This is the love story as told to me by Lou Kaplan, “Pop” of Roxy the Yellow Labrador Retriever from Buffalo Grove, Illinois
Tell me about the first time you met Roxy, when and where was it?
We met our future yellow Lab pup in Whitewater Wisconsin, in July 1994. She was about 4-5 weeks old. We got her from a reputable breeder. The mom was a therapy dog who had given birth to five puppies, all yellow, two males and three females. We had second pick of the females because the breeder wanted one to show. At first, we were a little concerned about having to pick from just two, but as it turned out, she was the perfect choice. Before we met her, I knew her name was going to be Roxanne, or as usually known from that day forward, Roxy. Some of you may know that I wanted to name our first daughter Roxanne, but Pam wanted nothing to do with that. Pam kept envisioning our daughter being yelled at with the infamous Police song, “Roxanne!” It was the late 80’s. So we made an agreement that our first dog would take the name. And yes, Roxy had to endure many times being announced as “Roxanne!” She didn’t mind the attention. She was a beautiful pup and proudly wore that name.
Thinking back, how would you describe Roxy’s personality as a puppy? And as an adult?
She was very mischievous, precocious, and a BIG trouble maker. She would bolt out the door and I’d be chasing after her. She loved to steal mail from the coffee table. Her favorite was to take my shoes and run out into the backyard to get my attention. She knew how to push my buttons! On her first day home, she was investigating her new yard and was stung by a wasp! On her first day! Her face blew up like a little prizefighter. After calling the vet and a dose of Benadryl she was much better. As an adult, she grew into a very sweet, gentle, and loving girl. She loved long walks and being with her family. Everyone loved her.
And now how would Roxy describe your personality, Lou?
I am not sure, I think she’d say that when she was in need of a best friend, or someone to take care of her, I was her guy. I loved and took care of her even though she gave me a hard time, I never let her down, but I remember carrying her up and down fourteen stairs as a tiny puppy to go out at 3 am and once again as she aged and couldn’t make it down any longer. I took care of her until her very last day, I was her guy.
What did you learn from Roxy?
Unconditional love, she loved me no matter what, and I loved her back, because she was one of my children, although I do admit it took a while for me to get used to her. One of the reasons we got a dog, was that my five-year-old daughter scolded me and said, “Dad, when are you going to stop lying to me and get me a dog?” Therefore, I learned to keep my promises.
What are the top three things you always want to remember about Roxy?
1. How happy Roxy made the kids and Pam. Pam always wanted a dog and it made me feel good to see my family happy.
2. How beautiful Roxy was as a puppy and even into her late years. The picture on the Paws to Celebrate group page is the one I took of her in our backyard. She was sixteen years old in that photo, and she still looked young and beautiful.
3. On her last day, it was a Monday morning January 31st, and I knew she wasn’t doing well. She was lying on the family room floor, and with her eyes, she had such expressive eyes, (she also had eyebrows, very expressive too) she told me, and no one else, “It’s time Pop, we have to do something.” It was the look she gave me, the nod, time to move on, I knew what she was thinking.
When did Roxy earn her wings?
January 31, 2011
When did you join Paws?
I am an honorary member through my wife, Pam Baren Kaplan
Do you remember how you found Paws?
Pam volun-told me
What has or is helping you get to the other side of grief? What advice would you share with someone who recently started grieving?
I don’t think I’ve ever really gotten past it; I am still grieving her. I think about her every day. I try to remember I did the right thing by her. Even though we had a rocky relationship at the beginning, I always loved her.
Where are you now in your grief?
You never completely get over or stop grieving. You see a picture or another dog that looks like your dog, it’s hard. Roxy gave us a great time in our life, she made everyone in the family happy. When we finally decided to bring in a new family member, I made a promise to Roxy that if she sent me a new puppy, I would love that puppy in her honor and never let her down. The one thing I always say, once you get a dog you have to go into it with a total commitment and understanding, it might be a short time, it’s a gift. Their lifespan might be five, ten or seventeen years, you can’t look at the amount of time you get, it is always too short, Enjoy the love while you have them, you won’t be disappointed.
Using your spiritual and intuitive mind, if I could get a message to Roxy from you, what would you want to say to her? What would you want to let Roxy know?
I would thank her for being in our lives, I love her and thank her for sending us Zuzu and Frankie. I still and will always love her, it’s simple stuff I want to hear, she knows me.
And if I could get a message from you to Roxy what would you like to hear from Roxy?
Hopefully, she would tell me, “Thanks Pop for taking care of me and listening to me when I was in pain. I was always able to depend on you when I needed you and thanks for carrying me down the stairs in the middle of the night when you were in pain too.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the Paws Pack about Roxy?
Just love your pets and enjoy them. Remember all the good stuff.