Do Boxer Dogs Understand Death of their Housemate?

It has been almost a week since our Astrid crossed the rainbow bridge. For the most part Bodhi seems okay. He has had a few moments of looking a bit sad. His ears perked up a bit when he heard us mention Astrid's name, and he seemed to look around for her hoping she had returned. However, we think he knew she was dying before we did.

this picture was taken a few weeks before Astrid's passing.
Just being his typical beg hog self...
As I noted in a previous blog, I found Bodhi standing over Astrid quietly, then laying down next to her. I felt he knew that her time was near,

The day she passed I made sure that he came over to see her so he could have closure. I did not want him to see her leave and not understand that she was 'gone'. After he spent a moment with her, he pretty much vanished and stayed clear.

The next day he was quiet, and seemed lonely. Before her passing, the two were peas in a pod, always traveling around the house together, barking at stuff together, begging together, going potty together in the yard, etc...etc..He followed her like she was Queen.

I used to always joke if Bodhi went first Astrid would be fine with it, but if Astrid went first that Bodhi would be devastated.

Astrid was definitely the Alpha around here (ranking just under me of course) - but now Bodhi seems to be stepping into her role a bit in a subtle way. i.e. taking her spot on the bed and no longer waiting to eat (he used to wait until she had her food before he ate)

Overall I think he's doing pretty good, like all of us, I think he has his moments...

Alethea Anderson
The Boxer Blogger

Have you hugged your Boxer(s) today?


Bodhi and Astrid

Some of the most recent pictures of Beevis and Butthead, I mean Bodhi and Astrid - before Astrid crossed the Rainbow Bridge...

Double Trouble, the Boxer Duo always had us laughing. Bodhi is taking the loss pretty good, he seems a little sad at times - but we're making sure he gets lots of love and affection as it's a difficult time for all of us.

Alethea Anderson
The Boxer Blogger

Have you hugged your Boxer(s) today?


You don't know what you're missing until it's gone - after your Boxer dies

After your Boxer Dog dies, a piece of you goes along too. In the days after, you realize even more how much you miss even the most annoying, crazy things your Boxer would do.

I miss her stealing a single shoe, and stashing it somewhere it the house.

I miss having to run around the for ten minutes, while running late, looking for it.

I miss her little old lady dragon breath, wafting at me while eating my dinner.

I miss her loud and high pitch bark when she felt she was not the center of attention.

I miss getting up off the couch only to find she had stolen the warm spot.

I miss finding her waiting for me at the garage door when I'd come home - with her nub wagging so fiercely that she could not walk in a straight line.

I miss her always, ALWAYS grabbing a toy, shoe, blanket, pillow ANYTHING she could get her teeth on, to present a gift when I walked through the door.

I miss her hogging the bed (Bodhi is starting to settle into her spot now and he too is a magnificent bed hog)

I miss her smacking her little lips before falling asleep.

I  miss her claw footed stretch into my back.

I miss her 'rabbit kick' as she got comfy.

I miss seeing her 'spoon' with hubby under the covers with her head out and a big smile on her face...

While I miss so many things, I also feel blessed that I have the memory of these and many more things that made her so special in our lives.

Alethea Anderson
The Boxer Blogger

Have you hugged your Boxer(s) today?


Astrid Crosses the Rainbow Bridge

...continued...  Astrid's final journey to the Rainbow Bridge. This is not for the faint of heart, I go into detail how I experienced the death of our beloved Astrid. 

That evening when I got home Astrid was breathing very heavily; her eyes looked confused, tired and frightened. I felt in my heart it was time soon. I asked her if she was thirsty, and her eyes said 'yes' (she always had a way of opening her eyes to say 'yes' for potty/kibbles/water). So I brought a little bowl, she could not raise her head to drink, so I gave her water via a dropper - and she drank.

I got a pillow and laid with her, I told her she was a beautiful girl. I told her she was a good girl. I thanked her for sharing so many fun times with us over the past nine years. I told her it was okay, it was okay to go. I stroked her face, played with her ears an looked into her eyes. I was laying right next to her, just being 'with' her.

Her breathing was deep and heavy, it seemed as if she just could not get enough air. From what I had read, her body was shutting down. The organs were no longer running at 100%, this is why she was not able to walk without wobbling, stand for very long, and why she did not want any food. She was preparing to go.

It was very difficult, all kinds of things were running through my brain.

"Does she want me here?"
"Would she rather be alone?"

I just did not know... I had heard animals usually go to a secluded spot to pass away, but it was so difficult for me to leave her alone - her eyes looked so scared...

She had a vet appointment at 9:15 the next morning, so I decided I'd bring her into bed like the night before. I made a big comfy nest in the middle of the bed with her favorite blankets. Preparing for a nice evening snuggle.

Then I asked her if she needed to go potty, her eyes desperately said "yes!"  So I picked her up and gently set her outside. Making sure she was stable, she stood on wobbly feet, and walked over and peed. But she did not squat, for the first time ever. She peed fully standing up, and it made my heart jump.

After peeing, she walked forward and sideways at the same time. She then collapsed to the ground. Her head was still up, so I figured she just ran out of energy. I ran inside to get my shoes so I could bring her in to her nest of blankets on the bed.

A couple seconds later I was walking toward her and I saw her head lay down. Then I heard it, the very deep, long inhale - followed buy a long and thorough exhale. Then silence. I knew. It had just happened.

I knelt beside her and gently called her name, she was gone. I laid my hands on her side and I could feel the warmth of her body, and a quiet vibration within. Her engine was winding down. Her little head did a couple twitches. I could not hear anything, it was totally quiet around me, the world, in that moment, was totally void of sound. The motion light had gone out, and it was just us alone, under the starry night sky in that moment. I could only hear the sound of blossoms dropping off the tree above us. It seemed like hours in that silence...

I had a mild bout of panic, I didn't know what to do. I knew she may evacuate her bowls. I knew that rigamortis would at some point set in.

I called the vet, it was after 10 PM, I got the after hours service. I was hoping to get the on call doctor to tell me what to do. They referred me to the ER. The same ER that we had just taken her to a month before. They kept me waiting for what seemed like an eternity...

I took the nest of blankets off the bed and folded them into a comfy square in the living room, and I prepared myself to go outside to get Astrid. I had lifted her hundreds of times, in my head I thought it would be similar - except this time with no wiggles or kisses.

I knelt down beside her, petting her gently, she was still warm and soft... Several flowers had fallen off the tree onto her and around her. It was peaceful and beautiful...

I was ready, I slid my hands under her to pick her up, and I walked half way across the yard and collapsed. Her lifeless body shocked me. I kneeled over her, sobbing.

I was not expecting her lifeless body to be so absent. The energy was gone. The life force had vanished, Her soul had moved on. After having a moment of awakening, I knew I had the strength to continue.

I lifted her once again and carried her inside, I lay her down on her folded nest of her favorite blankets. I moved her so she looked like she was just taking a cozy nap. I laid with her. I kissed her. I talked to her. I said goodbye.

Our sweet Astrid is now a fur angel, she has crossed the rainbow bridge and is now romping in forever green grasses - with delicious treats and tons of shoes and socks to steal.

We love you our sweet princess puppy, until we meet again...

Alethea Anderson
The Boxer Blogger

Have you hugged your Boxer(s) today?

How do you know if your Boxer is dying?

So, what led me to do a series of Boxer Blog posts in a row was this... Just a week or so ago Astrid started acting a little strange. We were having a heat wave here in Northern California, and both the Boxer duo were hot pups. However, Astrid was being a little more lethargic than her normal napping self, and was protesting food a bit, Now we already know Astrid had a habit of protesting dog food when getting human food the day before - so we were thinking she was pulling rank and trying to get us to give her treats or human food.

However this time, something was different....

She would not even eat a treat. She would not even eat human food. She appeared to have lost a little weight.

Note: the average age for a Boxer is 10 to 11 years old, Astrid was 12-14 or so (she was a rescue so we never knew her exact age). Due to this fact I looked up the signs of a dying dog. Never something anyone has to look up but for some reason I felt I needed to look it up. It makes my heart hurt even thinking about it....

However, as I read the list, Astrid met nearly all the criteria....

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of coordination
  • Labored breathing
  • Confusion
  • Incontinence 
In the beginning of this she was tired, but almost herself aside from that and protesting food a bit. However over the course of just a week, Astrid was so very tired, she would get up to drink, pee, then lay back down again. No playing, no barking at people out the window. No begging. No stealing shoes. No stealing the warm spot on the couch.

I took her to the vet, I had to carry her in. At this time she would only stand for a moment then lay down. She had no interest in the puppy treats on the counter. No interest in the barking dogs. No interest in the faint meows. Barely a nub wiggle when the vet walked in.

I asked with tears in my eyes if she was this time Astrid's breathing was getting shallow and quick - like after a hard romp around the yard, but while she was at complete rest. The doctor said it was possibly the case, but wanted to inject her with fluids and some medication and see how she did. The doctor also recommended a bunch of other tests (all of which were just done a few weeks earlier at the ER) as the doctor said things can change rapidly in that short amount of time. Depending how the treatment went, we would revisit it after a follow up. But,she also said it might be time to consider other options...

We went home and Astrid walked into my home office to lay down. I covered her up as per the vet her temperature was a bit low. 

Later I checked on her and Bodhi was in the room with her, just standing by her, looking at her. He knew. I know he knew. He laid next to her and stayed by her side.

We brought Astrid up onto our bed and let her snuggle with us for the night as usual. Her breathing was very loud, it had me concerned. I wanted her near us. She slept through the night...

The next morning I had to head to San Francisco for work. Bodhi was snuggled up against her, she stood up and indicated she had to go potty, so I took her out side (carried her as she would not walk to the door). She peed then made it back inside, where she laid down.

I was distraught over leaving, so worried for her... but I had to go. My daughter's boyfriend gave me an update later that afternoon - he checked on her and had taken her potty, she drank some water, and he was keeping her company. This put me at ease and I finished my day.

Alethea Anderson
The Boxer Blogger

Greenies Pill Pockets - Boxer Endorsed

I HAVE to share about these Pill Pockets by Greenies... We found them by accident when at a trip to the ER vet for Astrid. We were charged an enormous amount of money for a small bag, however it was worth it. Astrid took the pills with NO problem!

I used to have to attempt to hide pills in peanut butter or wrap them in lunch meat, where her clever self would eat the treat and spit out the pill...

These thing are amazing, little treats with a hole in the middle, soft like play doh, you pop in the pill and shape the treat around the pill. It is swallowed in one gulp. Seriously if it's that good I don't know why dogs don't CHEW it to taste it, but regardless it works.

If you have a pill popping pup, give these a try!

(I am not sure how healthy (or not) they are -but they relieve owner stress that's for sure!)

Alethea Anderson
The Boxer Blogger

Have you hugged your Boxer(s) today?

Boxer to ER over Holiday Weekend

So Astrid had a slightly swollen lymph node on her neck for a couple days, we were watching it for a couple days and planning to take her to the vet the following week after the July 4 holiday since the vet was closed.

Enter Murphy's Law, on Saturday her entire neck and half of her face were completely swollen (my apology for no pictures - imagine if Quasi Moto looked like a Boxer Dog). We called our vet and spoke with the on call doctor who thought it may be a foxtail that worked its way in - and suggest a trip to ER to get some antibiotics.

Five hours of sitting and waiting, sitting and waiting, sitting and waiting -  we were perhaps persuaded in our weakened state of mind (tired, starving, worried) to run a full panel of tests plus xrays - sending us home with pills for the pup.... Only to find out a week later they did the tests incorrectly and the xrays showed nothing.

However, no refunds from the ER. It was quite frustrating...

The swelling went down after a matter of days, and all was back to normal. I did take her to our vet and they let her continue on her medicine to fight off infection as they too ran some tests and found some cells indicating infection. Our vet agreed with the on call vet, that it likely was a foxtail. The doctor felt bad about the huge ER bill...

On the bright side, it all cleared up and Astrid was back to normal.

I honestly don't know if the trip to the ER was warranted... I really think we were taken advantage of in this particular situation. Even at the last minute they show these amazing things called 'pill pockets' and how Astrid snarfed down a HUGE pill without batting an eyelash. They asked if wanted some, of course we did! Later to find out that they added $15 to the bill (later I found a package twice as big for half the price).... (((sigh))

But, Astrid was happily herself once again!

Alethea Anderson
The Boxer Blogger

Have you hugged your Boxer(s) today?

Boxer turning into a Dalmatian?

Hello Fellow Boxer Lovers!

I'm doing a little catch up - so there will be a few posts in a row (that really span over a period of several months). I wanted to share some info that may be useful to other Boxer lovers...

A couple years ago Astrid had surgery to have some lumps and bumps removed here and there, every once and awhile the scar on top of her head would look a little irritated - but always cleared up in a day or two.

Well this time we noticed a couple sore spots here and there, then BOOM, overnight she was covered with scabby little sores the size of a dime all over head to toe...

Off to the vet we went...

After a few swab tests, cultures, and hefty vet bills - it turned out she had a bacterial infection. We were told it was a common bacteria that is always present on dogs, All it takes is one little infected hair follicle to cause a full blown skin disaster! :(

The vet said the sores start small under the fur and often go unnoticed until they all break through - which is why it seemed overnight that she was covered head to toe.

We had to give Astrid special baths with a prescription shampoo, and let the shampoo sit for over 10 minutes on the skin. (Try standing in a single stall shower with a wiggly Boxer dog, multiple times over the course of a week....)

Plus she got a prescription of antibiotics...

Follow up vet visit, they were questioning the diagnostic and possibly going to refer her to a skin specialist. Literally a doggy dermatologist! Thankfully this did not need to take place - whew... a new antibiotic and a couple weeks later, the infection cleared up.

However Astrid is left with black scars ranging between dime and quarter size all over. We think it was all a ploy to become a dalmatian...

Alethea Anderson
The Boxer Blogger

Have you hugged your Boxer(s) today?