Peachy and Fritzy

Christmas Eve, 1997, my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer, with surgery scheduled two weeks later. Mother, having already been ill for a few years, became critically ill the day after Christmas and was rushed to the hospital. She was put on life support and remained on it for 11 days. Dad’s doctors decided to postpone his surgery until it was determined if mother would survive or not. She did survive that bout and dad had his surgery. Over the next three years, my dad was in and out of the hospital with multiple complications and surgeries. Mother couldn’t be alone at home and I couldn’t be in two places at once. I had no choice but to put mother in a nursing home for a while.

My home was over 200 miles away, so I was gone from home for weeks at a time. Most of the time I took my two little dogs with me on these trips. Peachy was a female Maltese/Pom mix and her little son, Fritzy, was a red Pom. They were such good company for me and the residents at the nursing home loved their visits.

In 1999, I developed a problem that required surgery, cancer was found. However, it was small and easily removed by the surgery and did not require follow-up treatments. In 2000 my mother passed away. My dad spent the next six months mourning and recuperating from his physical problems. During this time of calm with my family, my mother-in-law passed away and both my little dogs were diagnosed with heart murmurs that required daily medication. Our younger son married two months after my mother passed away and in 2001 our older son found that he couldn’t live without the love of his life when she had to return home to Japan after getting her degree. He moved to Japan to marry her, leaving his large American Shepherd with us, for a year. Loki and our son had been inseparable for years prior to this move, but Loki knew us. Peachy would fight a buzz saw and she would take Loki on when he played too rough. Loki was four times her size, but she always made him back off.

My dad’s health began to deteriorate again and I was called back at all hours of the day and night and in all kinds of weather conditions. I often took my little dogs with me and left Loki to keep my husband company. But as each year passed, Peachy and Fritzy became more frail and ill, and would not be good for them to be constantly uprooted. I missed them so much when they didn’t go with me. They had been my mainstay through all this and were so comforting and happy to see me when I would get back to the house. They had been my balance in the nightmare of all my dad’s illnesses. They would snuggle me when I couldn’t do anything but cry, they were ready to play when we had good days, and they were always good for a laugh when I needed one most. They were a real gift for me during all that time.

At 11 years old, Peachy’s health was very frail and she had begun having what I thought were heart attacks during the nights. I was called back to my dad’s when two mornings later the phone rang, my dad answered, and I heard him say he would tell me. I walked in the room and he said that was my husband calling. He had asked my dad to tell me that Peachy had a very bad night and he had taken her to the vet first thing that morning. They had to put her down, for her sake, and my husband and the vet both cried.

One of the times I was home after that, I saw a little silver toy poodle running across a very busy street in our town, at the busiest time of day. How he managed to not get hit by a car I will never know. I followed him and finally caught him. He had no collar and was obviously in bad shape and scared to death. When no one claimed him from an ad in the paper, we decided to keep him. I wasn’t emotionally ready to “replace” Peachy, but there didn’t seem to be a choice. God was handing me a gift wrapped in silver fuzz, and I was reluctant to take it. What a gift he turned out to be, because four months later Fritzy died in my arms from a heart attack while I was driving him to the vet. We named the little poodle Skippy due to a limp he had. Skippy required surgery on both his knees to fix a birth defect. It was also obvious that he had been abused by some male because he would freak out when a man was around, even my husband. After Skippy’s second knee surgery, my husband picked him up from the vet and that was the turning point for them. It was as if Skippy felt my husband had rescued him and he no longer feared him. Skippy and I made a few trips back to my dad’s at times. A few months after we lost Fritzy, we felt Skippy needed a companion and I bought a little chocolate poodle from a local breeder. Skippy and Kokoa became inseparable. Loki developed a tumor on his spine and within three days lost all control and mobility from his midsection down. He had to be put down about a year after Fritzy died. My dad passed away in 2005 and my life made a 180 degree turn to a calm existence.

There were many good times through those eight years of nightmare, but most times were not. I’m not sure I would have made it through if not for my little dogs. During that last five years we lost my mother, mother-in-law, my dad, and three very beloved dogs. After each death, parent or pet, a numb fog settled over me for days. I finally went into a very deep depression, and I was angry, hurt, lonely, and desperate for something to hold on to. I sought out counseling for a few weeks which helped me come to terms with everything and get my feet back under me. On the other side of all this, we experienced many blessings in gaining two wonderful daughter-in-laws to our family who have now given us three amazing little grandsons, and two special little poodles. Our son who lost Loki now has a beautiful, smart black lab adopted from the local shelter, whom is very protective of and loving to their little son.
I learned and gained so many things through those eight years. I experienced the “Cycle of Life” up close and personal. I learned to live, and love and cherish what and who you have while you have them, and to let go when the time is right. I gained an inner peace I never thought I would find. We lost parents and gained precious little grandsons. We lost very special little dogs I loved so much who were there for me when I needed them only to gain new special little four legged fuzzy lap warmers. All they ask of us besides nourishment, is a pat on the head, a snuggle at times, a lap to keep warm, a trash truck to bark at, a yard to guard and a treat at times. Kokoa won’t take his treat until he gives you a kiss first. Skippy and Kokoa both have heart murmurs now at much younger ages than Peachy and Fritzy, and we know our time with them is limited, but we don’t think about that, we just return the love they give us daily.

Taylor from TX