Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Farewell to a faithful friend...

Today was a tough day for us. We said goodbye to Fester, our beloved cocker spaniel.

It's true what they say, you know. Dogs really are man's best friend, in the truest sense of the word. In the last 14 years, we've had many friends but I'm certain they all saw every flaw we have. Fester never did. He thought we were just great - all the time, everyday. He liked hanging out with us no matter where we were and was always there to greet us when we came home. I know he adored my cooking because except for spinach and brussel sprouts, he'd eat anything I gave him.

Fester was there to toast every grandchild's birth. He watched patiently while we changed diapers, burped babies and put them back in their cribs. Then he climbed up on the nearest high point so he could see inside the crib to watch the baby sleeping. Later, as they grew up, he ate cocoa puffs with them as they watched Saturday morning cartoons and then went fishing with them in the afternoons. At night, he slept soundly (and I mean soundly like in snoring) at the foot of their beds. They crawled on him, pulled his ears, rode him like a pony and dressed him up in funny clothes and he loved every minute of it.

I can't count the number of times people asked us if he and Murphi could have more puppies because they all wanted a dog with just that kind of temperament. For years, Mike and I traveled with Fester and his cohort, Murphi, all over the country. He loved to travel and saw more of this country than most humans do.

Time marches on, however, and it finally took it's toll on Fester. It was one of the hardest decisions we ever had to make. He was dying and we knew it but we kept hoping we could make him more comfortable and everything would be okay. Down deep, however,we knew that wasn't true. We said we'd never let him suffer and today, he was suffering. It was time.

Having one daughter who is a nurse and another in the veterinary industry was a life saver. They both took him to the vet and Christi held him, wrapped in his blanket while he went peacefully to sleep.

I comfort myself with images of Fester - running and playing with children somewhere in Heaven. And I hope the angels have an endless supply of gooey pastries (Fester's favorite!)that they freely hand out to fat, sassy, happy dogs.

Fester touched our lives with absolute unconditional love and forgiving grace and we're infinitely better people as a result.

Someday, we may get another cocker spaniel but we'll never find another Fester. He was one special little buddy.

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