I had a completely different topic in mind to write about today, but recent events would cause me to shift gears a little.
Earlier this week, we lost a family pet. Our dog, a Bichon Frise named Frosty, died unexpectedly. Frosty had been part of our family for more than 14 years, having been the faithful companion of my in-laws for most of her life, and "adopted" by us for the latter part.
In 1996, my mother-in-law brought home this cute little ball of fur. Despite her hatred of the cold, mom thought it appropriate to name her new puppy after the renowned fictional snowman.
Frosty was always an odd little dog, which seemed appropriate since she had a noticeable, yet insignificant birth defect that caused one floppy ear to be smaller than the other. Among her oddities was her penchant for using shoes as a pillow, preferring to put her entire snout inside the shoe. She also followed mom around everywhere and would sniff under closed doors to find her.
After my father-in-law passed away and mom was no longer able to care for her, Frosty became part of our home. That was about three years ago. When Frosty first came to live with us, our Schnauzer, Angel, was not happy. We endured a few weeks' worth of territorial battles before the two dogs seemed to settle and accept that they would be sharing a home and a family. Soon they would become best buds, sharing a pet bed, toys, and companionship. They were very playful with one another and often would engage in W.W.E.-like dog battles for the attention of family members.
Frosty quickly went from a regular visitor to a full-fledged member of the family. Suddenly mom's dog became our dog. And the kids talked about both of their pets with great pride. Both were treated equally and with a lot of love. And they loved the family right back.
Frosty's loss was not shocking: She was an old dog and we knew that at 14, she probably didn't have a lot of time left. But she continued to live her life with great enthusiasm and even rambunctiousness in her senior years. On the evening of her passing, she greeted the family with her usual zeal showing no signs of what was to come. And, sadly, about an hour later, she was found lying on the floor unresponsive.
"I remember the exact time it happened," was the comment my daughter made to me the next day as she recounted exactly what had occurred the previous night. Unfortunately, I decided to hit the gym after work that night and was not home when "it happened." I got the call and rushed home. I walked in the door to find Frosty lying in the middle of the floor in her pet bed with my son kneeling next to her showering her with his tears, my daughter inconsolable on the couch after witnessing Frosty taking her last breaths, and my husband standing over everyone with a helpless look. Our Schnauzer was trying hopelessly to rouse Frosty to play.
We buried Frosty that night in our backyard. We laid her to rest in her familiar and cozy pet bed, draped in a blanket with two dog treats for her journey. With kisses and prayers, we said goodbye.
For a dog, 14 years is a long life. I keep reminding myself and the kids that Frosty also lived a happy one. We are thankful that the end came quickly and she did not appear to suffer. Nonetheless, her loss is truly felt. None of us can imagine life without Frosty.
Rest in Peace little doggie. Thanks for 14 years' worth of memories.