First photo of Rex
July 4, 1991
Where Rex came from was a mystery. Rex was wearing a chain but it had no tags to identify him (and this was before microchipping was available), no "lost dog" signs were posted in the area where he was found, and the pounds had not received any inquiries about a dog matching his description. Had he run away? If so, why no identification or attempt to recover him? Had someone abandoned him? We may never know. But Rex was already trained. On command, he would come, sit, stay, lay down, heel, and shake (hands). And he was house trained. He was so full of energy and love, but at the same time gentle and obedient. We and he bonded immediately.
Being a retriever, Rex used to love to carry things around in his mouth. Whenever he walked across a room or up or down the stairs, he wouldn't do it before first picking up a toy. When he got to his destination he would put the toy down. He didn't want to play with the toys, he only wanted them to carry around. Rex's toys found their way all over the house.
Rex was affectionate, but also liked his space. There was only so much hugging and kissing he would allow before getting up and moving away from doting humans. He was very patient with us, though, and would allow us to dress him up and pose him for pictures. He liked the attention we gave him as long as we didn't hug and kiss him for longer than he tolerated.
He loved to go out for walks and to be driven places, it didn't matter where. When his leash came out of the closet, he would be visibly excited and would jump up and down. One time after he had a bath, it was time for a walk so I needed to put his collar back on him. I held it in front of his head intending to slip it on, and Rex lunged his head into it. He could not wait for me to put it on. He knew it meant we were going out and he wanted it on now!
Rex was very gentle and considerate. He liked to eat baby carrots, and Randy noticed that if you gave him one he would very gently with his lips take it from your fingers, being sure not to get his teeth anywhere near you. He was also protective of us. If Alex and I fought, Rex would become agitated and jump up and down at us to register his displeasure at our fighting and distract us from each other.
Rex didn't like to be left outside in the back yard. When we went out and left him there he would dig holes in the garden out of frustration. While in the yard he would bark if he heard another dog's collar jingle over the fence. On a walk he would act aggressively towards other dogs, lunging towards them and barking. Sometimes it was all we could do to pull on the leash to hold him back. Perhaps he felt the other dogs in the neighborhood were threatening his sovereign territory.
When I moved to San Diego Alex got custody of Rex, but I went up to visit and Alex and Rex came down to visit me, so I got to see him then.
We never were sure how old Rex was. When we first took him to the vet in July
1991 his age was estimated at around 2 years. Later a year was added to the
estimate, and yet another year was added even later. We celebrated his birthday
each year on July 3, the anniversary of the day he came to live with us. We
think he was 14 when he died on July 28, 2001 after having been ill for several
days and not responding to medication.
These photographs were taken throughout his life and are posted here in loving tribute to Rex, the best dog that ever was.