Foxy has outlived and out-performed all expectations by all accounts. Saying goodbye to her and articulating everything she has come to mean to me is so hard to sort. Processing the grief is such a thorny, thick, quicksand-in-a-tidal-wave kind of deal. I’m doing my best to honor it and give it the space it commands.
What I do know is that even though I fell in love with her at first sight, she chose me. She claimed me as her own and never wavered. Clint brought her and her sister over when we started dating and she never left. I was honored and surprised. “She’s your dog now.” No, I’m her human and I have taken nothing more to heart before or since. I didn’t realize it was possible to be chosen in such a pure and simple way with no questions asked. Foxy was the best dog for me. The best dog I never saw coming and still can’t fully appreciate. She was such a lighthouse for me during some of my darkest days and a joyful, silly buddy whenever she was close to me.
Clint and I went for a walk with Petra the night we made the “appointment” and left Foxy on the couch where she spent most of her time. I asked Clint to tell me stories of when Foxy was young and before I knew her. He regaled me with the stories of her being a ring leader for his 3 other dogs to take off on escapades only to return whenever the hell she wanted, covered in deer poop and the other dogs missing their expensive new coats. She always seemed to come home unscathed and completely at peace. We trusted her to stick around during our middle-of-the-night-let-outs only to have her slip though the backyard fence when we least expected it. That caused more than a few walks though the neighborhood in our pjs, barefoot in the snow, or even drives, only to find her eyes reflecting a few streets away, wondering what we were doing, out at that time of day. She’d be home when she was good and ready.
Clint had to pry her apart from snarling, punching raccoons, bite-y possums, panicked squirrels, other dogs with bones (her own “brothers”) and cats that she may not have bothered to tell that she was friendly with cats. She was still up for kicking some ass on the front yard as she gimped around if someone or some dog dare walk past as she proved to us just this week. She gave zero fucks. She had no fear especially in the face of larger, more ominous beings. You were not the boss of her unless you had a delicious treat and you asked her for a high 5. Then, maybe. She was the seventeen year old, red-headed, ghost-faced, blond underbelly, fuzzy butt, tempestuous old dog you don’t dare try to tell what to do. And she wanted you to know that she will still cut you should you somehow pester her! Or she may just accept your pets and thank you for your attention. She would probably need a nap on the couch afterwards, tout suite. As much as we were ready to cuddle with her, she let us to know she wanted her space. OK. Again, respect.
The grief started in earnest when we made the appointment but it will still be a surprise on how it will burble to the surface. She was so many things to me including a kindred spirit and my extended heart. She has shown me strength and perseverance and how to just relax and take a good nap. She had a voice and was quick to use it and did not care what you had to say about it. She made her thoughts known, without fail. Finger biting time, for instance. She was my therapist, my emotional co-regulator, my soothing and accepting just-lay-next-to-me-to-comfort-me fuzzy friend, her paw on my knee with a pleading look when I have been yell-y and upset on the phone. She brought me back to present and to peace. I will miss her smell. I will miss her fuzzy little face poking her head over the couch. I will miss Clint yelling “Hi Da Boof!” whenever he saw her awake. I will miss her twerking and boofing (barking with her mouth closed) in her sleep. I will miss rubbing the tips of her ears between my thumb and forefingers. I will miss giving her face pets that she indicated she really liked. I will miss her one blue eye. I will miss holding her soft belly up to get a drink or to eat her food. I will miss her ever present company on the couch. I will miss knowing she’s in my atmosphere even when I’m away from her. I will even miss giving her Brazillians and keeping her down-under bits clean and dry. I will miss all parts of her being, even the ones I don’t yet realize.
We gave her the best last days we could. We took her for a slow drive through her old neighborhood last night and stopped for a pup cone at Snookies which she was totally into. We had a good trip to the dog park this morning that she seemed to enjoy. She walked further than she had in weeks, got some pets and even got her head out of the window most of the way there. And of course, plenty of her favorite instant pot chicken parts before and after.
I’m grateful she’s seen Clint and I through the last year. I was devastated to have to leave her for weeks on end last fall once we got the news that she was expected to live only a few weeks. I’m grateful for our extended time and realize it’s a luxury to be able to schedule this sort of thing. She took her final nap on the couch which she claimed as her last comfortable place to exist. And we were there with her, crowding her a bit but she didn’t seem to mind.