I’ve just finished reading A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz. This book is the memoir of his Golden Retriever, Trixie.
Trixie was trained by Canine Companions for Independence as an assistance dog but had to be retired after needing elbow surgery. She came to live with author Dean Koontz and his wife, Gerda, in 1998. In this book, Koontz relates the stories of Trixie’s (a.k.a. Short Stuff’s) remarkable life, where she teaches the Koontzes to treasure every moment and live in the present. Meanwhile she makes lots of friends along the way.
My favourite story is of Trixie, who is suffering from diarrhea. However, Trixie won’t poop in her own yard and diarrhea won’t stop her from breaking this vow. She takes Dean for a sprint across their rather large California property in order to reach safe territory. There, she lets loose with explosive results. It is stories like this that many dog owners can relate to. (My Daisy won’t pee in the rain and it doesn’t matter whether she is wearing a raincoat or not – she has to be busting before she’ll go.)
Koontz was inspired by Trixie and this led him to publish a number of books in her name including Life is Good, Bliss to You (Trixie’s Guide to a Happy Life), Christmas is Good, and children’s book I Trixie Who Is Dog. Proceeds from these books were donated to support the Canine Companions charity.
Be prepared as Dean tells us about the awful days in 2007 when Trixie fell ill and was put to sleep in his arms, sitting on her favourite couch. Koontz was subsequently unable to write for almost a month afterwards.
As Koontz says on Trixie’s dedicated website pages, “She changed us as people, made us better by her example, brought piercing beauty and so much humor into our lives, and left a terrible void when she went to God.”