My former foster dog, Fritz, died yesterday. He was 12 1/4, which is about as long a life as most Boxers can expect. I had secretly hoped he might be immortal, but alas . . .
I have fostered a gazillion dogs, give or take a few, but Fritz has remained close to my heart since his adoption. He lived in our home for nearly one year. As tempting as it was to pull him off the market and just keep him with me for the rest of his days, I stuck firmly with my belief that someone out there would give him a home of his own. I have been wrong about so many things in my life, but I was right this time. There was someone out there, and she gave him that forever home. As an added bonus, I gained a wonderful friend in the bargain.
I called Sue yesterday to see how she was doing. She told me that Fritz had died peacefully, surrounded by Sue, her sister, and her best friend. Her Buddhist beliefs have given her a unique perspective on Fritz's death. Sue is comforted in the knowledge that she has always known Fritz, will always know him. Their separation is only physical. "He loved me more than any dog I've ever had," she said.
"I just wish you'd been able to have him longer," I said, sniffling away.
"I'm okay, I really am." She told me how hard it had been to come home and to see Fritz's things all over the house, but was at peace with his passing. Fritz had lost all of the strength in his back end and had been falling regularly. She knew his body's warranty had expired and that it was time to say good-bye. He knew it, too.
My eyes welled up. "I don't know if I am okay," I told her.
"Claudia, what can I do to help you through this?" Sue asked me. I could hear the sincerity in her voice. Here I had called to console her and she ended up giving me the long distance pat on the hand.
Every day, my Facebook news feed is filled with horrors. A dog named Justice set on fire a couple weeks ago (he died of his injuries). Horses shipped off to slaughter. Elephants killed for their tusks (still! in 2012!). Sharks killed for their fins. And don't even get me started on what goes on in the factory farming industry. Examples of animal cruelty at the hands of humans are endless. But, for this one dog, for Fritz, I know he is okay. I know that he was loved. There are good people out there, people who take in old dogs, even knowing that the end may come much too soon. G'night, Fritty Cent . . . I'll miss you, too!
Cheers to all of the Sues and Fritzes out there.
The link to Barking at the Moon is no longer valid in my other blog post about Fritz, so here is a new link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2N_t-_6Jl8&feature=youtu.be