This is Fritz.
My favorite dog. My baby.
I was instantly smitten with him when I saw him at the breeders'. A chinky-eyed, cat-faced, brindle Chow Chow, neither fully cream nor cinnamon. Imperfect and unacceptable to the discriminating dog lover. But my heart went out even more when I saw that his tail was cut short - an accident, said the breeder. Fritz' mother had bitten off most of his tail trying to keep him from attacking his other littermates.
That was another thing. His temperament left much to be desired. He and another Chow were the only pups left in the brood and he was in a cage because he kept attacking his remaining sibling, who I would also end up bringing home with me.
I figured Fritz was the runt of the litter and was simply trying very hard to establish his place in the world. And I guess I fell in love with the feisty little bastard not despite – but because of – his many imperfections.
I suppose he acutely felt his shortcomings – at least as much as a dog might – because the need to establish dominance and gain total, undivided attention would turn out to be his primary personality trait. Fritz was fiercely possessive of me and would become insanely jealous if any of my other dogs tried to get a piece of my affection and attention.
For all his aggressiveness, Fritz became very affectionate, loving, and devoted to me. In return for being the most beloved, he defied his breed’s disinclination to please and became the most obedient of all my dogs. He would come to me at a single bidding, blue tongue out, truncated tail wagging. He loved licking my face as he leapt up into my arms each time I came home. He liked to lie flat-out like a furry rug at my feet while I worked, or sit by my side, keeping the other dogs at bay and keeping me all to himself.
Tough as he was with the other dogs, Fritz was the least sturdy of them all. He almost died of blood flukes at one point last year, limp and motionless one morning as I carried him outside to the patio. I stroked his fur and in between his labored breathing I whispered “Baby, don’t die. Daddy loves you.” By some miracle, he rallied later that morning, standing up like some canine Lazarus at the sound of my voice. And after three days’ confinement at the vet and lots of medicines, he made a full recovery.
Two days ago I knew he was coming down with something again because he looked listless and very sad. I feared a blood fluke relapse, but there had been no symptoms. He had been perfectly fine – turning over to offer his belly for a scratching, wrestling with his brother, and threatening my Sibe. In short, normal Fritz behavior.
The night before we confined him at the vet’s, I reached down and stroked his scruff as he sat quietly by my side while I worked. The way we’d done it countless times before.
If they knew/ All about you
They'd end up/ Loving you too
The thing about the last time is that you don’t always know when it will be the last time.
Fritz died of multiple organ failure at 10:45 a.m. today. He was just a little over 1 year and 4 months in human years.
His yaya went to visit him this morning and she said he took a couple of steps toward her before he collapsed. And then he was gone.
It was quick. He didn't suffer much.
If Fritz knew he was dying, then I know he was probably waiting for me to come and get him. But I was at a shoot and although somewhere in the back of my preoccupied mind I vaguely acknowledged the possibility that he might take a turn for the worse, I wasn't expecting it to be so soon.
But then again, it's often like that, isn't it?
My sweet little baby couldn’t wait for me any more, and so his yaya, instead, had the bittersweet privilege of watching him go.
Had we just a little more time, I would’ve wished he passed away at home.
In my arms.
Where he belonged.
Where he belonged.
Goodnight, Fritzi baby. I’m so sorry I couldn’t be there for you in the end. But I hope you know Daddy loves you very, very, very much.
And Daddy always will.