Farewell to Fritzie - By Cosette Sprague

Copyright Wagsmore Dachshunds 2010

I write this column for Fritzie.

For all of us who have ever lost a beloved companion.
For Rose with her understanding heart.
And for a compassionate woman who answered my call.
This morning we made a tiny wooden box. We wrapped Fritzie in my old blue
flannel nightgown that he loved to snuggle with, placed all of the toys that he chased
through life around him, and we buried him under The Hummingbird Oak.

The heart of our home is gone.
Fritzie, our little friend, is dead.
We no longer need to burn the lamps brightly after twilight for a small dog who is nearly blind.
Or wash the noseprints off of the walls that he followed.
My sign language will fall in to disrepair, no diminutive person who is deaf is here any more.
I can open the doors and the windows during the winter now. The little boy who was always cold lies outside under The Hummingbird Oak.
His blanket can be folded and put back in the closet and the bottles of pills can be thrown away.

We have said our final farewells.
We have committed him back to the endless cycles.
We carefully replaced the disturbed soil and patted the green grasses in place. No one but us will ever know that a lovely dog with a shining soul is buried here.

He slept curled beside me the night before he died - I cradled him in my arms and rocked him and told him over and over how much we loved him. I held him closely while his heart stopped.

And I was cold, so cold, the night before he died. He shivered in pain and I nearly froze.

I think of all the years we shared, and of how quickly they flew by.
Sixteen seems far too few. Would 20 then have been enough?

I think not.

For all of us that have ever cherished a beloved companion, I feel certain no number of years would be sufficient.
If only our life together was just beginning.

In my minds eye I don't see him old, gray, and arthritic. I see him young and beautiful, his glossy red coat reflecting the sun. He had a tail that never stopped wagging, and ears that flapped when ever he'd run. He was a perfect specimen of a miniature dachshund.

His eyes mirrored a shining soul. He was sweet and kind and a gentleman through and through.
His registered name was Herr Fritzel Von Witzel but we called him Fritz or Fritzie, Mr. W or Fritzie Witzie. He wasn't fussy . He always knew just who we meant.

He loved tearing open birthday packages, snooping into grocery sacks, old slippers, chasing squirrels, digging holes, donuts, home, his toys and us.  He was a truly loving disposition, he was happy all of his life.  How empty the house is - as if all the love has been withdrawn. How could one small dog fill so much space?

And I want you to know that he is gone.

I can see him in mental images. In photographs of the heart. Thousands of scenes come to mind, all tied now with ribbons and stored in my brain.  A picture from his puppyhood of one, two pound baby dachshund following along beneath the hem of my bathrobe, helping me prepare our family's breakfast.  Another of him chasing his yellow tennis ball for hours, stretching out and running free. No crippled joints or aching spine. Stretched out and running free.

Or learning to swim in the American River, his floppy ears afloat, steering with his wagging tail.  Standing strong and steady across Nelson's shoulders, "engineering" in The Little Red Pickup.  Eating the ends of our ice cream cones, and tugging the wallet out of my purse when we pulled up in front of Baskin Robbin.

Guarding his Christmas presents under the tree each year, and joyfully nosing into his Christmas stocking.

Seems from the very earliest days when we all were youths. Sledding together in the snow, rock climbing, picnic hikes and scuba diving.  In my minds eye he is forever young. Stretching out and running free.

Why, oh why, did the years have to fly? Fritzie, our beloved friend, is gone. He lies now in a wooden box, buried beneath The Hummingbird Oak, on the other side of the sliding glass doors from our bed.

Below him the stream croons soft lullabies. The path of the wild ones winds at the water's edge and skirts around The Iris Pond.  The iron - Pink boulder where the Mourning Doves perch is at his head, and the limbs of The Hummingbird Oak arch protectively down.  Wildflowers will soon blanket his grave and the native grasses will sway with the breeze and shade the site.

The birds will sing all day. The Deer browse at night, and the Squirrel constantly scampers by.

And, we are here.

No more pills and tests and sterile needles. No more stainless steel examination tables. No more strokes. No more seizures. No more fear and stark confusion.  No more aimless, restless pacing. No more puzzled, lost expressions. No more eyes that hurt but can't see. No more dying inch by inch.

Fritzie now can finally rest.

Is it worth the grief and hurt to love these beloved companions?  I can't answer that question yet. It's much too soon, the pain too raw.

This much, however, I can tell you.  Better the terrible pain than never to have known our Fritzie at all.

But, how I miss him.

Forever is such a long long time. I didn't want to say goodbye.