

Looking back on those times, I’m glad that I went. I don’t regret a single walk with her. What I would give to go for another one right now.

Roxy in the front yard
Roxy in the front yard shortly after I bought our first home.

Our First Home

I think what makes my home and this blog so special, is the life journey I’ve taken through the years. And Roxy was such a huge part of that journey. I chose THIS house in particular for her — the big yard, this huge windows, the “Roxy Room” in the basement, the safe neighborhood to walk her in. A lot of these criteria would not have even been on my list if I didn’t have Roxy. It was our home together,  and we helped each other transition to a new neighborhood and new surroundings. We explored every inch of town together, snuggled in bed at the end of the day, and investigated weird noises side-by-side. Moving into a new house as a single woman was NOT scary, as a lot of people may think. But, looking back, Roxy was my strength. I wasn’t “single” or “alone” — I had her – my best friend by my side.

The Loss

Since Roxy fell asleep in my kitchen that very first day I met her, we were inseparable. She never left my side from that day forward… until February 17, 2016. For those of you who have suffered the loss of a beloved pet, I’m sure you can understand the profound loss I’ve experienced. You are probably already crying for me. I thank all of you for reading this. Truly from the bottom of my heart I thank you.

Roxy was only 6 years and 11 days old when she passed away. She had been limping and I took her to the vet and got X-rays and other tests done. The vet did not see anything wrong and said she should be fine in a few weeks. About a week later she could not even bear weight on her front leg. I assumed she jumped off the bed when the mailman came and re-injured herself a bit, but just to be cautious I called around to find an orthopedic vet and made an appointment. In the meantime she was in pain, so I took her to a local emergency clinic to see if they could help and at least give her some pain medication until our appointment.

I was not prepared for what happened at that visit. It was one of the worst days of my life. It changed my life forever. After another X-ray I was told that my sweet girl has osteosarcoma (bone cancer). Most dogs don’t live past 4 months with this diagnosis. Even with the most extreme measures taken (amputation, chemo, etc), we were looking at maybe 8 months. Maybe much less.

Completely blindsided. That’s all I can really say about getting that news. I decided I would not put my sweet girl through all of that for her to suffer in her last days with me. Still, I couldn’t comprehend the news. I just couldn’t…. my Roxy girl. My sweet, beautiful, crazy lady. My best friend. My Roxy Ann. No, not my Roxy. Please don’t take her away from me.  There was nothing I could do. All the money in the world could not save her. All the love in the world could not save her. This could not be happening.

Over the next few weeks, I got more opinions from other vets. Each diagnosis was worse than the next. This has been one the hardest times in my life. I worked from home and cared for Roxy. Spoiled her rotten. She ate meatloaf, lasagna, hamburgers, pizza, icecream… anything she wanted she got. We snuggled in bed all day, and friends and family paraded in and out of my house to visit her and comfort me. I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. I know you loved her too. And I’m sorry that you are hurting. I wish I could take our pain away.

3 weeks and 2 days after visiting the emergency clinic, Roxy passed away. She went peacefully in my arms with her stinky, filthy pink (errr brown) puppy stuffed animal. Her favorite two things in the whole world… me and her puppy.

Here’s a video from Roxy’s 6th birthday party. My family sung to her, and made her a bacon cheeseburger cake. She passed away 11 days later.

The Aftermath

Even though I had that time with her, and I knew what the outcome was going to be… I’m learning that nothing can prepare you for how it feels walking into your home without your doggy there to greet you. Life is so empty since Roxy has left me. I know how they say, “think about the good times” — and I am. But everything is so incredibly painful to think about. Every moment, every day, every noise, every single thing reminds me of her. I am still stepping on rawhide bones. Still finding her hair on my clothes. I can’t even put her food dishes away. My house with the pretty purple door is simply hollow… lifeless. I fill the silence with tears and sobs. Exactly one month ago today she left my side… and I’m writing this with tears streaming down my face. Grief is such an unpredictable, scary thing.

But, I am trying to pull through this. I created handmade thank you cards with photos of Roxy for my family and friends. I collected photos and videos. And I’ve fill my home with happy reminders of her. I know time will heal this wound, although it will never fully close.

Moving forward, I hope to fill my time with more projects around the house… and of course, blog about them. I hope you will all continue to read along.

Roxy Thank You Cards
Some of the handmade thank you cards I sent out.

More Photos & Videos

You’re welcome to take a look at my ridiculous amount of photos and videos I collected on Google Photos. She was very loved… and I miss her terribly. Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you’re going through something like this, I am so sorry. I hope it’s comforting to know that you’re not alone. Feel free to drop me a line at [email protected].


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Amy Fedele

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Amy is the founder of Pretty Purple Door and has been a garden designer since 2014 and graphic designer since 2005. She helps home gardeners design their own beautiful landscapes that are colorful in all four seasons, show off your personality and suit your lifestyle. Amy's work has been featured in publications like The Spruce, Family Handyman, Buzzfeed, Country Living Magazine and more. Read full bio.

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