Today, we have a guest poster--my wonderful husband John:
Binx was Sarah Frances’s and my first dog we got as a couple. Binx was named after a character in a favorite book of SF’s, The Movie Goer by Walker Percy. When we got Binx, we had been married for 6 months and were confident that we could handle a puppy. No problem, right?
SF and her good friend Allison went to Canton, Mississippi, to pick out and reserve Binx until we could return after the dogs attained the appropriate age. SF and Allison picked out the wallflower in the group because she didn’t want to choose a puppy who would terrorize Beau, my seven-year-old lab, the patriarch in the family. SF said that there was one dog in the group who was full of personality and a naughty mess, but that she had steered clear of that one. Unfortunately, the mama dog licked the pen mark clean, but the owners said, “don’t worry, we know which one you picked . . . “ Perhaps a red flag should have gone up.
Binx acted absolutely horrible as a puppy. SF and I thought we owned the most aggressive Golden Retriever in the world—she was so mean, we were both a little scared of her. We counseled with our Vet (new parent therapy, actually . . . there were tears) who told us to let Binx know who was the boss - make her sit before being fed and things like that. I don’t know if she ever really got out of being the alpha animal in our household, but she definitely developed a sweet personality.
I had big plans for Binx to be a hunting dog. Unfortunately, that never quite panned out. She just wasn't into it.
SF's and my first introduction to the sorrows of parenthood came early on when Binx broke her leg while playing with her cousin, Sam, a black lab puppy. I remember cryingwhen we brought her home with her pink cast. She drug the injured leg around like a champ and before long she was as good as new.
My nephew Boyd was Binx’s first introduction to children. Boyd grew up with dogs in the country and he knew how to approach dogs even though he was only 3 or 4 years old. Binx literally tried to crawl underneath the kitchen cabinets as she shook with absolute terror whenever Boyd approached. That all changed, however. Binx was there when all three girls came home from the hospital. She let the girls play on her and decorate her with flowers. She was Julia’s favorite beanbag chair. At one time I think she even had painted finger nails!
She was a good dog. Monday was her last day and it was a glorious afternoon. SF let her out and she lay comfortably in the grass. SF, the girls and I gathered around and said our good byes before I took her to see our vet for the last time. He came out to the car where I waited patting Binx and then he administrated the lethal dose of anesthesia. It was very fast and peaceful.
We had planned to have Binx cremated. I took her to our local funeral home. They greeted me at my car, and I offered to take Binx inside so they would not get dog hairs all over their funeral outfits. I got to go in the “dressing”(?) room and saw the instruments of making corpses visually appealing. There were hair brushes, make up brushes, nail clippers and more. As I laid Binx down on the table I told the man I had better ask what the costs would be. He told me with the size of Binx, 50 lbs, that the costs would be approximately $400. I got Binx out of there armed with plan B and headed home as fast as I could. Judging from his reactions, I pretty sure the gentleman was not used to customers a) bringing the corpse in or b) taking them back out again.
The physical exertion of digging a hole is good therapy for the soul. She is buried in a corner of the guesthouse yard in the shade and where Jake, our gigantic lab puppy who recently appeared on our doorstep, cannot get. Anne made a cross and the girls made bouquets of greenery to lay upon her grave. She has the best seat in the house!