Posted by: arcticpackseppalas | March 8, 2020

Little Vixen – 25/04/07 – 18/01/20

My Little Angel.

all smiles and happy after a run

I still cannot believe she has gone, or even begin to come to terms with her not being here, curled up on the couch with her friends.   Vixen was an incredibly special dog.  For many reasons, and her passing, especially so soon after our beautiful, Dancer, has left me quite numb.  I try not to think about the two of them as I feel like i may just totally lose myself.  Dogs find a way into your soul that no other being can and their loss is an immense sea of grief, that often overwhelms.   It’s a loss only those who have lived with, loved and worked with dogs can understand.

Vixen was a tiny little dog.  A dog of polar opposites and a complicated little soul at times.  A beautiful girl, but incredibly difficult to photograph.   As a result, I have very few pictures of her at home.   The minute she saw a camera, even a phone camera,  she would immediately shrink into herself, ears all low and wide and generally behave like she was suspicious and feral.  The trick was to catch her off guard, so she didn’t realise you were looking at her through a lens.  She never liked being what she considered ‘under scrutiny’ and that is the main reason she never saw a show ring in her life.  She hated strangers even looking at her, let along touching her without her permission and would have equally hated the show ring.  The flip side of this seemingly anti-social part of her personality, was that if she liked you, she would come over for a fuss, on her terms of course, and just totally melt into you.  She was incredibly affectionate and you could lift her, cradle her like a baby and she would just put so much trust in you.   If she liked you.   Most people she met, she wasn’t too bothered about getting to know, but was tolerant of them being around her. Some people she loved and a handful of people she met, she just did not like.  At all.  If they came to visit, she would be on edge, uneasy and often bark at them from across the room if they moved or spoke in a certain tone.   These people always turned out to be, well, not the best people they could have been.  She was a very smart dog.


Vixen came to us in 2010, just short of her 3rd birthday.   She came with her wonderful Mum, and up until that point they had never been separated.  As a result they were incredibly bonded.  When she arrived she was screaming, manic and in need of an outlet for her pent up frustrations.  It took a lot of time to get Vixen more confident on her own, without her Mum beside all the time, but once in a good routine with plenty or regular exercise, she calmed down and became a different dog.   Our dogs were fantastic and welcomed both girls.  Sadly, her Mum had to leave us and go back to where she came from.   Vixen never really got over that.  Neither did we.
Early life experiences meant she was a dog who relied on other dogs.  She needed to be around other dogs, close, but usually not touching.  We often joked and called her ‘Little Miss Mardy’ as if other dogs lay down next to her and touched her, she would grump at them, often getting up to go lie somewhere else.  In contrast, other times she would curl up next to someone and use them as a pillow.    And with young puppies she was a dream.  She loved them.  They could crawl all over her, chew her tail and ears.   She genuinely seemed happy and relaxed around puppies.  It’s a real shame she never had any of her own.


She was playful with the others, but only in smaller groups.  If everyone was tearing about the pen, she would usually hang back a bit.  One to one she would chase, leap about and generally behave like a puppy.   She loved a ball and would roll it about so she could pounce on it.  When outdoors she would get really annoyed at wood pigeons and pheasants sitting in trees above her.  She would bark and shout at them, stamping her feet so frustrated she couldn’t reach them.   She had the same, annoyed, angry bark for the shooters when they were in the fields shooting birds. She could be a proper disciplinarian when she needed to be and not many youngsters tried it on with Auntie Vixen without getting put firmly, but fairly in their place.   Even wee Crazy Face Grace who answers to no one, had some semblance of respect for Vixen.

As easy to live with at home as she was, harness work was where she really came alive.   She loved and needed to work.  It was almost like a drug to her and it was when you got to see this tiny dog’s immense and indomitable spirit. And hear her voice.  She would scream and shout until the snub was released, with a disproportionately loud amount of noise considering how little there was of her.    Vixen was never happier than when she was running and would be airborne, screaming with excitement until the team was allowed to go.  She continued to shout and jump about after a run too.  A few minutes and a quick drink was all she needed before she was antsy to go again, often riling everyone else up.   Despite her tiny size, in her younger years she would easily shove and haul dogs twice her size around turns on the trail if they were getting it wrong.   Her harness gave her a confidence you would never of thought she had if you only ever met her at home.   And it’s where she forgot about a camera.  I have hundreds of pictures of her in harness, happy and not caring at all about being looked at through a lens.  She was a lead dog.  That is where she liked to be.  Up front.  Taking us where we needed to go, seeing what was around the next bend.  If you put her anywhere else in a team for more than a couple of runs, she would be a total menace about it.  Biting lines, deliberately getting herself under the lines, stepping over lines and generally reminding you that she didn’t run here.  She ran up front.   She spent many years leading our bigger teams in training with her brother and was equally happy running single lead.  Wee Joe loved to lead with her, and the two of them would caper about at hook up together.    When her friend Betty lost her sight to glaucoma, Vixen stepped up and helped her continue to lead teams in harness.  She would move Betty about the trail if she was veering off course and would also move her out the way of bushes etc at the side of the trail.  She was quite an amazing little dog and a very good friend to Betts when she needed her.

Vixen slept indoors overnight for many years.   For no reason other than she was Vixen.  She moved indoors full time in the last few years and was generally trustworthy.  Unless a phone was ringing.  For some reason, she hated phones ringing.   If you left your mobile indoors with her while you were out and it rang, there was a high percentage chance she would eat it.   She couldn’t reach the landline to eat it, so other things got trashed instead.   And sponges for the dishes.  She ate them too if she could reach them.  My perfect little weirdo.

Throughout her life Vixen suffered from an autoimmune condition that affected her lungs.   It was quite debilitating for her until we got it under control with medication and in all honesty, she lived a longer life that I thought she ever would.   It was still not and could never have been, long enough.    At her core she was a loving, kind soul with a good and generous heart.  I miss her.


She had to retire late last year and her last runs in November.   I think that was the beginning of the end for her.  There was a sadness about her, coupled with her watching her best friend Dancer decline steadily I think her being unable to run allowed her tiny body to be overcome by her illness.   When Dancer left us, Vixen went downhill very quickly and despite medications, it seemed her spirit was broken and her heart just wasn’t in getting better.  All her fight had left her and two short weeks after saying goodbye to Dancer, we let her be with her friend she missed so much.

Thank you for coming into our lives, Vixen.  I’m sorry we couldn’t do more for you, but I hope you know how much you were loved x
Sleep tight My Little Angel.   We will love and miss you forever xx



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