Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Eulogy for My Dog

Grieving in private is too lonely, especially after you've lost the one creature that was a constant support. I'm sorry for posting something so sad, but if you can't post this on your blog, then where can you post it? Plus, the only time I feel better is when I'm talking about her. I was so proud of the little mutt. That's one part of why it's so hard. I felt so lucky and so convinced that she was, in fact, the cutest dog that ever lived.

Frida's Eulogy

That day I drove out to Yelm, with my sister and her boyfriend, I wasn't even sure I'd be getting a puppy. There were no pictures in the classified ad; I just knew they were chihuahua-corgi mixes. I felt it was serendipitous, since I'd only ever known corgis and corgi mixes. 

I had planned to get a boy, if any, since they were cheaper. The sister was so much smaller, though, had funny patches above her eyes, and ears that were about 2/3 of her head. I knew it was her. I had to have her. I borrowed the money from Brian and we made it official. 

She was so scared on the car ride home. I felt bad. I'd hoped she would just cuddle up and fall asleep. She turned out to be rather uncuddly, especially for such a small dog. She was independent, somewhat unsentimental and never into having too much fun. She never "played". Everything was serious work for her. It was hard to take a 6 pound dog seriously, though. She trained with her kitten friends and always kept other dogs in check. Despite her size, and to her detriment, she was never afraid to round up a big dog or two. She was a true herder. Gentle once a chicken was corned and always ready to do it over again.

Two of her best friends: Piggy on the left and Delilah on the right. The only other dog she truly liked was my aunt's rott-lab, Simon. They are finally reunited in doggy heaven.

When she was about 4 months old, she escaped and was attacked by an old, black dog that probably mistook her for a rabbit. The neighbors, thinking she was their aunt's dog from across the street, rushed her to the vet. She was lucky, and only needed stitches, a drainage tube, and a night at the animal hospital. From that day, I felt maybe I was too lucky. With the exception of the attack and the anxiety brought on by undiagnosed food allergies, she always made my days happier & brighter.

chorgi, mini corgi

In September of 2005, I wrote "Out of all the [name] meanings, joy is what fits best for that is what you have always been to me."

There's so much I would trade to have those years back. I would give up coffee and toast. Forever! She made me laugh, even on the hardest days, and I knew I was never really alone. Picnics and walks when Trevor was gone on business are some of my most blissful memories.

I took this picture when I was laid up with foot problems. Frida was right there with me, recovering from back problems.

She was so patient, quiet and genuine. Bubbly, but not in that intense way most little dogs are. If she was truly happy to see someone, she let you know. Her sideways wiggle alone was enough to make someone feel happier & truly appreciated. If she hated every minute of whatever she was doing, her face expressed it. She hated being held and was forever disappointed that she had been born a small dog.

chorgi, chigi, pet loss, mini corgi
She really hated Petco for some reason.

stripes, kid, mini corgi, chigi, pet loss
 Mathilde was one the few people, and probably the only child, that was ever able to get Frida to sit in her lap for an extended time.

This last summer, she turned 10 and started to lose the use of her tongue. It was my worst fear: a mystery that not even a vet neurologist could solve without thousands of dollars of scans, that would probably only bring more bad news. Instead, we spent more time together. I hand-fed her all summer and she got really good at it. We had a system down and both enjoyed the extra time outside. She learned to drink from a watering can, rather than a bowl, and every day I would wipe her little mouth with baby wipes after she ate. She was so full of life, so happy, when she was outside, you would have never known her age or her troubles. 

On her last walk, we trudged 8 blocks in the snow, to the coffee shop up the hill. Frida was always in the lead, unless pulled aside by the sight of a squirrel. When we got there, she didn't want to be left outside as usual. She just wanted to sit in my lap, something she rarely did. She shivered and barked at a child making faces at her through the window.

On her last morning, I just remember her being so happy. Even though it was much earlier than her usual wake up call, she was happy to go outside with me at 7:30am. Happy to get a drink, happy to be going somewhere with me. I hope that she felt that same peace and happiness when her little heart gave its last beat. I am comforted in knowing that if it hadn't been that day, her future days would have only grown darker with the pain of what we now know was a tumor in her jaw. A selfish part of me regrets opting to have the surgery for a feeding tube, but I now know the extra time I would have gained would have only been for my comfort, not hers. I just wanted to be the last one to hold her.

I thought if I was truly grateful for her every day, and expressed it, she would never leave me. She was my joy; my heart. The best parts of me all bundled up in a wiggly, fuzzy, adorable little being.

For a time, I'll only feel heartache when I think about that last walk and that last morning, but I know it also means that I'll find her again someday.

My joy, my heart, my best friend.


ellenlu said...

so beautifully written and touching! you got a little tear from me (and I never cry). xo

Keit said...

It's heartbreaking to see such an adorable little bugger pass away. She's probably the cutest dog I've ever seen! With those bug huge eyes and chubby posture. It sucks to loose a friend like that, but I'm glad you shared it on here, because I always thought shared pain is half the pain. Don't loose hope!
Hugs and kisses from me!

Unknown said...

This was such a sweet post for your adorable best friend. Losing a dog is the worst thing in the world. I really feel for you and your loss and how hard the last year or so of their life can be despite the joy they bring. It's never easy, but you'll start to feel less sad with time. Someday the happy memories will be in the forefront of your thoughts about her instead of the hard times and last day.

Thinking of you!

Anonymous said...

Oh how heartbreaking. It's so hard to lose an animal. They're family. This is a beautiful tribute. I still dream about the dog I lost a few years ago. It makes me sad, but I'll never forget her or the happy times we had. I'm glad Frida had such a wonderful life. No matter how old dogs live, they always leave us too soon.

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