Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Memorial to the Best Dog in the Verse

I don't like people seeing me cry. I don't even want people to know I might be. I can count on two hands the number of people that have. That said, I think this is one time I'll make an exception. Today, I found out that my beautiful, amazing, incredible dog Fionnie (it's pronounced Finnie...Irish spelling) has lung cancer and he has a very short time left on this Earth.

The tumor is the size of a lemon. I could have them remove half of a lung, but the thought of doing that to a ten-year-old dog, for, at the most, an additional year of life just seems selfish. You all know what a crazy animal person I am. You know about the squirrels that knock on the door and eat peanuts out of my hand. You know my old roomie and I used to call this Disney princess house. You know I'd frakking kiss a spider if it hung around long enough. But this dog is different.

I'll never forget the day my ex-husband finally agreed to get a dog. I couldn't go to the shelter or I'd have 15 of them. Yes, I'm that girl and I'm totally okay with it. I had no idea he would get such a big one. I grew up with Westies and it was the last thing I was expecting. But when Eric took me to pick him up, the first thing he said was, "Oh god, isn't he beautiful?" And my heart turned into jelly.

He was goofy and funny and grinning like only a dog can. Black and white, with freckles and toe hair. He grows his own slippers. We were told he was a border collie/cocker spaniel mix and he was a few hours away from being put down. He was so unbelievably beautiful! I lost my heart and I'll never get it back.

There are so many stories I could tell about this incredible soul. The way he let my bunny groom him. The way he'd run up to kids and let them pull his hair, only to give them a smooch. The way my old neighbor Manoush told me that he was a bit of a dog ambassador for her friends from Iran. He's sit so still for the people that were scared (she told me that in her country, they'd shoot dogs this size because they were mostly feral) and give them the tiniest smooch to make them comfortable.

He saved my life, you know. I'm sure a bunch of you have laughed over the fact that I'm such a nerd that I went to Comic Con a few days after my appendix exploded. What you may not know is that, when it happened, it took me 45 minutes to crawl to my cell phone to call 911. I kept passing out. Every time I did, he's bite me and nudge me and paw at me until I started moving again. After I called, I just held onto his neck until the paramedics got there. He wouldn't stay away from me. They said that, if I'd passed out, that would have been it for me.

When I went through my divorce, he would climb up as close as he could get every night and sleep with his head on my chest and lick the tears away when I'd cry. He went from a dog that would invite robbers in if they had a cookie to being my protector. If my dog loves you, you are a wonderful person. If not, I'm afraid I'm not going to completely trust you. He's a far better judge of character than I am.

He doesn't have very long left, they tell me. If he makes it through this weekend, I'm taking him to his favorite place in the world: the beach. I'm giving him his favorite snacks. I'm realizing that the last time I took him to the park was really the last time. That all the gushing I do about him is going to be in the past tense from now on. It's soul crushing. I know that there are so many things in the world that are so much worse than losing a pet, but the beautiful innocence with which they love you is unmatchable.

I'll remember everything. His silly anime eyes. His goofy bunny pose. His weird thing about snarling and barking at a cookie for 20 minutes before he'd eat it. His willingness to chow tofu from his silly veggie parents. How he let the bunny groom him. The hind-leg walking performance he'd give when my former roomie Jaime would make him buffalo meat. The weird snort noises he'd make that sounded like he was talking. His "grandpa walks" when my dad would visit. How he sat with me for hours when I lost two of my kitties. His beautiful smile.

Guys, please go home and hug your pets. Lizards, dogs, kitties, hamsters, the moths you named in your room if you're as weird as I was as a kid. Don't get frustrated when they pee in the house. Don't yell when they bark. Realize that if there are such things as angels, they couldn't be more wonderful than your pets. There is nothing that could be.

I love you, Fionnie. Please stick around for a little bit longer.


  1. What a beautiful tribute. You were so lucky to have each other ♥

  2. Jenna I am so very sorry. I was in the room with each of my parents when they died 14 months apart. Putting my Oreo down who also had cancer was harder than that. I was blessed to have him in my life for 10 years. I never deserved the absolute, unconditional, divine love he gave. Your Fionnie will always be a part of you. Try to stay strong and love him enough to let him go when the time comes. You are both in my prayers.

  3. That was very special to read. Thanks for sharing. I remember when you surprised me and Davin with Fionn when we visited CA for the first time. We adored him right away. He is the sweetest, most gentle, goofy dog. He has the best Dr. Seuss feet. I loved all of our drives, our wine tasting, camping, our neighborhood walks to starbucks and hikes and most of all, our trips to the beach. So fun to run together and watch him eat sandy bread :-) what fun memories! He knows how much you love him. He always felt it and he gave it back to you tenfold. What a happy decade you shared together and Davin, Sairsha and I are so lucky to have shared in a part of it too!

  4. The long good bye is the hardest, but it is the right thing. We have lost two dogs and it is amazingly painful. All I can say is that I wish it is as peaceful for you and Fionnie as possible. Hopefully he will meet Marty and Chloe and they will be friends. It sounds like they will be as they are all so sweet.

  5. Jenna - my thoughts and prayers are with you both. Know this - your pooch will know what's coming and thank you for being his friend and companion. You will meet again!

    Much love.

  6. You've given Fionnie a wonderful life. What a privilege to have such a beautiful animal in your heart.

  7. Finnie is a great dog he always made me laugh with his goofiness. I bet Keeper would have really liked him. Good boy!

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  9. Beautiful piece. Ive lost a few dogs the same way and thsame thoughts and feelings went through my head. It never gets easier. Thank you.