You know how sometimes putting thoughts to word is good therapy? Well, I am writing this the day after my beloved Faye Faye passed away. I have just brought her home from the crematorium after a simple memorial service and now she is back with me, even though I can no longer see or hear her or even to have the pleasure of holding and hugging her one more time. Let’s be honest, one more time will never be enough and if I could turn back time, I would have liked to have her another additional twelve years. Death can be so cruel, taking those we love away from us silently, cruel in its ways and stealth.
So, who was Faye Faye? I speak of her as I would another human being or child and in a way yes she was my child but most of all she was “My Special Gift”. Faye Faye is my beloved Shitzu dog and for those who do not understand this special attachment, you would only understand it if you have been touched and loved by a very special dog in your life.
“Faye” as I call her for short was my birthday gift 12 years ago in Malaysia. I first saw her in a pet shop, she was the only one left of a litter and already 2 months old. Most people or pet owners consider a 2 month old pup to already be fairly old, but I was looking for a chest nut colored pup and Faye was black and white. After searching so many pet shops, I guess it was fate that brought me back to Faye and we took her home.
She was this cute, chubby little pup and it wasn’t hard to instantly fall in love with her. I put her on top of a short cabinet to reach for a brush to comb her long hair but in that split second in her friskiness, she jumped and fell from the cabinet. I thought she was a goner with a twisted neck and wobbly head but she bounced back just as frisky but with a permanent fear of height even if it is just on a sofa chair. A lesson she never forgot.
Her name “Faye Faye” also means “Fatty” in Chinese and she lived up to the name. Her love for food was insatiable and boy, did she love food. The sound of a rustling plastic bag would bring her bouncing over in anticipation and she loved human food more than regular dog food. She would even eat vegetables with rice and liked sour mango. Once while we were away, we wondered why she was hiding under the table and feeling guilty while refusing to come out. A walk into the kitchen we discovered her mischievous gluttony, she helped herself to a bag of uncooked rice grains by ripping open the bag and eating the uncooked rice grains ….. must have been her version of Rice Crispies!
Faye is full of antics and one of her favorites was playing hide and seek. I would hide and she would seek. If she could not find me, she would be whimpering in desperation and running from room to room calling out for me, probably thinking she lost me somewhere! In the last few months of her life, after she was diagnosed with heart disease, running and any exertions would make her breathless but nonetheless she still wanted her hide and seek games and enjoyed every one of them.
Faye spent 7 years in Malaysia with me and the last remaining 5 years in Thailand when I relocated back to Bangkok. By that time I had another toy Shitzu called Kher Ai and both Faye and Kher Ai were inseparable. Totally different in character where Kher Ai would be the one up to mischief and Faye the more level-headed of the two. Complete opposites, they were the best of friends. However, Faye held a very special place in my heart, in the 7 lonely years in Malaysia, she was the one constant.
When I was down, she would sit beside me, looking at me with those deep brown eyes as if to assure me that things would be okay because she is there. She licked my tears away when I cried, gave me her paws when I needed comforting and just sat by me when no words could express my sadness. She loved without condition and judgement. She was not only my companion but also my confidant, assuring me with a lick or her paws every now and then.
There was always the warmest greetings and happiest bark when I came home, even if I have only been out for five minutes. She hardly walked behind me or ahead of me but always beside me, if she occasionally walked a few ste
ps ahead of me she always turned back to make sure I was right behind her.
Faye’s love of food brought her running even when she was out of sight at the rustle of a plastic bag and there she would be sitting and shifting weight from foot to foot impatiently for a taste and bite. Showers were rewarded with a favorite cracker and her favorite food grew in an assortment of varieties. Not getting what she sometimes wanted brought tears to her eyes, similarly if she was reprimanded for being naughty.
She was the love of my life and 12 years went too fast. Three month before, she started panting very often and I brought her to the vet who diagnosed her with severe heart disease and a weakening heart. She was only 12 and aside from that, there were no other symptoms with regular monthly checkups. She was put on heart medication and for two months things seemed normal until she started to want to eat only a diet of vegetables.
Not thinking anything to be the problem until a few days later she stopped eating and starting vomiting and severe diarrhea. I rushed her to the vet who told me that her creatinine levels were too high by over 9 times and affecting the kidneys and heart. From here it was downhill all the way with glucose drips because she could no longer eat or drink. It was a daily affair to take her to the vet to get her drip, leaving in the morning and coming home in the late evenings in the hope of reducing the creatinine levels. By this time, she was constantly vomiting with severe diarrhea and her weight kept dropping.
In the final week, the results showed no improvement and increased further which meant her kidneys have failed 75% and she was not doing well but getting weaker by the day. Her paws were swollen and infection set in due to the IV needles but she hung on. It was hard to accept the truth that Faye was dying and even harder to have to let her go.
This last night on the 11th November 2016 at 8.00pm I held Faye for the last time in my arms. Two nights prior to this, she wanted to sleep by the door and now I understand what it meant. She tried to get up and go to toilet as she always did but could no longer stand, her legs gave way. I carried her in my arms and she looked into my eyes. I told her that if she was too tired it was okay to go, I will understand. She looked at me all the while and her heart slowed down and became irregular. Within a few minutes she was gone. My heart broke to a million pieces, my beloved Faye had died in my arms. Right up to the very end she had placed her love and trust in me, tried to give me all her love one last time. I felt like my whole world has crashed and I have lost a very dear child that no words can aptly describe this sorrow.
As I have said, few would understand this if you have not been touched in love by just such a special dog.