Friday, August 19, 2005
Here's a fine Freedom Poodle
This is a photo of my dearly departed Fefe, the world's finest Freedom Poodle (see E.R.'s site where he disparages the breed. If only he knew what mighty dogs they are.)
Fefe had an interesting life story. I came to share my home with her on Oct. 5, 1985. A secretary in my office had found her in the median of Interstate 40 during morning rush hour traffic and had stopped to rescue her. The girl was 19 at the time, with a 2-year-old son. They lived in an apartment that didn't allow pets, so for a few days Fefe was living hidden in a closet being fed bologna. She weighed three pounds when I agreed to keep her ... "until we can find her a permanent home." Yeah, I fell hook, line and sinker.
When I took her in for her first vet visit, he warned me not to get overly attached because she was probably more than five years old and had lived a rough life as a street dog. She had ear mites and some other little pests that were quickly banished, then she started gaining a little weight after I started her on a good, regular diet. For most of our time together she was about 8 to 9 pounds.
We had several health scares over the years with unusual problems -- bladder stones, which required surgery, her spaying and then later another surgery to remove those stinky, awful anal glands (sorry to upset any delicate readers).
She spent most of her years on a prescription diet that I bought by the case from the vet's office, to prevent the stones from recurring. When I got her, she had a cataract in her left eye which later became worse, and over time formed another in her right eye. We made a visit to the veterinary hospital at Oklahoma State University where she was examined by a canine ophthalmologist. (Yes, I really, really DID take my dear dog for an eye exam. And she did OK until she was asked to read the third line. She missed several of the letters; I think it was because she couldn't read.) Anyway, the vet told me that at that time her cataracts were not well formed enough to be removed. The little dog did so well getting around there really was never any reason for me to pursue it further.
We lived in several places while we were together, and she was always able to find her way around once she could determine where key pieces of furniture were located. I finally broke down and bought this house in order to give her a permanent home for the rest of her days. It also is a one-story home which made life much easier than the second-story apartment we lived in previously.
Fefe surprised me early on with the way she was tuned in to me. The first night she earned a permanent place in my heart by resting on my lap while I was sitting in my chair. She was just like a cuddly heating pad that I fell in love with.
One trick she surprised me with was her house training. When I left her alone all day for the first time, I didn't know what to expect in the way of accidents. Well, my beautiful, smart best pet in the whole world had it all figured out. She figured if I went in the bathroom, so would she. And lo and behold, her solution was to jump into the bathtub when she needed to GO. Of all the places she could have picked, MY smart dog picked the one place in the house that was the easiest to clean! HOORAY!
During my mother's final days in the nursing home, I took Fefe to see her one last time. They spent a long, long time cuddled up together. Fefe just naturally knew exactly what Mom needed, which was a good, gentle cuddle. I wish I had a photo of that visit because I'll never forget it in my mind's eye, the two of them just lying together in that bed, breathing together in unison, speaking an unspoken love between them. It was a wonderful gift for my mom. The next day, she had no memory of it, but I know somewhere in her heart the love was still with her.
Fefe saw me through many, many tough days in our life together. I think it would have been nearly impossible to deal with some things without her on my lap.
I had her with me until the Saturday after Thanksgiving 2000 -- 15 years together. Not bad for a dog who wasn't expected to be around too long in 1985. She was the oldest patient in my vet's practice when we had to tell her goodbye, and I think it hurt the vet and his staff almost as much as it did me when we had that final visit. Of all the pains that life can bring, saying goodbye to a much-loved pet is one of the worst.
If you think a "Freedom Poodle" is a wimpy little dust mop, then tell me how that little animal still has the power to make me cry after almost five years. I never saw it coming.