A Tribute To: Roxy

Donate in Memory of Roxy
Roxy (TV Candycane Gal)
Loved by Tuke and Steven Walsh

Roxy is gone.  We thought, if any dog can beat this, it would be Roxy.  She contracted Osteosarcoma manifesting itself in a mass on her ribs just under a month ago.  At the time she was as spry as ever for any greyhound no less one approaching her 11th birthday.
At 4:18 PM yesterday, June 16th 2010, in the company of her auntie Autumn, all her doctors, nurses, and veterinary students that worked so hard to give Roxy a few more years, we gave the go ahead to send Roxy to the Rainbow Bridge to join our first greyhound Beau, and Autumn's recently departed Gracie who was a frequent guest at our home.

Roxy, or "TV CANDYCANE GAL,"  her racing name, was born on June 3rd, 1999, sister to two other greyhounds TV BETHS BEAUTY and TV ANDREW A.

Thus began her training for the next 20 months until, on February 1st 2001 she competed in the first of what would become a 250 race career (three times the normal number of races in a typical greyhound's racing career).  Starting at Grade D, the lowest, she quickly rose in the rankings to Grade AA in October of that year and remained there for the following 140 races.  She was retired on August 25th 2004 upon her 250th race at the age of 5, and then was returned to her kennel for breeding for the next three and a half years.  In all she had nine offspring and remained there as a favorite pet and matriarch of the kennel until she was released to Colorado Greyhound Adoption.

Beth Morgan did Candycane Gal's transport from the racing kennel to the vet, the dogs' first stop on their way to their foster homes to begin their retirement.  When she picked her up, the kennel owners told her she was a kennel favorite and she knew we had a special dog coming into our foster program.  She was a feisty girl from the minute she put on her new collar and leash, as she dragged her out to her car she thought there was a labrador retriever on the other end of the leash.   Roxy was then fostered by Janet Elverson, a nursing student at the time along with her husband and toddler son.

Roxy's indomitable spirit was apparent after we brought her home on February 23rd 2008, when she edged out Felix for our attentions, often backing under him to lift his hind legs off the ground to move him aside.  Talk of going out for a walk always had her pushing and shoving Felix out of the way even if it was just to take position two right behind me. As I would reach for her leash she would punch me in the back like a kangaroo.  I always loved that.  She just had to win -- that was what thousands of years of breeding had programmed her to do.  She loved to race around our "track" in the back yard, and my once lush lawn was reduced to a minefield of dirt patches where whole divots were wrested from the earth by her footfall.  Most nights, at about 3:00 AM, I would be awakened by the tippy-tappy of her always too-long toenails as she patiently paced on the hardwood floors.  After going out to pee we would snuggle for twenty minutes or so until she fell asleep again -- and again, I never minded the interruption and seized the opportunity to share those special moments with her.  Tuke also had her daily routines that made her life so much richer too such as morning kisses at her bedside.

Over the next two and a half years, Felix was her constant foot-soldier, deferring to her every wish.  They were allotted one piece of furniture as their own in our home, the "Mothership" as Autumn coined it.  We often found them curled up together and happily joined them on many snowy mornings for coffee and a tangle of belly rubs and ear scritches.  We started every morning that way, greeting the sun's first rays on the mothership, the four of us thinking about the day ahead and its adventures.  We discussed our successes and setbacks with the sage counsel of Felix and Roxy who always kept us from taking life too seriously.  Roxy would often curl up in one of our laps and clock her way around until her head was wedged in our necks. She always got her way.  And she deserved it.

It was with that determination when just a month ago, a lump appeared overnight, and the diagnosis looked bleak, that we resolved to give Roxy the opportunity to beat the disease.  We would not do that normally, given the terrible odds of a disease that ultimately takes 50% of all dogs that live into their senior years.  And though she survived the surgery and produced a very positive histology report (clean margins), she developed post operative complications which resulted in the shut down of her organs.

Though Roxy spent the majority of her life as a working dog, she was given the chance to spend her last 800 or so days awakened by the day's first rays, walks around our beautiful neighborhood, hikes in our expansive open space with swims in creeks of mountain snowmelt and the Boulder Reservoir.  She had field trips to McGuckins, served as an ambassadog at CGA Meet and Greets and at the Boulder Creek Fest.  She went camping at the Colorado National Monument, played in the surf at the Padre Island National Seashore, and vacationed in a lakeside home on Grand Lake with our friends the Bergquists.  She went cross country skiing to a hut in Breckenridge and often lounged in the mountain hideaway of our other friends the Jacobs and even got a chance to hang out in their sailboat on Dillon Reservoir.  She was loved and constantly fussed over by the neighborhood children.  And she had a running battle with a nest of wasps along her daily walk.  She got the chance to experience life at its best, and taught us to appreciate the simplest of times, experience the love of one of God's most magnificent creatures.

Our thanks to all of you who have been aunties and uncles to our dear Roxy, we could not endure this heartbreak without your support.

Run free sweet Roxy -- we will see you again.

With tears,

Felix, Tuke and Steven Walsh


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