Lexie’s first love

Lexie and Lili on top of pillow mountain.

Long before Charlie, Lexie had another love in her life.

Lili was a barrel-shaped black-and-tan cocker spaniel, with a penchant for licking anything. Hence the nickname Lili the Licker.

I rescued Lili from my former partner’s relative, who could not care for her anymore. Before I got her, Lili spent a good portion of her first year cooped up in a bathroom; after I brought her home I would often find her curled up in front of our toilet.

Lili stands guard at base camp.

The bond between Lex and Lili was fast and fierce. They followed each other through the house, and cuddled up together on the couch for a nap. Together they both learned what it meant to go camping, and the freedom of chasing wild animals through the woods.

And then there was what I’ll call “The Kissing Game.” Aah, yes. At first guests would find it charming. “Oh look, they’re kissing!” they would say, pointing at Lex and Lili’s makeout session. But after a few minutes, the mood would turn awkward. The feverish licking continued. And then, a couple minutes more — and they would still be going at it like a couple of teenagers, um, in heat.

“Go get a dog house,” I would cry out, pulling them apart, as my guests averted their eyes. Clearly I needed to have a talk with the girls about appropriate behavior when we had friends over.

They loved taking walks together. In all kinds of weather. This led to various accessories, ranging from doggie rain coats to Mutt-Luk booties to keep salt from bothering their tender paws. Once I snapped the leashes on them, Lex and Lili knew only one speed: GO! I was that person, both arms outstretched, blindly following two dogs trying out for a mush team.

Lili was a delicate flower. She had allergies that would cause her to break out in terrible sores. And then there were the ear infections. It was such a terrible case, that even her allergist could not prevent her from going deaf. We tried everything, including feeding her venison I bought at a wild game shop. I’d say there were moments when her allergies would subside, but inevitably they would return, raging out of control.

Even with her smelly ears, Lili was the only one for Lexie. She never turned her nose, and always snuggled in a bit closer.

Lili and Jilli wait for a summer storm.

What many people don’t know is that Lili was an expert crooner. The moment I walked out of eyesight, whether out into the front yard or into the next room, Lili would start winding up. It went something like: “woo-wooo-Woo-Wooo-WOO-WOOO-WOOOOO!”

The first time I heard her howl I thought she had broken a leg. My heart raced as I ran back into the house, only to find her happily panting. It was the beginning of a lifetime of false alarms. Fool me once, fool me a thousand times!

Lex and Lili were like an old married couple. They waited for each other before climbing the stairs to go to bed. They ate at the same time. They peed in unison on walks. Their bond was unbreakable.

Our last photo together.

So when Lili died, I was unsure if Lexie would survive.

For days, Lex curled up on Lili’s smelly pillow. She moped, and didn’t eat. She lost weight. But eventually she started showing interest in the world again. A year passed, and I’m sure she was convinced she would finish her days as a spinster.

Then Charlie came along.

Love is tender and unpredictable. And love has found Lexie again.

Lili would want that.

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16 thoughts on “Lexie’s first love

  1. I love Lili! She sounds like a fun character. Who doesn’t love a “crooner”? My Our Furever Family mug came last week. It’s beautiful! Thank you and thank you for telling my story. but guess what. Mom won’t even let me drink from it. Only a few licks when she finishes her tea!! She thinks it’s hers!

    Love and licks and back-from-the-blackout,

    • Hey Cupcake!

      First of all, I’m so glad you survived Hurricane Sandy and are back from the blackout. That must have been terrifying!

      You are right about Lili. She always brought a huge smile to my face.

      It’s great that the mug arrived! Now you need to hatch a plan to sneak a few licks of tea when mom isn’t looking!!

  2. That’s a sweet story, how old was Lili when she died?
    It’s really interesting how dogs bond like that.
    Doggy also loves to lick, it annoys me at times, but there’s not much I can do.

    • I want to say Lili was almost 13 when she died. She lived a full life, and traveled more places than some people I know.

      I got used to the licking. It was odd. I mean, she really just couldn’t help herself. But after time, I found it endearing.

  3. What a sad-sweet story. I am so glad you rescued Lili and gave her such a brilliant home. It is remarkable when you see such love between animals and I am glad that Lexie has, again, found love. So sorry that you had to lose Lili. These dogs of ours really break our hearts but I’d go through it a thousand times for the experiences they give us.

  4. A beautiful story and one I can relate to, having just lost my wonderful pal Zac to allergies and other problems at only eight years.
    Now my story goes on as a new puppy is introduced into the house because when Zac died it seemed like Zena (me) was going to go too, so something had be done and the thing that was done is now sharing my bed!

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