Monday, September 19, 2011

My Dog Foenix

I miss my dog, Foenix.

Today was quite a productive day for me.  My big project was to clean the windows.  While cleaning the sliding glass door, I was suddenly struck by the realization that what I was scrubbing off were nose prints from Foenix.

It saddened me, but being busy with the purpose of cleaning I didn't revisit that feeling.  That is, until tonight when I was having a conversation on Facebook about the windows.  Then I mentioned to a like-minded friend (who also had to put her otherwise healthy dog to sleep this year..) about the nose prints.

And that slammed reality back into my face. Slap!  The past week has been busy for me, without a lot of time for self reflection.  However, suddenly tonight, I could see the points this week when the memory of Foenix, one of his hairs, or remembering for the 1284738948th time that I need to go get his ashes, little by little the grief was swelling inside my heart.

Yesterday I remember pulling a dog hair off one of my own brushes, only to realize that it was a sable hair: black band, thin tan band, and another black band.  It was about 2 inches long.  I looked at it for a while, held it, pulled on it between my fingers to feel the solidity of it.  Something real of him, something saying he was alive once, something that said he was really here with me.  And he was mine for a beautiful short 4 years.

His birthday is coming up.  He would have been 5 on November 7th. 

Now when I think about his final days with me I can tell myself that putting him to sleep was for his own good, and our own financial good too.  And those are also simple, but difficult truths to live with.  I think of the pain he was in -- so much so that it distracted him from his fear of Hannah, so he became tolerant of her, especially with his Elizabethan Collar on.  I have the final picture I took of him on my computer, and on my Photobucket Account.  I look at it only when I have to.  But the picture is of a dog in pain, with sad, and questioning eyes.  What are you doing?  Why am I in pain?  Why do I have to wear this collar?  It hurts me to see this, and yet, I do get comfort in the communication we had.

Foenix was so many things to me.  Our relationship was multi-faceted.  It was much like the complex human relationships one develops.  We got to know each other really well, we could finish each others thoughts -- communicating through subtle body language.  He always knew my mood, sometimes even before I did.  He was my mirror.  When I was upset so was he, when I was aggressive, so was he, when I was silly -- LOL -- so was he.  When I wanted to play he was always up for it, when I wanted to be lazy he could do that too.  He was a motivation for me to get up and get things done, and a reason to focus.

Foenix gave me the confidence to pursue my career as a dog trainer.  He was my living proof, a point of reference, of my skill.  When he was with me, I would always get questions and comments about him.  People could almost always tell I was a trainer, because of Foenix.  Or, they'd ask me where he was trained.  Foenix was a foundation for my business and for my identity, right or wrong, as a trainer and a professional.

I miss his presence in my home.  And at the same time thinking about the near constant conflict between he and my daughter, I am relieved not to deal with that.  Really, God showed His Light to me and mercifully gave me a more solid reason to get him out of my house and life.  As much as that hurts, it is the truth.  Hannah is much better off without Foenix here.

I wonder if my grief over him would be very different than it is now, if I was to lose him differently.  He died because of a disease, incurable, painful, and without very good medical management.  What if I had to give him away?  I was in that process when he was diagnosed.  Would I grieve differently?  I think so.  Arrogantly, I would almost rather have him dead than with another person.  That is brutal honestly.  I could barely stand the thought of my dog being some other person's pet or project.  Yes, God was merciful to me.

I want another dog, and still love the German Shepherd breed.  But I cannot bring myself to get another GSD.  Maybe someday.  Maybe I will be ready to love another dog, and train another dog and maybe this dog will be the dog I get to keep until he or she dies of old age.  But for now I miss my Foenix.  My heart couldn't take another right now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jamie,

I was just wondering if you could tell me more about your dog Foenix. I have one of his sons, a 3 year old I absolutely adore. There is a vid of him on Youtube if you're interested. Feel free to email me at!