Sunday, February 17, 2013

Farewell To A Faithful Companion...

I have put off writing this post for almost 2 weeks now.  Tomorrow it will be 2 weeks since we sent Finchy to the Rainbow Bridge.  Last Monday, his ashes came home.  It's not that I didn't want to write a tribute to him, it's just that doing so marks an end to an era.

About a year after we got the Chili Dawg, we realized he needed a companion to play with.  We began looking at animal shelters, but couldn't find the "right" companion.  Then, a co-worker mentioned that she knew of someone who didn't want their Boxer anymore and just wanted someone to take him off their hands.  We drove up to meet the dog, with Chili Dawg.  They seemed to get along pretty well, & as a bonus, they were pretty close in age- only 6 months apart.  And so, in pretty much the same manner as our acquisition of the Chili Dawg, we acquired Finchy, 2 pure bred dogs, both unwanted by their original owners, and both given to us for free.

We came to realize, early on, that Finchy had not had an easy life in his first year and a half.  His ears had teeth marks in them, he had a case of worms, he was terrified of thunderstorms and fireworks (he had been forced to live outside on a tieout- which for a Boxer with very little hair in IL, is not a good decision), and for the first year living with us, he was terrified of Ryan any time Ryan held a magazine or newspaper in his hand.  We tried to change his name, as the name Finch, didn't really appeal to us, but Finchy proved to be a stubborn dog and wouldn't come for any other name then Finch (or Finchy), and so we stuck with that name. 

Finchy was not the brightest Boxer.  Every spring, without fail, he would run into the screen door the first time it was there after the winter months were over.  We ended up having to replace the screen with pet screen, because he ended up going through it at one point.  He refused to learn the command, "lay down".  In order to get him to lay down, we had to say, "sit", and then "sit again".  Only then, would he lay down. 

He was the fastest dog I have ever met.  I refused to rollerblade with him, because I was afraid I would die.  Finchy didn't believe in pacing himself, like Chili Dawg would.  When we would take the dogs rollerblading, Finchy would take off like the devil was chasing him, and Ryan would get the ride of his life for the first half of the skate.  Then, Finchy would get tired, and Ryan would take the lead or end up carrying him home (yes, I am serious), while Chili and I finished it out- this is why it's good to pace yourself.  Finchy would chase a ball, squeaky toy, or frisbee until your arm gave out.  Then, he would bring it back to you until your other arm gave out, and he would still want to keep going.  He was the energizer bunny.

He was also the most sensitive dog that I have ever met.  He was a worrier.  He knew when Ryan was going out of town and would start to whine.  He knew when a thunderstorm was coming and would start to whine.  He was a worry-wart.  Whenever we left with Chili Dawg for the vet, he would whine and pace until we brought him home.  I think he knew Chili Dawg had cancer before we knew.

When Chili Dawg crossed the bridge, Finchy was lost.  He paced and he whined and he looked for his friend.  He turned gray fast.  I hadn't realized how quickly he turned gray until I looked at some pictures recently.  Finchy and Chili Dawg were like peanut butter and jelly.  You couldn't have one without the other.  They would lay with each other on the couch, or out in the yard, or on the floor.  It was hard for Finchy to move on without his brother.

When we got Buster, Finchy perked up a little bit.  He started to eat again and play again.  Some of the old spark came back, but Finchy was different.  Then, he got sick and the "c" word was mentioned.  I can't tell you how much I hate cancer.  Taking Finchy to the vet this last time and having him admitted for pancreatitis, Ryan asked me, "Do you think Finchy will come home this time?"  I wanted to be optimistic, but I wasn't.  When Ryan came home that Sunday after visiting hiim in the animal hospital, I saw it in his eyes too.  He knew Finchy wasn't coming home again, but we both wanted the last ditch blood test for Noah- who asked about him constantly. 

Monday night when we went to see Finchy for the last time.  He walked into the room and I could see it in his face.  His butt didn't even wiggle to see us (that's a signature Boxer move- sometimes called the jelly bean dance).  His nub of a tail moved just a bit.  He was panting heavily, because he hurt.  He couldn't figure out how to lay down, so Ryan helped him to lay down on the blanket they provided.  His legs were swollen and covered in strange bruises, and his abdomen was swollen.  We were told that they could send us to some specialists to figure out what was wrong with him, because they didn't know what else they could do.  Ryan and I didn't want to do that.  He was clearly telling us that he was hurting.  I told the vet that we wanted to end his pain, that it wasn't fair to let him suffer anymore.  We said our goodbyes to our special boy and then he was gone.  They let us stay with him as long as we wanted and then we went home. 

We had Chili Dawg for 8.5 of his 9.5 years, and we had Finchy for 9 of his 10 years.  I would like to think that Chili Dawg met him at the Rainbow Bridge and they are now back together again, the way they were meant to be.

Forever Running- 2009
Best Friends- 2011

December 2012

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”
John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog


  1. My heart hurts for you, Jenna.

  2. Fred The Beagle has both of them corraled at the bridge just like he used to do. Finchy was such a sweetheart. We will all miss him.

  3. I loved Finchy. He could play fetch for hours, and he was a great snuggler. He will be missed!