I thought the blow would be softer as I had mourned and cried for him over the past four years beginning with the doctor’s matter of fact delivery of the shocking news “he has congestive heart failure.”
Failure? Failure? That word in conjunction with “heart” stopped my own. My eyes filled with tears as I asked “how long does he have?” anticipating days, weeks. But the doc reassured me… with meds it could be years.
That darn Godiva chocolate reindeer had started it all at Christmas time a few months earlier. I was busy at my computer when the irresistible smell of chocolate drifted through the bright noon living room air. Looking around to find its origin I saw him licking the bright gold and red foil with glee, the wrapper held in his paws with care, still intact enough for me to distinguish its brand and shape as I yanked it from him screaming “No, Finny, no”. Too late. A $500 visit to the hospital ensued with the vet exclaiming “At least it was good chocolate”. Uh huh yeah, the dog has good taste, thanks for that… I dare say he would have been just as happy with Hershey’s. A subsequent visit with bloodwork showed diabetes. Two injections of insulin and 2-3 heart meds twice a day was the verdict.
The three more hospital visits over the years set me back a few thousand dollars but I loved him. My heart broke the first time he went in as he had never even been boarded as we took him on our many local trips and he was cared for in his own home by Jeremy or Geri the times we were out of state. I was not sure he was going to make it that first time as he was so sick. But I cried a little less each time he went in, believing he would pull through after his first bout with pancreatitis. The brave little guy did.
It was a gradual slide downhill over the years. His eyes dimed, his hearing failed and his little limbs and heart grew weaker. So gradual; it was a blessing in a way. It was as gentle as his beautiful spirit and he was able to enjoy life and we enjoyed him each day.
He passed with such peace in his own home with Colyn, Geri and I this past Saturday. The three humans closest to him, showering him and surrounding him with love. He loved his last meal of roast beef, something he never got due to our care with his diet. His last trip around the neighborhood in his doggie baby carriage with his two doggie siblings walking beside him was bittersweet but we did it for him. The wonderful lady vet that came was quiet, respectful and oh so gentle. He went fast and was ready to go on to his next adventure. It could not have been a more perfect ending for this magnificent soul but we cried, oh did we cry.
I had never experienced grief to this degree and could not relax, did not know what to do with myself that evening. I wanted a brief respite after we took Finny to the Pet Cemetery and tried to eat a bit of dinner. Colyn and I decided to take our two remaining dogs on a small walk. It was a warmish So Ca spring clear night and I thought it might help. Joe refused to go so it was just Dori and her two humans. The walk was short as our hearts were so heavy with grief and our eyes swollen and blinded by countless tears. Everything reminded us of him, the corner fire hydrant and all the spots he loved along the few blocks from our house where just hours before we had been with him.
We were just about back home when it happened. I glanced up into the darkness of the star lit night as I often do. I could have missed it but the timing was perfect. It only took a second for the brightest shooting star to make its brief journey into nothingness in the heavens right over the top of our house.
Colyn did not see it but as I described it with awe he said “that was little Finn getting his wings”.
In the subsequent days following Finn’s passing, contemplating the shooting star and Colyn’s words, I have considered that possibility. I imagine Finny appearing before the canine grand poop ba council with a review of his short fourteen years on earth, thirteen of them with Colyn and I.
“Well done, little one, you have accomplished your mission” I hear them saying. “You changed your humans lives forever and taught them unconditional love. You showed them how to be brave, resilient and accept the beauty in life. You gave them great joy. Here are your well-deserved wings. This new star that is born in the heavens tonight shall be called FinnStar.”
Thank you Finny for being my baby and my teacher. You were God’s gift to me and oh the gifts you brought. I will look for your star each night, knowing you are watching down on me.
Until we met again, I love you with all my heart, my little FinnStar.