Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Saying Goodbye

A few weeks ago, we took Paco Sinatra the Wonder Dog up to Mendocino. Rescued from a beach in Mexico, my love's devoted partner for the last several years, a dog who's sailed, crossed borders, chased cats and raccoons as if chasing them was his only purpose in life, this is a dog with his own business cards offering spiritual and emotional solace. When you look at pictures from his human's job sites, Paco's always in at least one or two of them. When I was going through a breakup, my soon-to-be-love offered to lend Paco to me for help in getting through it. And when my love has been out of town, I would sometimes lie in bed with Paco, his head on my shoulder, and we'd miss our man together. Some of my happiest memories from last summer were of lying on the grass with my new sweetie and Paco, in the sun, watching the glittering waves.

Anyway, we took Paco to Mendocino, and stopped for him on hwy 128, in the heart of the redwood forest. He was so happy, running through the ferns, chasing sticks, nosing around like he was in a new candy shop. Later there were beaches, and more sticks, and tennis balls. He's good at letting the waves bring him the stick when we throw it too far into the surf. He's no dummy.

We've known he's been sick for a few weeks now, first I just thought he was fat - too much eating from the barbeques that people around here throw once a weekend. Then we thought he was just constipated, watching his defecations like a mother worried about her baby. Then I thought he had a bowel obstruction and nagged at the man to go see a vet. Worry for him clogged the air around sweetie and I, even when we tried to be cheerful and upbeat. That worry was always there. But on the trip, in that forest, he seemed to perk up, and that perked us up, a bit. Thinking that maybe he would be OK, after all.

After a few doctor visits, we thought he had a tumor on his spleen, and had to have his spleen removed. So, we threw a fundraiser party last weekend for the people who love him, and we raised more money than we ever dreamed we would. The generosity and kindness of the people around Paco - and by extension, us, as his humans - moved us to tears. Still does.

But, two days after that lovefest, we found out that he has a terminal autoimmune disease that's destroying his kidneys and that there's nothing to do for him except make him more comfortable as nature takes its course.

This dog is laid back like no other dog I've ever met, with eyes like a person and crooked ears that always reminded us of the Blue Dog pictures they sell all over the place in New Orleans. We were going to dress him up as Blue Dog for Halloween, but now he won't see Halloween.

I think the best feeling in the world is to have a dog running towards me, tail wagging in greeting, and it's a feeling I haven't had since my childhood dog died when I was 15, until I met Paco.

I am SO glad we brought him to Mendocino.

Go well, sweet Paco.

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