We adopted ‘Xena’ in late 2008 from a person who was moving into a flat, the landlord of which would not allow dogs. She was about 18 months old at the time, and the name she originally had was ‘Ruby’. As my parents already had a dog called ‘Ruby’, and given that we had had a number of German Shepherd Dogs called ‘Xena’ in the past, we changed her name. In fact, we were told that it is notoriously difficult to re-house young German Shepherd Dogs, particularly those brought-up from a puppy by somebody else. Despite this, Xena soon took to her new family and situation, and assumed her roll as ‘guard’ and ‘protector’. It was a sad day for her original owner when I came to collect Xena in another part of Sutton all those years ago. It is a terrible thing to lose your dog regardless of the circumstance or the time.
Xena was old for a German Shepherd Dog (14 years) but remained actve up until 6 hours before her passing. Her back-legs were not as strong as they used to be, but she got around. She had her last short-walk yesterday morning, although I have not walked her to the park in about 3 months due to this weakness. I was hoping her legs would stabilise if we shortened the distance of the daily exercise, but it wasn’t to be. However, she enjoyed life to the full, did not suffer to any great extent, and passed away peacefully in Gee’s arms at around 0100 hrs this morning. Xena died as she lived – protecting Gee and the children! I think this gave her peace of mind at the end. When I helped Gee carry her the car, she looked peaceful. We rang the PDSA, but due to the COVID19 lockdown in action at the moment, they couldn’t travel from Croydon to Sutton to pick her up for cremation. We were advised to ring a local Vet and Xena has now been taken there. Three nurses came and picked-up Xena from the back of our car with a stretcher.
Xena came camping with us in the Scottish Highlands, and travelled all over the UK as we used to stay in different cottages and holiday houses here and their. I believe she visited Hadrian’s Wall, as well as a farm in Cumbria! We even took her to Oxford once – the City of my birth – and she attracted alot of attention from students and tourists. When she went to Torquay, in Devon, she had to mix-in with the pack of dogs that lived there – and this toughened her up and mellowed her out. She loved walking in Preston Woods and Cockington Meadow. Xena was gentle with cats and other animals, and never once hurt a child. Her instinct was always to ‘protect’ although Gee was her favourite. When I went to the park to train in martial arts in the morning, Xena would portect the area of the grassy field I was training on! Nobody could sneak up on me without her growling and moving forward to check their advance. Everytime the doorbell rang she would bark loudly and aggressively regardless of who it was calling! If me and Gee were sat in the livingroom and the children were in the bedroom, Xena would sit halfway between the two rooms – guarding each place equally! Her and ‘Lexi’ the cat had a unique relationship with pretend fighting and chasing each other!
Perhaps she patrols Valhalla now, keeping our seats free at the table in the grand hall! Or, due to her selfless service as a Guard Dog – perhaps she has ben reborn a human-being! If not, she may have become star-dust and returned to the universe from which she came, who knows? After-all, science teaches us that energy cannot be destroyed but only change its form. Our lives are enriched by the company we keep, and the people and animals we come into contact with. Sometimes the meetings are brief, whilst at other times the associations are long. Whatever the case, Xena could be as naughty as she was good, as is expected of a fully rounded individual life-form! She was still stealing bits of food from here and there, even after being fed!