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Goodbye, Finn

When we brought you home from the shelter, eight years ago, you were very timid. I'm not sure what your former owners did to you, other than abandon you, but it took you a while to trust that you were with us to stay. After a few weeks, you began to play, and give us kisses, and you loved our walks around the neighborhood. You were the prettiest dog on the block; everyone said so. When our down-the-street neighbor said, "You're doing a great job with her, she's come a long way," I was filled with pride for you.

One night you ran away from home. We looked for you for hours, up and down the streets of downtown Durham, and then went home, bereft. At 3 a.m. we heard a wild barking at the front door, and there you were, covered in mud and wagging all over. I don't know if you were so happy because of your romp or because you'd managed to find your way home.

We loved you so much we decided to get another dog just like you. What we ended up with was Zack. Zack was in every way your pesky little brother. He was faster and stronger, but you were smarter, and you were eternally stealing his food and taking away his bones. You two got into snarling wrestling matches at least once a day, but there were other times when you would, in unison, run across the yard together just for the joy of it. There was nothing more beautiful than those two flashes of white fur against the green grass.

I took you to obedience school; you did not graduate at the top of the class. You learned most of the commands, but in a half-hearted way. You were stubborn and independent and clearly did not see the point in sitting for a biscuit; you knew that eventually I'd give you the biscuit anyway. Similarly, any time I threw a ball for you to fetch you'd look at where it landed, look back at me, and lay down, as if to say, Why should I run after something you just threw away? On the other hand, you had me well-trained: Every time you went to the back door to go out, you'd stop right at the threshold until I gave you a treat. I don't think you every crossed the doorway without a biscuit in your mouth.

You had a purple cow with a crazy-sounding squeaker that was your very favorite thing.

The four or five times we got a really good snowfall, you were in heaven.

You lost a lot of attention when the girls came along, but you never seemed to mind. You loved the girls due to their habit of dropping food around the house, and you were so patient with them, enduring fur-pulling and attempted pony rides with nary a twitch or a growl.

You always picked the worst spot to lay down in -- in front of the refrigerator, at the very bottom of the stairs, right behind the kitchen chair someone was sitting in.

And then you got sick, and then you got sicker. We could see that you weren't getting much pleasure out of life anymore. A night or two ago, I found you laying in the grass. I asked you if you wanted to come inside, and you thumped your tail once and sighed, as if to say, "I'd like to follow you, but it's gotten too hard." This morning, you barked -- a weak, frightened bark -- every time I left your sight. I think you were saying, Stay with me. Help me.

So I helped you the only way I knew how. I sat with you on the deck and stroked your head. I fed you crusts of toast and Snausages and popcorn. Then I took you to the vet and I stayed with you until you were gone.

"You did the right thing," the vet said. I'm not sure. I wonder if you would have preferred hanging around for a while longer. But Chris and I decided that we'd rather let you go a day or two too early than have you linger here, hurting, for too long.

We'll miss you, Finn. We'll miss your fluffy tail and your pretty brown eyes and especially your funny roo-roos. I hope you're in a place now where you can have all the biscuits you want, and a nice spot to nap in, and someone to scratch your chest in just the right spot all day long. You're a good, good girl.


aimee said…
I'm so so sorry. I can't see the screen because of the tears, because I know. Dogs are good, good souls. Finn was such a great dog. I love you all and big hugs from us.
Anonymous said…
I'm so sorry, Krista. How hard that had to be. The moment that I saw the title, I started crying for you and Chris and the girls because I know how much you all loved Finn and how much you will miss her.

MomofK9s said…
There is really nothing I can say. I will miss Finn so much on my spur of the moment weeknight visits. I remember when I saw her at the shelter. I remember being so happy that you rescued her. I remember Finn and Chloe at the Canine Good Citizen Dogs in the Building shindig. I have that picture on my desk. Finn is at the rainbow bridge with sophie and zack. she doesn't hurt anymore, she is happy and healthy and watching over all of you, knowing how much you loved her and how happy you made her and the reverse...
Chris said…
She really was our first kid, in a lot of ways. I absolutely didn't want a dog at the time, but gave in and was ultimately glad I did. It's easy to forget how much we spoiled her at first...she was the only object of our attention for a good while, getting brushed and walked every single night, getting to snuggle with us on the couch. Eating popcorn with me at night. I still remember when she ran off that night in Durham. It really was like we had lost a child. I still can't believe the utterly insane and dangerous parts of town I walked around trying to find her, pointlessly shouting her name over and over. On the pitch black railroad tracks, up and down the busiest street in Durham, in parts of town where I didn't even like going during the day. And then going home worried and dejected, not being able to sleep. Then there she was, at the back door, tail wagging as if nothing had happened. She was such a sweet, gentle soul...she didn't deserve any of this. Goodbye, Finny Finn. I love you. You truly were a member of this family. Thanks for all the kisses and unconditional love, and sorry for all the times I yelled at you for peeing on the rug. And eating Mallory's crayons. And so on. There'll never be a better dog than you. And now, I'm crying.

H Noble said…
I'm sorry guys. You did do the right thing, but that doesn't make it easier. They are a part of our families, especially when they are the first child.

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