29 December 2012

In Memorium

Until one has loved an animal,
part of their soul remains unawakened.
~ Anatole France ~

My Special Boy
1999 January 14th
2011 December 29th

For twelve years, ten months, and four days Felix held my heart captive. He entered our lives when he was only six weeks old.

People would ask, "Why did you name a dog Felix?" Felix was a Schnauzer. In case you don't know, the Schnauzer breed originated in Germany. I like classical music and Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy was a German composer. I've always liked his music. Therefore, to name my new family member Felix seemed perfectly logical.

Felix would greet me at the door at my every return, even if I had been out of his sight for only a few minutes. "Mommy" told me he would lay at the door until he sensed the first sound of my return and his ears would come to attention in that special way he had. It was sort of like his eyebrows working independently as those of a dog can. He would do the same for "Mommy" but he still was my Felix. He delighted in showing his affection by washing my face ... or, as we called it ... giving kisses.

He used so many specific languages that it became easy to understand his needs and wants. He barked numerous times when someone came to the door. It was the same when one or both of us returned home in the car. When it was something he either needed or wanted, a single bark would suffice. If we waited too long to respond he would give us a minute or so before sounding off again. For food, he waited in the kitchen. To go out he did the obvious thing and waited by the door. Of course the doggie doors were convenient since we had four Schnauzers. Only near the end he barked because he could no longer find the doggie door.

Our front porch was railed and gated so that he and his fellow Schnauzer partners could not stampede up the drive to the road. The yard is fenced so they are free to roam within it confines and stay safe. When we were outside the yard he had a special "squeal" sound that told us he wanted to be outside the fenced yard with us.

Until a few months before the end of life he loved to race up the drive with me to get the paper or mail.

Medical treatments appeared to do little to allow him precious additional time. He lost weight and energy. Just a week before Christmas his condition nosedived and we realized the end was closing in.

One year ago it was necessary that Felix be euthanized. The date was December 29th, 2011. He had reached that point in his life when there was no more of anything that even came close to his ability to enjoy activities of a normal life. He had been treated for diabetes for more than a year with diet and insulin. He was completely blind and totally deaf. He had reached the point that he was unable to retain urine or feces voluntarily. Making the decision to take him to the vet that day was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do. We wept for him.

It would have been selfish of me to try to keep him barely alive just so I could hold him in my arms. When the vet gave him his final injection, it took only a few seconds for his breathing and heart to stop. His "computer" was the last thing to shut down. We said our goodbyes and wept again.

Felix is buried ... wrapped in a favored blanket ... beneath a red Formosa azalea. It was one of his favorite pee spots. Didn't hurt the bush one iota.

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