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My Rexy Boy

by Karen Eastland 5 months ago in dog · updated 4 months ago
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Rexamus Maxamus

Rexy when we first found each other

I got my Rexamus Maxamus (Rex) when he was just a puppy. He was a full blood English Staffordshire (Staffy). When I went to get him, as you do with animals, I sat and waited for him to choose me. There were eight puppies and all, but Rex followed their mother from the back porch to the lawn. Rex, a white Staffy with a brown patch over his eyes, walked over to my feet, climbed on them and, as little fat puppies do, tried to reach for me, but rolled off.

When I picked up that little bundle of joy, he curled up in my lap and went to sleep. I took him home that day. He has a pedigree name also, but to me he was my Rexy Boy. I’d been in a nasty accident and had a mattress on the lounge room floor because it was more comfortable than the bed. So, right off the dot, Rex and I slept together. He snuggled his snout in behind my ear and snored like a drunken sailor.

That first night when my partner got home from work, he fell in love with him also, but we decided that because he was a puppy, we had to set the boundaries. An hour before we went to bed, we put Rex in the large laundry. We had set up a soft bed for him, gave him a stuffed toy to snuggle and laid training paper all over the floor. We put small bowls of food and water in with him, then went back to the lounge room and waited to see if he would take to his new sleeping arrangement.

He didn’t!

Rex howled, a high-pitched whiny howl and as we were in a residential neighbourhood, we could hear the next-door neighbours talking and laughing about his little, but loud, howling. After a couple of visits to let him know, we were still there; he continued. Eventually, my partner broke and let him out. That tiny puppy ran so fast down the long hardwood floor hallway that as he reached his exit, he slid past it and hit the bedroom door.

“Rexy?” I called from the mattress on the floor, and he heard me above my partner's laughter.

Rex slid around the doorway, saw me, and ran as fast as his little legs could carry him. He almost, but not quite, jumped up the four inches to get to me, but slipped. He was so beautiful and funny that I was laughing when he made it up onto the mattress and, after a passing lick to my ear, he put his snout in my mouth.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, spitting his damp nose juices into the air.

I picked him up and floated him above my face, and his little paws were running in air. I pulled him to my chest, and after I had my face cleaned, he climbed off and moved to the left of my head and snuggled in behind my ear.

He never did sleep in the laundry.

We did everything together, and he loved the car. At the time, I had a Ford Capri, and he would sit with the seatbelt on and the top down just loving life. I took him to the beach with me, on a leash, and when the first wave neared him, he panicked and ran around my legs, tying them together. Since the accident, I wasn’t too steady on my legs, so as the leash tightened, I fell to the sand, and fell hard.

The dog beach

I lay there for several minutes, trying not to cry. I saw a couple near to us and it looked like the young man had seen what happened and started to get up to see if I was all right, but his female companion put her hand on his arm and said, “Wait.”

I needed help, but didn’t want it, so I pushed through my pain and sat up. I laughed at Rex, told him, “You’re a funny little boy,” as I unwound the leash.

I sat on the sand for a while longer and Rex sat with me. I wanted to get to my car, drive home and cry, but I took it slow and when I felt I could get up, I did, but the walk back to the car was a long one. Rex helped with that, too.

“Car?” I said, and he pulled on his leash, keeping me upright until we were almost there.

Suddenly he stopped, and I realised how badly I was hurt. When he stopped, I fell against a large dune. A path had been cut out of the dune. The walls on either side were tall, and the path was thin. I was evaluating my injuries when Rex became excited again and pulled me to my feet. I was so thankful when we reached the car.

I was picking my partner up from work that day, so after Rex and I were strapped in, I drove to his workplace. On our drive home, I told him about our little beach adventure, so he was aware I had hurt myself. When we got home, I was getting out of the car and to my surprise, I couldn’t feel my legs. My partner had to carry me inside and lay me on the mattress, and after Rex relieved himself, he snuggled in with me.

Skip forward five-years and we had moved to Tasmania. We bought a property online without seeing it. It had two stone cabins and a shack, which is a huge deal in Tasmania… a shack is. We were on two-hundred-acres of virgin bush and I'd fallen into a deep depression and moved into that shack. It was a like an external representation of my inner turmoil. I slept with Rex and three cats, on the loft. Downstairs was the workshop.

While I was there, one of my cats died. I thought a snake had bitten him, but my partner was not so sure… yes, he was still around, still by my side, even though I had moved to the shack.

My shack is nmade of poorly set stone

Lucifer, the cat, died in my arms. He didn’t twitch, he didn’t meow, he just drifted off to sleep. My depression became a warm and welcoming escape from life after that, but Rex was always there. He was a ray of sunshine in my otherwise darkness.

A couple of weeks after Lucifer died, Muskii, Delequin and Louise (cats) followed Rex up the steps. It was more of a ladder actually and woke me. I leaned over the loft to see what the four pairs of eyes, peering out of the darkness from the end of my bed, were worried about, then I saw it. A large tiger snake was slithering around the workshop, and I knew it had killed Lucifer. I kept an eye on it and when it heard me, it slithered into an old Coke can box.

I got out of bed and climbed down the ladder. The animals followed me, except for Rex and Muskii.

“No, mummy,” Rex said. “You can’t make me!”

Muskii said, "I'm with him."

I picked up two cats and had to walk past that box with the snake inside with enough knowledge to know that a snake would rather hide than attack. Once I was past it, I raced as fast as one could without their cane and put the cats in the car. Then went back for Rex and Muskii. I slipped the leash on Rex and picked up Muskii, the black cat I had before Rex, and I got them safely outside, but it was pitch black and I had one torch. It was in my mouth so I could see ahead of me.

It was raining

So, we, Rex and I, were running to the car when I heard a splash, felt a tightening of the leash, then it slackened as Rex caught up--We’d been slowly digging large square holes for footings for a shed to go up--It had rained, throw in a dark night and a snake, and well, Rex had a swim.

I reached the car and Delequin was standing on the passenger side seat with her little paws on the dash. I drove to another cabin on the property. It was empty at the time and furnished.

Skip forward seven-years and I could still make my way around the driveway of the property, if I could rest before turning back. Rex had been to the veterinarians a few days earlier and had a minor operation to have some teeth removed. I spent the day with my daughter down the road. She came with me to pick him up, and there was something not right about Rex. He was still dopey, very dopey, from the anesthetic.

“What’s wrong with him?” I asked, because he could barely stand up on his own.

“It’s just the anesthetic,” the vet said.

I did not believe them. The vets never let an animal go home when they are full of anesthetic like Rex was. My daughter and I cast a doubtful look at the veterinarian, but what could I say?

“What have you done to my dog?”

It was obviously he had been doped.

Rex on the back seat of the car

My daughter and I lay him on the back seat, put a blanket over him and we took Rex home. I was living back with my partner by that stage, having come to terms with the loss of the independence I had fought so hard to keep. My partner took one look and was unconvinced the vets would let an animal go while they were under so much anesthetic. He carried the sleeping Rexy into the house and lay him on his bed.

Rexy's bed

Rex did not move.

So, I’m up on this ridge and I could swear I heard my partner call me, then I just knew something was wrong with Rex. I made it back to the house in record time, and bursting through the door, my partner looked up and was about to get up, when he saw me and the look on my face.

“What’s wrong with Rex?” I asked before he could say anything.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“You called me,” I said. “What’s wrong with Rex?”

“What? I never called, and nothing's wrong with the little boy,” he said, but when I reached Rex, he lifted his head and yelped.

“I’m taking him to the vets,” I said, and my partner agreed.

We carried him to the car, lay him down on the back seat and drove the one-hundred-kilometres into town. We both had to carry him into the vets. I had to hold Rex’s head up. If I moved it at all, he would yelp.

The vet took him in and gave him the once over and began saying, “The cancer has advanced.”

“Wait! What?” I asked. “What cancer—”

“The cancer has gotten worse. He’ll need to take these three times a day—”

“Cancer?” I asked again. “Rex doesn’t have cancer.”

“It’s here in his notes,” the vet said. “Brain cancer.”

A stay at the vets

White noise with a high-pitched screaming at its core filled my head. I barely heard the rest, but they sent home with us with a bundle of small hypodermics, minus the needle, filled with a strong sedative/pain killer. We were on the way home and my mind was racing.

“They’ve said nothing about Rex having cancer,” I said to my partner, while keeping my hand on my boy sleeping in the back of the car.

“Yes, they have,” he said.

“No-one’s ever told me,” I said again, “that’s not something you forget about!”

“They have.”

I just fell silent. What else could I do? My little boy, the once tiny puppy who had cared for me for all those years, now needed me to care for him, and I would not let him down. Three times a day, I injected a sedative and pain reliever into his mouth, and he would look at me as if to say thank you.

My heart was breaking as I watched him deteriorate.

We bought four lengths of cage wire and made him a large cage, packed with pillows and stuff right next to the side of the bed I was on. I would fall asleep only after Rex, with my hand in the cage stroking the top of his head, letting him know I was there.

Rexy's cage

He went downhill fast, and one morning he began to have seizures. One led to another to another until he was in a continual state of seizure. I sat in the back of the car with Rex on my lap and held him tight as he seized. Tears were falling from my eyes, and I wanted to hide and weep, but my Rexy needed me. I spoke to him for the entire drive in, trying to calm him enough to stop the seizures, but he was still seizing when we arrived.

Rex had to stay with the vets for three days, and everyday we would make the trip. One the second day, the vet’s had his seizures under control, “But it’s unlikely he’ll even recognise you. The tumour has metastasized.”

I was trying not to speak because the day before, every time I spoke, Rex would yelp.

But not recognising my voice, I thought. Of course, he’ll recognise it.

I was deluding myself, but delusion was all I had left. When the vet said we could open the cage and see him, I almost ran. I hit the floor and slid to his cage because when I said his name, Rex yelped.

“Rexy,” I said, wrapping an arm around him, snuggling into him, “I love you Rexy boy. Mummy loves you.”

He knew me

Rex yelped until I snuggled his snout into my neck, and he went to sleep. The look of surprise on all their faces was my reward when Rex started snoring. I sat on that floor for a long time just holding my little boy in my arms, and because Rex recognised my voice, the vet said we could take him home, but that was just for me.

When we got home, we lay Rex in his bed, but he’d lost control of his bodily functions and peed in it. I climbed into the cage and cleaned it, laying new bedding and puppy pads down, then I lay in the cage with him.

Around one in the morning, Rex started yelping, and I knew he wanted to go to the toilet. I put the lead on him, but he couldn’t walk. My back had degraded, but I picked my boy up and carried him outside, sat and waited for him to go, but he couldn’t. I carried him back in and had just set him down when he peed.

For three days and nights this went on and I realised Rex was holding on for me, and I was selfishly holding on to my best friend.

I knew it was time to let him go.

My partner and I took him outside on the last day and he could walk a little. So, we took some photos of my boy, then took him to the vets.

They knew he was coming.

While we waited in the waiting room, Rex yelped and yapped, so we took him outside one last time and sat on a bench that had tree cover. Rex relieved himself on a tree, then evacuated his bowls in one long shot, and we took him back inside. While we were telling them about the mess outside, the vet called us in.

It was like Rex knew what was going on. He lay down on his shroud and I leaned in and said, “Mummy loves you Rexy boy,” and he licked my face and looked at me but didn’t move a muscle.

My partner stayed with him until the very end. I could not watch my best friend get put to sleep. Rexamus Maxamus came into my life when I needed him most. He cared for me, loved me unconditionally, even when I moved him to the shack with me.

He was an all-comforts puppy.

Rex was there for me when I needed him the most and I was there for him when he needed me.

That was five-years-ago, and I miss him every day. I could not get another dog, no other dog could replace my Rexy Boy.

My little Rexy


About the author

Karen Eastland

I write primarily, Urban Fantasy, but because my style sits on the cuff of several genres moving into paranormal fantasy was an easy step. I became a Vocal+ member to provide interactive access for my readers.

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