In the photo above, you see me smiling and holding my new little dachshund, Dixie Mae. Next to me is my good friend Gina Chapman of Chapman's Dachshund Rescue, in York, South Carolina. She rescues every unwanted dachshund, and many other dogs, who are unwanted, and she loves what she does. Gina has a heart full of love.
Dixie Mae was under weight at 9 pounds, heart worm positive, had seizures, and she was a puppy mill survivor. She was three years old, and she had been over bred. From the condition of her teats, our vet guesses she had been forced to have a litter every six months from the moment she was six months old. She'd been kept in a cage which was too small, and thank God for Gina, who saved her from all that.
We live in the Appalachian Mountains, and going to Gina's is quite a trek for a 67 year old senior like me, but God just kept pulling me there. I already had a wonderful 15 year old dachshund, so what did I need new problems for? But God led me on. From the moment that Dixie jumped into my lap and covered my face with kisses, there wasn't another dog in the whole world for me. With all the love in my heart, and the blessings of my sweet husband, Louie, I took Dixie Mae home.
When Dixie Mae first arrived at our home, she was immediately adopted by my sweet fifteen year old dachshund, Happydog. He just took her under his "paw." It was a sight to behold. But Dixie Mae knew that something was wrong, something that none of the rest of us understood. Happydog was dying, and he did. Happydog left this earth nine days later. He seemed like himself, and then overnight, he failed. With the gentle assistance of his favorite vet, Happydog left our arms, and he was carried to heaven by angels. I sang his favorite lullaby, as he gently fell asleep, although I don't know how I did it.
The grief I experienced cannot be described, except to say, not even the death of my mother could equal my grief over my little doxie boy. I can talk about it now. It's been three months, and Dixie Mae is helping me to heal. Her love, and my love for her, is not replacing my love for Happydog. No. Nothing can replace a lost love. My love for her, and her love for me, is simply new. Dixie Mae is my new love.
After Happydog died, we discovered that Dixie Mae had problems. She had a terrible fear of storms, to the point of horrible terror, and we did not know why. And, living in the country, where people hunt, she would run terrified, if she heard a gunshot. Why? Our vet told us the story.
While doing a full body scan, after Dixie Mae had a seizure, because of what appeared to be neurological problems, our vet made a terrible discovery! Above her heart, lodged in her spine, Dixie Mae had a bullet, with fragments. A very large bullet! Some time in her past Dixie Mae had been shot! Oh my God! This sweet, gentle soul, had been done away with...but wait! The attempt had failed. With further investigation, I made a grisly discovery.
Dixie Mae originally had belonged to a North Carolina Amish Puppy Mill. The procedure there was to take "useless" dogs ~ in her case, one can only guess that the seizures would make her seem useless ~ to the "market" and sell them off. If they don't sell, for whatever reason, then they take them out back and shoot them! Somehow, Dixie Mae crawled away and survived. The rest of the story is sketchy, except that she was treated without anyone doing an x-ray and finding the bullet. She then wound up back in some kind of puppy trade as a breeder, had another seizure, and was surrendered ~ THANK GOD! ~ to Chapman's Dachshund Rescue, and into Gina Chapman's care, where Dixie chose me! Yes. Dixie Mae chose me! She loved me first!
It wasn't long before Dixie Mae settled in and realized, she was and is home. She began to discover toys, especially squeaky toys. She slept. Oh how she slept. I've seen recordings inside puppy mills. The noise is deafening, and in our home, well, there is peace, and doggies can sleep as long as they want. In fact, it's pretty darn peaceful for anyone.
Then one day, Dixie Mae discovered something wonderful! She discovered play! She ran and jumped and barked on the deck with the other dogs. Her ruff was up, but she was dancing and she was having fun!
And begging for food together has become a favorite past time. Dixie Mae, Pixel and Peanut have become a family!
Dixie Mae has become a beautiful, healthy mini-dachshund. Sure, she's been wounded, but then, haven't we all been wounded in some way? Haven't we all had darts aimed at our hearts? Haven't we all had reasons to stop loving, to turn away from humanity? Yes we have. And Dixie Mae had been wounded terribly, yet, look at that face. That is a face which is filled with love. Look into those eyes and you are looking into the eyes of love.
So, my friends, when your life seems over and you've given up on love, remember that we have been there too. I was an abused child. I am also a rape survivor, and I was once in an abusive marriage, but I am now free. I never gave up on love, and neither did this little dog. Little Dixie Mae, the victim of an assassin's bullet that missed her heart. Jaye Lewis, abused in my past, and yet, I still love God, and I love human-kind. I love animals. I love my husband and my children. I love my friends. And wherever you are, in the midst of your sorrow, I love you.
Love is not only possible, it is a necessity. More than food, love makes your heart beat.