Monday, March 26, 2012

Haunted By a Wonder(ful) Dog

If you've been following my blog for awhile, you know that I frequently have mentioned Fresca the Wonder Dog.  Fresca was my "Velcro Puppy."  Fresca joined our family twelve years ago, shortly after our Shetland Sheepdog passed away.  She stuck so close to me that I often found myself tripping over her as I'd turn to go into another room.  She had appointed herself my personal bodyguard and she took her duties seriously.  To that end, she protected me from every person or car that went past our front yard as she darted from living room to guest bedroom, checking their progress through the windows as she tried to hurry them along with fierce barking.  Fresca was a dog with an attitude.  As one trainer told us, "If Fresca was human, she'd have pink hair, a nose ring, and a major attitude."  Yup!

Fresca was a bundle of energy.  She outlived four cats and one canine cousin.  But recently she was diagnosed with serious heart disease.  It was most likely congenital.  With her enlarged heart, it would press against her trachea and constrict her airway, causing her to do some horrible coughing.  Her diagnosis was made in early Spring and I became a regular at the only veterinary heart specialist in the area.  He put her on heart medication and told me that it was incurable but maybe we could slow things down.  We couldn't slow HER down, even with the coughing.

Last Thursday evening, I headed up the stairs to bed and noticed that she was doing more coughing than usual.  As I drifted off to sleep, I thought it was settling down.  It wasn't.  By morning, it was obvious that she was still struggling to breathe.  If I stroked her throat and massaged her neck, she would calm down for a bit but soon would start coughing again....those horrible, racking coughs.  It was time!  The Commander had to take her to the vet to be put to sleep.  I couldn't do it.  I was hysterical.  In fact, I cried so hard that it is only today that I don't feel like I have cracked ribs.

That first day without her, I couldn't even stand to look at any reminders.  I took all of her things and packed them up.  I could give most of them to my daughter for her dogs.  I only kept one thing.....a little stuffed cow toy that had been one of her favorites.  It's sitting in the guestroom on the dresser, looking out the window.

She's been gone for five days now but I still feel her presence everywhere.  When I drive up to the house, I glance at the windows expecting to see her peeking out at me.   If I get ready to go out on errands, I find myself whispering the usual litany under my breath , "I'll be right back.  You guard the house."

Whenever I go up or down stairs, I find myself moving to the side to make room for her.  She would always insist on streaking past me so she could beat me to the top or bottom of the steps.  When I sit in the recliner watching TV, I glance over toward the fireplace and expect to see her napping beside it. There are no more circle of dog toys left around my feet to try to entice me to stop knitting and play instead.  Today I caught myself dozing off and woke with a start, surprised that Fresca hadn't woken me by her usual whining when she'd notice that I'd fallen asleep.  I drop food as I cook and am surprised that now I have to clean the crumbs off the floor because she's not there to gobble things up.

I find myself getting up from the computer and starting to say, "It's ok...Mommy will be right back," but there is no Fresca there.  It's SO quiet.  No barking.  No clattering of nails on the flooring.  No staring at me as the clock gets close to mealtime.

I keep glancing out the kitchen window to see if she is waiting on the back step to come inside after a "potty break."  I make the bed in the mornings and have to catch myself to keep from patting the comforter to give her the signal that it's ok to jump up on the bed for her morning tummy rub.   I pulled off a clump of dog hair fluff from one of the chairs in the living room today and was reluctant to throw it in the trash.

 Last night I went around turning off the lights before heading upstairs to bed and again I found myself whispering to a ghost, "I'm going to bed now.  You have a good night."

I like to think she's up in doggy heaven chasing her cousin, Kaiser and annoying him to no end by squeezing into places that he's way too big to get into.  Or maybe she's gone slumming and located her furry feline siblings...Pug, Miss Daisy, Sgt. Streak, and Smokey.  If so, they're all probably enjoying a rambunctious game of tag right now.

Gosh, I miss her.  She may have been a handful but she was a good and faithful dog.  I'll leave you with several of my favorite blog posts of her antics.  For all of you dog lovers, enjoy! And give your furry ones an extra hug today in memory of Fresca.

Fresca the Wonder Dog Strikes Again

Mush, You Varmints, Mush!


Unknown said...

She was such a wonderful dog! We miss you so much, Fresca!

Karyn said...

What a beautiful tribute to a wonder dog! My heart breaks for you. We know how difficult it is to lose a beloved pet. Jim also sends his condolences and sympathy.

It's so great you have so many photos and good memories, though! She'll never really be gone, as long as you remember her.