I set up my new lap top on the dining room table so I could look out the picture window when I write. The sun is shining just right, and I can still see her nosey smudge marks on the glass.
You’ve probably noticed a pattern; I experience a life crisis – get a boxer. By 2014, both Buster and Tyson were gone, my Father had passed away and my Mother was seriously ill. Shaylea and I became best buds and I don’t think she missed those other boxers at all. That summer, my niece Tawny moved in with me, my long-term boyfriend moved to France, and Shaylea passed away suddenly from a bleeding tumor. Too much life change at once. I was a basket case. Tawny hinted at getting a cat, but told me what I really needed was another boxer.
I went to meet “Tia” at a Lone Star Boxer Rescue “Meet and Greet.” Being a boxer, she had intuitive skills. I had a broken foot, was sad, tired and generally felt like crap. I’m surprised they approved me for adoption. Tia immediately came over, put her right paw on my left shoulder and gave me a big slurpy kiss. She rescued me.
Tia had severe allergies, such that her current family could no longer afford treatments. Otherwise, she was a highly socialized, well-behaved 6-year-old boxer who could beat you in a staring contest, slept with her tongue hanging out, and posed for photos:
Tia was a hit with my family and neighbors. Tawny, who also calls me Tia (Aunt in Spanish), laughed whenever she called Tia and we both responded. This resulted in additional nick names for the boxer – Tortilla and Tia Maria – when a distinction was required. Tia responded to all of them, even the odd “Tia Burger” bestowed by my brother. Tia loved her walks and visiting my Mom’s assisted living facility. She was a big hit.
By the following year, Tawny had moved to New York, Mom ended up in hospice care and Tia continued to be my loyal companion and guardian. Friend at the door = one bark. Amazon driver = two barks. Drunken 21 year olds celebrating after having Uber drop them off at the wrong house = non stop barking. She was also “slobber-free’, except for the times she pressed her nose against the dining room window to watch squirrels getting into the “squirrel proof” bird feeder.
Tia has been gone for 6 weeks. She died from hemangiosarcoma. You can Google that. I’ll just say that its vicious cancer. She lived twice as long has her diagnosis predicted, but not long enough. I only had her 3-1/2 years, but long enough to know she was the best boxer ever. Not to be topped. Not to be replaced. However, I’m a better person as a pet owner. As I clean off the windows, I notice my new cat also likes to watch the squirrels.
Note: The painted portrait of Tia in the collage above was done by Leiann Klein of Weston, FL.