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The Unconconditional Love Of A Boxer
The Unconditional Love Of A Boxer
by Larry C. Zickefoose
Without conditions, limitations, absolute; an intense emotional attachment, as for a pet or treasured object.
Well, at least that is the official definitions of unconditional. For my family and I the meaning of both can be summed up with one name "Sybil".
Sybil came into our lives in April of 1994, at the age of 6 months. I had never been around a boxer pup before. I didn't even know that there were white boxers. But there she was. Her tail had been cropped, but the stub had a little brown on it. Her ears were not cropped and made her look more like a pup. My son had lost a dog to illness about a month earlier and we had all been through an emotional roll-a-coaster. Now, there he stood at the top of the stairs with this boxer.
At first glance I was a little leery of her. But I found out that those ominous looks are just bluff, and behind it all was one loving animal. I tried to avoid her for the first couple of days. I would pet her on the head and rub her ears and then move on.
One morning I was setting at the breakfast table with my right hand just hanging there when I felt a hairy head in my hand. I looked down and there was Sybil, she had placed her head in my hand so I could pet her. Then she looked up at me with those button black eyes. I think that was the point that we both knew, she had me.
It only took about 4 days to house train her. She caught on to games quickly and on our first trip to the vet I commented to him, "I've been around a lot of dogs, but this dog seems especially intelligent." The vet said that the boxer was a very intelligent breed.
It seemed that all of a sudden I couldn't be anywhere in the house that Sybil wasn't there with me. Especially after my son joined the Army and moved away. Sybil could look you right in the eyes with a look that convinced you that she knew exactly what you were saying. I would take her in the car with me on my quick trips to the convenience store. She loved to go in the car, and when I was in the store she would get in the drivers seat and set real straight. Someone always came in laughing, "who's riding WITH the dog?"
My son got stationed in Savannah GA., about 10 hours away. As soon as he and his wife got settled he asked, "Could you bring Sybil to me"? Well as much as I loved the dog, it was his dog and he missed her terribly, so we loaded up the car and put Sybil in the back with my daughter. Sybil figured this was another trip to the convenience store for cigarettes. About 4 hours into the trip I looked in the mirror and she was looking at me with this "Gee whiz" how far are you going for these cigarettes"? look.
She stayed with my son for about 6 months when he was transferred to Hawaii. For people who don't know, pets are not exactly welcome in Hawaii. They have to be quarantined for 6 months. We all knewt that would just kill Sybil not to mention my son. She would think we gave her away. A thought we couldn't stand. The vet also advised us against putting her on a plane. So it was back to Kentucky for Sybil. She was to stay with us.
I really believe that Sybil never really understood the fact that she was a dog and not a person. We would all be getting ready to go somewhere and we would notice Sybil trying to 'blend' with the crowd and go to the car.
Although she became jealous of anyone who came near me, I never saw her snap at anyone. My wife would set on the couch beside me and Sybil would jump between us, put her back against me and push against my wife with all fours. It was a riot. ;o)
When my son returned from Hawaii with his wife and 6 month old son Jamie, he realized that Sybil was at home with us. Once right after Jamie started walking, he started for the stairs going down to the basement. Before I could jump up and get to him, Sybil got between him and the stairs and bumped into him enough to set him on his butt. When Jamie started crying Sybil licked the tears from his eyes. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it.
Through all the years Sybil has been here with me. I made up little songs about her, I even teased my wife that we would have to include her birthstone on my wife's family ring. My daughters would comment with "Where's dad's FAVORITE kid?"
I would push 'her chair' up against the couch and then I could lay on the couch, straighten out my left arm into the chair, and Sybil would lay her head on my arm. We would nap like this for hours at a time.
You may be wondering why I'm writing this now. You see, the clock on the wall reads 3:55 PM. Sybil and I have one last vet appointment at 5:15 PM. It will be her last. She came down with cancer about 2 months ago. Even though her vet is one of the best we couldn't beat the inevitable. She hasn't eaten a handful of food in 3 days. Her eyes are bloodshot and her breathing is labored. We will not, and can not watch her suffer. I called the vet a 9 AM and he agreed that the time had come. He asked if I wanted to be with her, an unbelievable, but I'm sure a normal question.
In a few hours Sybil will be a puppy again. She will be running in the green fields of heaven with all the other puppies. No more sickness, her hips won't hurt and she will be young and full of energy again.
Putting Sybil down, will be my last act of love to her. My insides feel like they are on fire . My whole family is in tears. We all love her very much. She loves all of us very much, with a love that only a pet can give, absolutely unconditional love.
Oct. 17, 1993 - Sept. 3, 2002
We love you girl.
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