After we got home from picking up my bicycle, I let the dogs out like I normally do. I noticed that the kitchen gate that keeps both of them separated was open and I swear I remember closing it before we left. Jack was in the back yard and Fairway had run through the garage door so I thought he was going to go out front. I was busy putting groceries away, so I didn't really look for him. When I went out front to call Ellie and Jeremy for dinner I noticed that Fairway was laying in his kennel with his back to me. I called him and he turned around but wouldn't come out. He was squinting badly on his left eye and tilting head his down and left and then I noticed that he was shaking.
I called Jeremy over to look at him and when he picked him up he realized that his left eye was filled with blood. But not like bleeding out of the eye; it was filled with blood on the inside of the eye and he was trembling terribly. He was in such pain.
Oh how the memories of Jack came flooding back. All the money that we spent and all the surgeries that he had to have and treatment that seemed never ending and he is still in pain. I didn't know what to do because although I joke about how I ignore Fairway since Ellie was born; he has been my constant companion for over 5 years. He would die for me and of all the neurotic, little dogs I know, Fairway has the true heart of a lion. He is the best dog I have ever owned. Even though his breath smells like rotting corpses and he constantly drags his but across the carpet, I love him.
Jeremy could see I was about to crumble so he carried Fairway to the car in his little bed and prepared to head for the emergency vets. I went to pet fairway and say goodbye and when I reached for him he cringed like even the thought of my touching him was causing him pain. In that moment my heart shattered into more pieces than a pyrex measuring cup. This is our conversation over the phone while he was driving to the vets:
Jeremy: So the fee to be seen is 85 and then whatever else they need to do after that will be additional.
Me: I know. You know we can't get emotional over this like we did with Jack. Remember we made that promise to each other.
Jeremy: I know. I'm hoping it's just something that can be fixed with pain meds and time, but if they have to do anything else.......
Me: I know. You have to tell them to put him to sleep.
And then we prayed together on the phone. And I felt comforted.
The details will always remain a mystery, but we know that for some reason Jack attacked him. I don't hold it against him; and if anyone is to blame it's me. I know to keep them separated when we leave, and I just didn't do a good job of it.
When I went to put Ellie to bed, she waved as we passed the couch with his little blanket in the window and said "Nite-nite Mimi". It took every ounce of my composure not to start crying.
Jeremy is still at the vet's office and I'm waiting to hear back from him. My eternal optimism is having a hard time feeling optimistic. Maybe he will be ok though; If men can get in awful fights and live then perhaps there's hope for Fairway. If all it requires is the will to fight, I know he can do it.
Because even though he is "just a dog", I love him.
I remember the first time I ever saw you. You were in your master's kitchen behind a baby gate. You got so excited when I walked over to say hello to you that you climbed all the way up that gate, and then you peed on yourself. You were so small I could hold you in one hand you looked just like a puff ball with beady eyes and four tiny legs sticking out. All I remember of those first few moments was a blur of motion as you wiggled about trying to lick me and constantly wagged your tail. I immedately fell madly in love with you and even though it meant I was going to be in trouble; I bought you and took you home.
They gave me a box to keep you in for the ride, but we both preferred to be with each other. You curled up in between my legs as I drove and fell asleep. And then you peed. On both of us.
My father wasn't very happy when I showed up with a dog, but he caved in when I showed him how you fit in the palm of my hand and would lay on your back just like that. I started scratching your belly, and then you did it for the first time. You smiled. "Ha! Look at that, he's happy." My Dad said. And you were.
We went everywhere together, you and me. And every night you would curl up in a little ball in the bed beside me. You did then and you still do look like a fox when you do that.
And then I got married. And we moved to Mississippi. I remember how we would take walks with you on the beach and you would furiously dig holes in the sand until all that was visible of you were two tiny legs and a steady stream of sand shooting out from between them. You would run and run with your face full of sand until you decided that was enough. You would stop right there and just fall over like you were dead. And then the hurricane came and you went with me when I left. Back to my parents house again.
We came back but without a home this time. When we finally did find a home, the baby came. And I forgot about you.
I'm so sorry. I'm sorry that I shooed you away all those times you nudged my hand with your wet nose. I'm sorry I said no every time you tried to run out the door to jump in the car for a ride. But I am most sorry that I didn't close the gate. I'm sorry I couldn't protect you, and because of that you're hurting.
Please live. Take every ounce of fight that I know is in that lion heart of yours and just get better. Come back to me please. I'll tell you something, but only if you promise to get better. The basket that is coming for my bike is just for you. I even ordered a special made doggy pillow all the way from England for you for when you ride in the basket. Just. pull. through.
I love you from my shirt to my socks and even my dirty bath towel (because I know that's your favorite),