Friday March 26, 2010 was a sad day for me. I had to have my dog Baxter, put to sleep. He was 15 years old and had lived a good life. He became part of our family when we still lived in Atlanta. My wife and I had just bought our first house and it had a great fenced in back yard. I wanted to get a dog and I wanted a hunting breed. A wife of a friend of mine had a co-worker with a beagle pup he was giving away. We agreed on a place to meet and I picked up Baxter and our journey together began.

That was October of 1995 and through a bit of miscommunication, I thought Baxter was only 8 weeks old. If so, that would have been great timing because I was in the middle of deer season and didn’t have time to take him to the woods to train him how to hunt rabbits. God’s timing is always better than ours and instead of being 8 weeks old, Baxter was actually 8 months old. I say that God’s timing is always better because 2 weeks after I got Baxter I tore my ACL in my right knee and had to have surgery. Walking an 8 week old puppy trying to potty train him would have been extremely difficult on crutches! Because of the surgery and the loss of hunting time, Baxter quickly became a house pet.

He still enjoyed heading out to the woods with me though. Even though he had no idea what he was trailing, you could always tell when he got on the trail of another animal. The baying of a beagle in the woods is a wonderful sound and Baxter to could vocalize with the best of them! We spent many hours in the woods together.

He was such an easy going dog. With my graduation from chiropractic school, we decided to move to Nashville, TN and Baxter never missed a beat. No matter where we lived, Baxter always seemed to be happy. I think his favorite place to live was our house with the screened in back porch. He would sit out on the porch for hours. He had a dog door that would let him out to the yard whenever he wanted.

With the birth of our 2 sons, again Baxter showed how great a dog he was. We have a great picture of Jake sleeping in bed when he was only 6 weeks old and Baxter is laying right beside him sleeping as well. It is priceless! As many times as each of our boys tugged on his ears or pulled his tail, Baxter always sat there and let them do what they wanted. They loved him!

It is funny how an animal can become so much a part of our family. Baxter was a great dog and I did my share of crying on Friday. Do animals go to heaven? I don’t know, but I tend to think they do. Even if they don’t, I still have plenty of great memories to remind me of him. I will miss you Baxter! Thanks for being a great dog!

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