When Jess and I first started dating, the dogs were… maybe not suspicious, but at least a little wary of me. After all, I was a strange new human who’d suddenly entered their lives. A human who didn’t appreciate them hogging all of the bed, was taking up far too much of their mom’s time, and who didn’t really know to interact with dogs beyond the theoretical. Wariness was not only understandable, it was fully justified.
But Fozzie was never that way with me.
He was the first of our trio to really take a shine to me. I like to joke that Fozzie and I are both more cat-like: we like our space and quiet, and don’t require a lot of attention. This made us fast pals. But when Fozzie did want affection and pets, he would come to me. I can’t count the number of times that I would be doing something and would feel his intense gaze staring up at me from the floor. Or see him stand up and slap his gigantic front paws on the footstool, as if to say, “hello friend I am ready for a belly rub.”
Fozzie passed away last weekend. Thanks to Lap of Love, he was able to do so quietly and peacefully in our backyard — one of his favorite places to explore — in his favorite bed, surrounded by the people who loved him. We spent the days leading up to Sunday smothering him in attention (even though he slept for much of it), and giving him all the food he wanted to eat (he was particularly enamored with bacon) and all the greenies he could stomach. We had Fozzie for seven months longer than we’d expected, thanks to the amazing care provided by Dr. Okonkowski at MedVet. We thought of these as bonus months. During this time Fozzie experienced some of the happiest times of his life. He got to go to the beach again. He was more affectionate and demanding of attention than ever before. We were only too happy to oblige.
If I have any regrets it’s that I only got to know Fozzie for the last four years of his very long life (19 years). I would have loved to see Fozzie as a tiny terror of a puppy, with paws as big as his face. So sure, more years would have been great, but the four years I did have with my beloved Elder Dog were beyond great — they were life-alteringly good. I am grateful to have had them and that I was able to know such a good, sweet boy. I’ll treasure those four years for the rest of my life.
Fozzie, we love you and miss you. See you on the other side, buddy bear.