Thursday, November 23, 2006

so long, old bear

This week we said goodbye to Fritz, our faithful pal of 14 years. He had been struggling more and more of late, but when I arrived home from work on Monday it was apparent that he had taken a turn for the worse. When I described his head-bobbing dizziness, glazed-eyed look and inability to keep even a few licks of water down, the vet was sure he had suffered the canine equivalent of a stroke, and there seemed little hope that his condition would do anything but deteriorate. So after a few hours of procrastination I whistled him up for a last walk - little more than a trembling shuffle to the end of the block and back - and we headed off to the animal clinic to do what needed to be done.

Today is Thanksgiving, though, so rather than dwell on the sadness of the events of that night, I'd rather remember all the reasons I'm thankful that Fritz came by and stuck around for so long. Like the way he used to leap from the ground into my little white pick-up through the open window, anxious to embark on any new adventure. Or how on walks it wouldn't be uncommon for strangers to stop and comment on his regal, prancing gait and expressive ears. I loved the amazing, almost otherworldly silkiness of his coat the day after a bath that turned simply petting him into a strange, glorious intoxicant. And like me, he was always eager to throw himself into any body of water that presented itself... even on the bitterest winter days he would dive into the creek to flush a goose and finish our hike with icicles dangling from his fur.

He was a dog loved by many, and named by many too. Fritz was the name given to him at the animal shelter, but to Kim he was the playful, Fritty-Cat. More recently, characterized by his arthritic hips and graying beard, he took to the moniker, Old Bear. Eduardo, a Oaxacan cook who worked at MF, couldn't get the 't-z' to work around his accent and settled with Fricks, which didn't seem to offend. When he lived with my parents while Kim & I were in Europe for the summer of '93, my dad called Fritz lots of names. Few of them are publishable here where decent folk read. I mostly just called him Pups. By whatever name, he was a great friend and earned every tear that was shed for him in the last hours of November 20, 2006. So long, Old Bear. And Thanks.

1 comment:

  1. Oh no! Dear Fritz. Even though I didn't like you the first time I met you (you were too wild and jumpy for me in your puppy stage), I always loved you after that. I will miss seeing you when I visit, and your passing has made your friend in the Loire shed a few tears.

    Hope the hunting is good where you've gone.