Sunday, August 4, 2013

Puppy Love

A few months ago, I wrote a post about my dog.  I love that little dog like he were family because, quite honestly, he is part of our family.  Or more accurately I should say was.  Last Wednesday, we had Fonzie put to sleep.  

He was fourteen years old and has been happy and active for most of his life.  He has had terrible pooping problems though and when I took him to the vet earlier in the summer, we learned that he had a mass on his prostate that was cutting off his bowel and causing all of his pooping issues.  It seemed really dire at first, and in a lot of ways it was but he still seemed happy, though perhaps a little more stinky.  

He was all our dog, my parent's, mine, and my brother's.  We all loved him and none of us were ready to let go.  So as long as he was happy, we were happy with cleaning up after him.  But when he stopped eating and seemed to be lethargic and in physical pain, we knew.  Fonzie has always been a voracious eater, and while he has gotten pickier with age, when offer food he loves like cooked chicken or bacon or french fries, he would consume them as eagerly as ever.  Until this weekend when he stopped eating and threw up the very little he did manage to eat.  Not a good sign.  

We took him to the vet, hoping for some kind of alternative but knowing that was unlikely.  I think the vet knew as well, almost as soon as he saw Fonzie, who normally does his level best to get as far away from the vet as possible sitting docilely on a blanket atop the exam table.  After a time to say good bye to the little dog we loved so much, the vet gave him a shot and he breathed his last. 

I've been trying for more than a week to write this post, to explain what losing this dog has meant to me.  When a human dies, you write a list of their accomplishments and who they are leaving behind.  But what does a dog accomplish in his lifetime?  He didn't rescue people from burning buildings or bark at an intruder to wake us up.  He was just our family pet, and his job was to love us, which he did faithfully to his last.  

In his younger years, Fonzie was a great source of entertainment.  When he was excited, he would run around the first floor of the house, ears flapping and nails skittering, only to stop on a dime in front of you.  If you moved, he'd turn around and run the opposite direction.  This could go on for several minutes before Fonzie would either allow you to pet him or would decide he was tired of it and hop up on the couch.  

One of Fonzie's favorite toys was a good ol' tennis ball, though perhaps his game wasn't the most traditional.  He would bid you to throw the ball and then proceed to knock it under the sofa or other piece of furniture where he couldn't reach it on his own.  Then he would cry until you got it and threw it again, at which point he would repeat the whole process until either he or the human was tired of it.  

He loved to take walks... in theory.  Once you got more than about 100 yards from home, suddenly he had to rethink the whole idea.  He was also not a big fan of being in the car, unless we were going to the cottage.  Fonzie LOVED the cottage.  He would get super excited as soon as he realized we were driving into the neighborhood.  

Fonzie loved all of us.  In recent years, He has done the rounds between all of our beds at night, starting with my parents and visiting myself and my brother throughout the night.  I think he didn't want any of us to feel lonely.  When any of us were sick, Fonzie was always there playing nurse, including and especially when Mom has been sick and recovering from chemo.  

There are a thousand little ways he was loved us and we have loved him.  I would share all of them but I think that would take a novel.  I miss my little doggie and he will always be a sweet memory and a part of my life.  

Love and Peace,  

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