Posted by: arcticpacksiberians | June 11, 2020

Langfaulds Hexe of Arcticpack 13/02/07 – 24/03/20

Hexie was a wonderful dog.  As all good German Shepherds are, she was a fabulous companion, protector and friend to us both.  Despite the odds and several emergency vet trips over the years, she reached her 13th birthday and lived a full and happy life.  She was a ridiculously happy, and a little bit crazy dog.  We often called her, Happy Hexie Nut Nut or simply, Nut Nut.  Yes, she certainly became serious in an instant if required and always looked the part when yelling at ‘intruders’, but a few words from us and her demeanour changed back to silly happy and she would bound off around the garden looking for a toy to chew and throw about.   I do miss her roaming about the place. I know Cam does too.  It is the first time in 18 years we haven’t had a GSD and the fact that they are able to be free, not contained behind 6 ft fences, always by your side whatever you are doing in the garden only magnifies their absence.  She loved to play with you and all you had to do was stand still, look at her, pretend to move towards her and she would get all excited and play bow at you.  Her wrinkled lips, shiny eyes and silly bark would quickly be followed by her spinning around and tearing off round the garden, only to come back and play bow again.  She was a proper happy daftie.

Our gorgeous girl at nearly 10.

 

Hexie arrived with us at just under two years old.  She came into our lives because her breeders are good-hearted, lovely people who did a selfless and exceptionally kind thing for us.  We are so grateful to them for allowing her to come live here with us all.   At the time we still had Witchy, our older GSD who was also from the same breeder.  She would become a great friend and role model for Hexie, who was very much out her comfort zone when she arrived.  Hexie was a kennel dog at her previous home and lived with a heap of other GSD’s who were all her relatives to varying degree.   The familial living  meant she did socialise and fit in reasonably quickly with the huskies once here.  It was apparent she had no, or little experience of being indoors and for the first few days would think food on our plates was for sharing. Surprisingly, she was pretty much immediately house trained.  She stuck to me like glue for the first few weeks.  Curled up beside me on the couch or following me everywhere if I moved.  She did continue to follow us any time we moved for many years, but did eventually relax a bit about it as she got older.  She was the kind of dog that exploded with love,  excitement and relief when she saw you, even if you had only been out the room for 5 minutes.  I do miss her gently (sometimes not so gently!) mouthing my hands in that reassurance seeking, ‘i love you’ way  some dogs do.

all settled in with her new crew,

 

 

 

Learning to be left with the other dogs and us being absent from the scenario was a challenge for her and us.  She was a bit mental for a while and did eat her way out dog boxes and destroy a van door at one point.  But with consistency, time and patience she realised we were indeed coming back each time we left and there was no need for the dramatics.  She eventually, became a great house dog who could be left while we were at work without remodelling while we were gone.

When she arrived, Hexie immediately befriended Witchy.  Witchy was her safety blanket, her teacher, her constant companion and they became inseparable during the 6 years they got to spend together.   They both loved to free run in the fields behind our house and were often very naughty disappearing after deer or the odd hare.  Neither of them had any hope of ever catching a hare or bambi, and they always came back with giant grins on their faces, happy that they got to chase something other than a ball.   They also loved the beach.  Hexie was never quite as enthusiastic about swimming as Witchy was, but she did happily play in the shallower surf.  She loved going to the forest when we were training Huskies.  For most of her life, she got to run alongside our oldies while Cam took them out on the bike for a mile or two.  It was one of her favourite things to do.  We did try her in harness, but she never really took to it as well as Witchy and was far more content to free run alongside a team or the bike.

 

on the beach with her best friend

 

Excited and shouting about going a run with the huskies

 

 

It always fascinates me how much herding instinct is still in German Shepherds.  Especially those bred from dogs who haven’t been used for that particular job for several generations.  Witchy was superb at rounding up and going after loose huskies.  It was like she seemed to know they shouldn’t be off lead.  Hexie never really did it.  That was, until Witchy got elderly and less mobile and once we lost her, Hexie showed us that she always had the skill to do it, she just let her ‘boss’ do it.  Not that we have had many escapee huskies over the years, but we have had several off lead oldies and Betts was always off lead once she went blind.   Hexie would automatically ‘go get them’ if they were ignoring our calls to come back to us in the fields.  We never taught her to do it.  She would go chase them, run round them and nudge them as if to say, ‘pay attention!’  The old people would obligingly follow her back to us.  Norris, Betty and Hexie spent a few years together, off lead in the fields. My Three Amigos.  I hope they are back together again.   She was fabulous with the puppies when they were young and getting free running in the fields too.  She stayed with them, played chase with them, taught them recall and generally made sure they were always in sight.   It is still pretty sad heading out for walks with our current oldies.  I so very much miss her daft sounding bark she only did when she was excited about going a walk.  She would leap about like a crazy person, half yipping half barking the minute you started to get the ‘going a walk’ routine started.  She would run round and leap about you, tripping you up until you told her she could go.   Like most Shepherds, she liked to bark.  And bark she did.  At pretty much anything she deemed an intruder into her domain.  This included, rabbits, cats, people, cars she didn’t recognise, cyclists on their way past and even the farmer walking through his own fields to see ‘her’  cattle.  Hexie’s domain, as far as she was concerned, was everything as far as she could see in any direction around her. She would usually quiet down once we assured her nobody was stealing anything.   She was very protective of her pack, even though she didn’t love all of them and was very intolerant of strange dogs.  Dogs who were polite, respectful and knew how to read and give off proper dog body language always fared better.  Dogs who were bolshy, rude and thought it ok to come barrelling up to us, did not fare so well.  Often sent on their way after being turfed upside down and given a rollicking by her.   Out on walks on her own, without any of our other dogs, she was far more sociable.

 

my three amigos.

rounding up some puppies

watching over her domain, in the last of the days light

 

smiley face

 

Although Hexie reached a decent age for a Shepherd, she had her fair share of health issues over the years.   She was a pretty resilient and hardy dog and we used to say she had more lives than a cat.   She injured her knee when she was nearly 9 years old.  Recovery required a lot of rest, specific physio exercises and most importantly no jumping and ‘staying calm’.   This was far from an easy task with a dog who thought not seeing you for 5 minutes was equivalent to not seeing you for 2 years and leapt about like a crazy person any chance she got.  With the help of our vets and canine physio/massage therapist, she made a full recovery and avoided any surgery at all.   She suffered from cysts that were sometimes nasty enough to need veterinary treatment and when she was younger managed to rip out a toenail.   She bloated several times, once with torsion that required surgery when she was 12.  I was really on the fence about the surgery but again thanks to our vets,  she proved me wrong and recovered pretty quickly considering her age.   She had a mass in her abdomen, suffered a vestibular attack, started to lose her sight as she aged and then her heart started to give out.  After another out of hours trip to see one of our fab vets and receiving treatment for her heart, she bounced back and for several months after had a really good quality of life, albeit a tad slower chasing the hares.  Sadly, after a couple of days of her seeming a bit quieter than normal, her heart finally gave out and we lost her very quickly one evening in March, just a month after her 13th birthday.

Dogs are all such individual souls.  They are all unique in what they teach us, what they give us, what they mean to us and subsequently, the loss is as individual and unique as they are when they leave us.   Several months later I still miss her and am so sad she is gone.  Despite knowing she lived a long life with us, I can’t make peace with her passing.  She was such a huge part of our lives.   I almost feel, not quite unsafe, but perhaps uneasy without her here.  I relied on her more than I ever realised, from a feeling of safety, to being my own personal antidepressant.   Nothing lifts the spirits more than a dog.  Their enthusiasm, optimism, their near constant state of ‘happy’ and willingness to share their lives with you is immediately comforting.    I would give anything to be able to go for a walk with her in the stubble fields again, just me and her, a camera and her ball.

Sleep tight our beautiful girl.  Say hi to everyone for us.
We will love and miss you forever. xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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