When you looked at me with those big brown eyes upon my return home on Friday, Oct. 4th, I knew what you were telling me. Yes, you are a dog and I am a human, but those cords of unconditional love allow for the most meaningful communication. That look said it all and my heart broke into a million little pieces.
I think about that day in 2004, when I went to the Humane Society and found you. You were a matted, flea infested, stinking thing they named Pancho. Really? You didn't look like no stinking Pancho, but there you were, a stray, needing to be neutered and facing heartworm treatment. There was something in that face of your, those big brown eyes that reached in and grabbed me by the heart.
Kimberly and I loaded you into her vehicle and took you straight to Petco to have you dipped and shaved. I got you home and you decided that trying to mark your territory. I nipped that quickly and off you went to to start the treatment for heartworms. The vet said keep you quiet, but you wouldn't sit still.
I found out the hard way that you didn't like storms. I still have the shredded carpet to prove it. I didn't know that either, at the time. You didn't like your crate, but even though you were housebroken you did have accidents in the house, much to my dismay.
Oh my goodness you were a difficult dog, but so darn cute. Watching you run to the back yard was really a joy. That little docked tail wiggling and those long ear flopping in the breeze. Watching you sticking your head out the window as we rode around, those ears in the wind. You never wanted to stay in the backseat. You would stand on the console and rest your head on my shoulder.
I miss your little food hog ways. The way you were always tangling around my feet while I was cooking dinner or washing dishes as if I would toss you a crumb. Oh wait, I would. Do you remember filching the toast right off my breakfast plate? Or figuring out how to open your food container and eating 14 cups of food one day? You were a stuffed sausage when I got home. I made a call to the vet who said to watch you for diarrhea and puking - great! And you silly dog, you still wanted your evening meal.
I miss your begging face as I am eating pizza, well eating anything. I don't have a reminder to feed Mollie now. You were better than a clock. Every evening around 7:30 you started bouncing around. All I had to say was, "ready to eat". You'd hop and bounce and spin in frantic circles as though you hadn't been fed in days.
In spite of all that you were my baby boy. My stupid dog. You were never a lap dog, but you enjoyed being close. You followed me everywhere. I couldn't pee without you sitting in the door waiting for me. You just have no idea how much you are missed.
Do you remember the day I got you home from the vet, freshly shorn and vaccinated and you jumped out of my vehicle while I was driving down the road? Thank goodness, I had your leash on. All I heard was a thump, I looked over and you were gone. I got the car to the side of the road and slowly pulled the leash up and there you were, dangling from the other end. Once I got you in the car, you were just all grins and giggles (yes I know a dog doesn't really grin or giggle), as though you accomplished some great feat. Sure you scraped up the bottom of your paws and bled all over the passenger seat...lovely.
Finnegan, nothing with you was easy. From day one you were a challenge, but regardless, you were my bud. Always there for me in the evening when I got home. You made life less lonely. You also made me laugh. There wasn't a person who walked into this house that you didn't hug in your special boy way. Actually, there was one, the only one and he...well that's a post for another day, but how you reacted to him, that's how I knew he was special.
But sweet Finn, like him, you are gone. I was with you every moment of that journey. I cried my heart out and when I thought there were no more tears they just kept coming. As we sat here at home and I loved on you, Mollie nudging you and licking my tears and you staring up at me, I poured my heart out to you. Feeling so guilty but knowing I was doing what was best for you. Knowing didn't make it any easier.
When we got to the vet's office, I almost walked back out. How could I do this to you? But how could I let you suffer one more night? I signed the papers and the tech came in. He said his heart broke when he saw your name on the board. He has always been sweet. He asked me the hard questions about your remains and if I wanted a paw print. There I was holding you on my lap talking about what would happen to you.
Dr. Hageny came in and I asked her to help me be very sure that what I was expecting in your recovery with the meds was possible, but as I had feared over the last week, no medicine would magically return the strength to you muscles. I couldn't continue to pick you up and carry you around and it just wasn't fair to you not being able to walk or sit or run.
So she gave you a sedative and said it would take about 15 minutes. Within 3 minutes, your little head was lolling around, but you were looking at me with glazed eyes and I just talked to you. My insides mush, my heart aching, and your little heart beating as I rubbed your tummy. We waited.
Dr. H and Anthony (the vet tech) came in. It was time. So I talked to you, rubbed your silky ears and told you I loved you and I would miss you and that you were a good boy. I watched her give you the medicine that would slow your heart to a stop. Such a pretty pink color, yet such a deadly thing. She was halfway though injecting you, and I knew you were gone. She finished the injection and listened to your heart slowly stop beating. There was no last inhale of breath, no sudden movement. You were simply gone. I howled, if that is what you would call it...that guttural escape of sound that a wounded animal makes.
They let me have as much time as I wanted with you. I stood there scratching your chin, rubbing your belly, playing with your floppy ears. You were cute even in death with your pink tongue tip sticking out. Finn, you are missed. I know I will get through this, as will Mollie. She misses her crate buddy. She's been crying the last few nights and I know she realizes you are gone. I miss all your sounds, your snoring, your noxious toots. I miss you curling up by my feet. I miss your barks and all your annoying quirks. But most of all, I miss that sweet, soulful face. You will be remembered my Finny Winny, Stupid Dog, OMG Finnegan!!!, Finners, Finn Finn.