Alex Cornelius Preslar
May 5, 1996 - May 25, 2010
May 5, 1996 - May 25, 2010
I will never forget the first time I laid eyes on my Mr. Alex. He was a 10-week old puppy; a pure white ball of fluff and energy, licking and wiggly. Perfectly round save for two giant bat-ears sticking straight up in the air. This very cute boy by the name of Troy Preslar had brought him to a church gathering and I, like every other girl in the place, went completely GA GA over the both of them. For the record, my thought as I was rubbing the sweet little doggy's ears and chatting with the cute boy was, "Oh man, this is the kind of guy I always like and who NEVER likes me back." Shortly thereafter I was elbowed out of the way by the throng of girls in line to meet both Alex and Troy and I had to move on. But eighteen months later I came out the winner when it turned out that that kind of guy did like me and I married Troy, thus inheriting part ownership of a very frisky blue-eyed dog.
Alex played a great part in our courtship - on our very first date, after a dinner up Guardsman's Pass, Troy and I held hands for the first time and took Alex for a walk together. It was to be the first of hundreds. Troy and I rarely did much else than spend time together, walk the dog and rough-house with him in his parents' back yard. At the time I had rather long hair and one evening I had it pulled back into a braid. I was teasing Alex with his giant rope; I suddenly turned and ran away from him, and just as suddenly found myself flat on the ground looking up at the starry sky. Alex was standing near by with a confused look on his face, wondering how his rope had gotten stuck to the back of my head.
Alex has been with Troy (and eventually me too) for 14 wonderful years - Troy tells me stories of Alex's early and extremely energetic days; countless are the hoses that had to be replaced that first year, much to my father-in-law's chagrin. And many were the midnights in which Alex stood by the back door, yowling his special Chewbacca-yowl known only to Husky owners, until Troy had to get on his bike and run him for a few miles.
Alex was our darling boy, and last night after we laid him to rest Troy and I spent an hour or so looking through the scrapbook of the first years of our marriage. Alex was on almost every page. Romping through the snow, checking back in with us on a hike, snatching the cookies Santa left behind on Christmas morning, lying on the bed with me with his hip shoved into mine and his head resting on my ankles. Ah, that was warm. And hairy. And wonderful.
When we started bringing babies home life got a little harder for Alex, and at the moment my heart is aching for the decrease in his walks and hikes and snuggles. But he was always a beloved part of our family. I brought my babies home to him - he met three of them on the front porch, giving them each an obligatory sniff before promptly beginning to ignore them. He even participated in Bitty's delivery - the one baby I labored the most with at home. He wouldn't leave my side and circled around and around me as I worked.
It was a couple of weeks ago that we felt like Alex was, well, getting really stinky. He's been aging well and steadily for a long time now. But the stinky thing got really bad really fast and Troy and I finally realized he had something going on in his mouth. We thought it was an abscessed tooth, so Troy took him in for a look-see on Saturday. The vets couldn't see much without putting him under a general anesthetic, so we scheduled that for yesterday, which also happened to be my birthday. Ah, well. That was the soonest they could do it and we wanted to help him out quickly. We felt like fixing a tooth was not an over-the-top thing to do for a 14 year old dog, but we were told that they might find other problems which would be much tougher to fix.
Indeed, yesterday afternoon just as my in-laws were dropping by for a birthday visit, Troy got a terrible call from the vet's office informing him that Alex had a large tumor under his tongue and wrapped around his jaw. We knew that there would be no helping him and that to keep him alive any longer would be cruel. He was already losing weight because he couldn't eat, and seemed to be going deaf very quickly. I was very grateful to my inlaws - they were so sweet and thoughtful and cried with us. Troy began to dig a grave and then we passed out our kids and headed up to the vet's.
We spent about 30 minutes with our pup, talking to him and loving him and telling him goodbye and thank you. Then we held him in our arms while he was given a sedative and then put to sleep forever. We wrapped him in a quilt we've had for years and took him home. The kids were great. They really participated in grieving for him and the pictures we took will be treasures forever. We said our last goodbyes, put him in the grave and then held hands and sang our favorite lullaby to him; Shadows Creep. The kids helped Troy cover him in dirt, and then we planted flowers over him and Chase very sweetly put his pinwheel there too. The flowers, a gift from Morris and Carol, are white, and as I look through the back window I can see them peeping through the bushes almost like he's back there still, curled up in the foliage, just where he likes to be.
Our hearts are sore and sad and frankly every one seems to be coming down with the flu. We're going to miss him terribly. Even in one day it's easy to see just how much a part of every moment he was - there was no one to feed Bitty's sandwich crusts to this afternoon and no one waiting at the gate when I pulled in the driveway. His absence is everywhere. As it says in the book I gave to Troy today, "While there are many different roads that we take in life, it is those who have walked with us that make the journey worthwhile." Amen.
Alex, thank you for living your life with us. You were born on the same date as our baby Matthew, and I was born on the same date you died. You were intertwined with us, that is for sure. Your era has ended, but you will be a part of us forever. And Alex, just so you know, I believe in doggy heaven.