Vic + Dixie

Dixie, "The Girlfriend," Teaches Man to Smile Again

Vic + Dixie

When Dixie became a part of our family, two souls got rescued — Dixie’s and my husband Vic’s.

Dixie was an owner-surrender at a shelter where my sister volunteered. Despite personally taking her to adoption events, no one adopted her. My sister thought she might be just the dog Vic and I needed. It turns out, she was right.


Ten years ago, we lost our only son in a car accident. Our journey towards healing has been long and hard. There were countless days when I wasn’t sure we would make it. I had the love of a dog named Simon to help me, but my husband was as lost as a person could be.

When Dixie and Vic first met, she was terrified of him. After a week of cowering, she responded to his attempts to win her friendship. Before long, she loved him above all others, and that is the love story I wish to share here.

The love goes both ways. Vic’s love for this little terrier is something to behold. He was dying inside, and she gave him a purpose. She taught him to smile, find joy, and love again. She opened his heart to life. She climbed on his lap and licked his face until, little by little, she eased his pain.

Every night at 5:00 p.m., Dixie parks herself in the same living room chair so she can see the driveway and wait for Vic to come home from work. She won’t leave her post for any reason. When she hears his car come down the street, she starts barking and dancing. She runs to the garage door and barks until it opens and he enters. She rushes him like a little linebacker and goes bonkers. You would never guess that she had just seen him eight hours earlier.

Reunited, she appears to smile. Vic smiles too, and he is not known for smiling.

The two of them are so bonded we call Dixie “the girlfriend.” Dixie has brought tremendous joy to our lives. I don’t know how she ended up at the shelter. I shudder to think of her there, frightened and alone. Now this little dog sleeps in our bed and rules our hearts. It was our lucky day the day she came into our lives.

Dixie began life as a rescue dog, but she has been the one to do the rescuing. I think she must be a St. Bernard disguised as a 16-pound terrier. What a gift to share your life with a dog that is so special that she not only recognizes your hurt and pain, but she innately wants to fix it.

Each year, the Petco Love invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Bonnie Cable won Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association in Charleston, West Virginia a 2016 Holiday Wishes award.