CRYSTAL - Golden's Gracious Gidget, CGC TT
4/24/93 - 10/01/05
Ch PawPrint's Rockin Robin
Ch PawPrint's Rockin 'N Nite Away
Ch PawPrint's Do Right By Me, CGC
This week has been the toughest I have had in 12-1/2 years. Diagnosed last year with Degenerative Myelopothy, Golden's Gracious Gidget began her courageous fight. Ever the healthy athletic girl, she continued those mid-air flips as long as she could. Slowly she became more earth bound. Her spirit never died. She never accepted her newly formed limitations. Even as her rear weakened, and her hearing failed her only just a few months ago, Crystal still kept fighting. Never missing a meal or an offered treat. April 2005 we celebrated her 12th Birthday. Part of that celebration was to build a ramp to the back patio since she could no longer manage even the 2 smallest of stairs.
A Boxer that passed her SAS Echocardiogram at UC Davis at 5 years old and with the prognosis "the poster child of Normal". A Boxer that passed a 24 hour Holter test at 8 years old. A Boxer that OFA'd "Good" with her hips and even CERF'd and Thyroid tested when she was bred. We always said that whatever finally took her from us, it would have to be powerful. It seems that final power would be DM. Someone today suggesting kenneling a dog will cause this. Crystal never once saw the inside of a kennel. She lived freely 100% of the time in my home and slept on the couch until she could no longer get onto the couch.
12-1/2 years ago I brought home a tiny brindle puppy. I had never had a dog before and actually thought her quite ugly by fluffy dog standards. Within hours I remember feeling deeply ashamed of those original thoughts. I was quickly introduced to something called "Boxer Spirit". My household would never be the same. This dog never stopped smiling. Only a few hours into my home she was happily retrieving a tennis ball. Within days she had destroyed her first dog bed. House breaking her was a nightmare. Teaching her not to bite us during play was tough. Heck, just leash breaking her was a chore. You see, I had never had a dog before. And Crystal knew that. She knew she was at least 2 steps ahead of my husband and I. But we were as stubborn as she. Within a year we had an incredible buddy. And she had opened a world to me I never knew existed - the dog show world.
It was because of her spirit in the ring that I sought out my future star, Booker T. And thankfully she helped us with that eventual house breaking and house rules thing. She took him under her wing like he was her own puppy. She taught him everything she knew. These 2 were soul mates.
Crystal and Booker T ended up making their own memories in the whelping box. They produced 3 incredible Champion sons. How many people have had such a joy with their first 2 Boxers? I was truly blessed. I recently relayed my happy day at showing their 10 year old son in the Breed ring at a local show.
Crystal passed the ATTS test and the AKC's CGC test. Her attitude and Boxer heart have become a measuring rod for all my future dogs. It does not seem fair sometimes. But her spirit IS a Boxer's spirit. I pray I see shades of it in every Boxer I ever share my home with.
This week was the worse. We knew this day would come some day, but of course we have all fought together to avoid it. Quality of life is something I promised Crystal. She has had it for 12-1/2 years. The decision was made today to make good that long standing promise. My husband and I have been good checks with each other over Crystal's condition. He loves Crystal as dearly as if she were a human daughter. We have been married over 14 years so that pretty much makes Crystal our daughter. We have all grown up together. Together we made an important decision. One of those was to make her final meal something she loves - Steak and Shrimp. Delivered from our favorite restaurant and just for our special girl.
And for the first time in all my 16 years I have known my husband, I held him as he sobbed uncontrollably. I have never once seen my strong Italian husband be so emotionally lost as he did this morning when we said our final goodbyes. That is how much Crystal meant to him and to me. Boxers have a way of sneaking into your heart and stealing it right away.
My first Boxer has now passed to a place where her spirit can once again jump as high as needed to steal a Boxer kiss. Bark as loud as needed to wake the dead and feed her a meal. And of course jump on someone's bed somewhere to kiss them good morning. Please share in the joy of a wonderful Boxer passing and an incredible life lived.
Crystal has set the bar incredibly high for all those that follow in her
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