I've been keeping tabs on Liz's new pup George and and seeing Welshcakes' dog Simi in her photos. Lately, it's made me nostalgic for my beloved boxer Star. She was born in September, 1985, and I brought her home in November. I named her "Star" when I noticed a white spot amidst the black on the top of her head and my Dad added the "Sapphire" the first time he saw her. She was the best puppy right from the day I brought her home. Not once in her whole lifetime did she ever growl at, bark at, or nip anyone. Naturally, she'd bark if someone came to the house, but as soon as we told her it was okay, she'd be quiet and, wagging her stubby little tail, wait to see if it was someone she could play with. A lot of people at that time were not familiar with boxers and would often think she was a pitt bull, a very vicious dog. But we used that to our advantage and she was a great guard dog (pussy cat in reality, though).
When I brought her home that year, Jaclyn was in kindergarten and I would walk her to school every morning. I found an old baby carrier thing made out of brown corduroy and I'd strap Star into it and carried her like a baby - it was too far for her to walk that far since she was only 8 weeks old. The first time I arrived at the school, all the Moms came running to me saying things like, "Oh I didn't know you'd been expecting!" or "You have a new baby!" It was quite amusing when they took their first peek and saw a furry brown and white face! I took Star to school that spring when the children were studying a unit on babies and it was quite a success. I did have to keep running outside to make sure Star would do her widdle there, because she was so excited being around all those little kids. When Jamie was around 6 or 7 years old, her school had a special event for Sports Day. There would be the traditional bike parade but you could enter the parade as long as you were on wheels. So Jamie dressed up in shorts and a t-shirt, held a skipping rope, and put on her roller skates. She had a towel around Star's neck and had the dog pull her as she held onto the leash. She won a prize that year! (Get it? The boxer and its trainer?)
My Dad took a particular liking to Star as we'd had a boxer when we were growing up. He'd come over to visit and all he wanted to do was play with the dog. Star loved him, too, and would never hesitate to use him as a bed. Close friends of ours had adopted Star's litter sister (Kaycee) and we'd take turns visiting back and forth even more often so the pups could play together. It was wonderful that they were able to get so much exercise that way, even though I walked Star faithfully every day and my husband would rough house with her in the evenings.
Grampa with Star as a puppy
Daddy rough-housing with Star
Star was so gentle that she didn't mind when the girls would dress her up in their pyjamas, complete with sunglasses and hat. She'd just sit there with a disdained look on her face as though she were thinking, "Oh my goodness, not again!" Even though Star loved her dinner and would gobble it down lickety-split, you could take the bowl away before she finished and she would not growl.Jamie with Star on top of Kaycee
Jaclyn hugging Star
When we went away one summer and had to resort to putting her in a kennel (that was when we moved to Ottawa temporarily and our friends were still in Vancouver), we came back two weeks later to a very skinny Star. She had pined so much for us that she had refused to eat. We quickly fattened her up again, although she never got fat. After that, we never left her for more than a week at a time if we went away. That wasn't often because usually we spent our summers at Shuswap Lake at the family cabin and she just came with us.
We tried to get Star to swim in the lake. She was not too interested in the water, though, so hubby would lift her up and take her out a little ways, gently put her in the water and help her dog paddle to shore. It was so funny to see her run out of the water and shake herself. Next time hubby would try to get her, she'd run away and it seemed to us that she was laughing and saying, "No way!" However, she did love the lake area and would go exploring on her own.
After hubby died and I moved to the wilderness to teach, Star got a lot more freedom. No fenced in yards there! At first I was a bit concerned about her wandering in case she ran into a bear, but she quickly adapted and didn't go too far. I was horrified for a while because Star insisted on using the front "lawn" (and I use that term loosely) as her toilet. She refused to go into the back area and I soon found out why. Apparently, my property was the route bears would frequently use. Eventually, though, it got to the point that I'd open the door and call for Star to come home for dinner - just as though I were shouting for the kids. And there she'd come, bounding through the thicket at the back of the property, stinking for all the world like God knows what! I actually think she had a boyfriend that year!
Star had a great life with us and we loved every moment we spent with her. She started having some age problems in 1995 but we looked after her well. Poor thing would be lying asleep on the carpet while we'd be watching TV, and suddenly she'd get up realizing that she'd peed in her sleep. We never got cross with her when that happened but we did visit the Vet more often.
Then one evening in the summer of 1997, she must have had a stroke or a heart attack because she went into a seizure. I rushed her to my Vet, someone I'd known since the mid-70s. He told me that as my friend he could say, "Take her home and keep an eye on her," but as my Vet he recommended that she be put down. Her heart was failing and she'd just get worse. I took Star with me into another room and sat on the floor with her trying to make up my mind what to do. She kept kissing me and snuggling up to me but suddenly, her legs went out from under her. I remember starting to cry and hugging Star to me and telling her how much I loved her. I went outside, nodded to my friend the Vet, and left. I cried myself to sleep that night.
I'll never forget Star. I have nothing but wonderful memories of her. She was loving, gentle, protective, and obedient. After hubby died, she was one of the main reasons I got up in the mornings. When I didn't want my girls to know I was down or needed a cry, Star was there for me, snuggling up and gently giving me kisses. She was also my fitness trainer, my confidante, my child and my friend. I can't believe it's been almost 11 years since she died but I now think of her "up there" with hubby running and playing and keeping him company. Some day I'll see her again.
Rest in peace, Star
1985 - 1997