Feste, the dog our family has belonged to for the past 15 years, died today. In my life, I have never loved, or appreciated, or learned so much from a dog as I have Feste.
I was lucky to belong to Feste.
Feste, a Coton de Tulear [tippy title=”(…)”]The Coton de Tuléar is a breed of small dog. It is named for the city of Tuléar in Madagascar and for its cotton-like coat. See: Coton de Tulear in Wikipedia[/tippy], lived a long, loving and healthy life. In the end, his body started shutting down, as all of our bodies will one day. Great vets and modern medicine helped extend the time his heart and lungs worked well, so we were able to live with him for the maximum possible period. But during the past few days, post-holidays, he began to visibly decline and suffer from what we’ve learned was renal failure. As he is within a few months of being 15 (100+ in human years) and has lived with such good health for so long, our primary desire was to prevent him from suffering and so we’ve spent the past day weeping for his loss, yet celebrating the joy he brought our lives.
Feste was my rock — he loved me, no matter what. He was never disappointed in me, even when I was. Feste was all the proof I need that certain dogs provide magical therapeutic power through their gentleness, friendliness and willingness to be petted and handled by anyone, no matter what their age.
Feste was a lover; an expert companion dog, knowing precisely how close to snuggle up to someone on the sofa — even learning different family member’s preferences for how they liked to pet or scratch. He loved to be petted for as long as possible, but was never demanding when you decided it was time to turn the page of a book or stop due to the cramping of your fingers.
And, as is displayed on the accompanying photo, he wrote most of the posts on this blog.
My wife, always Feste’s favorite by any measure, has anticipated this day longer than I have. Feste loved my wife more than any dog I’ve known has loved a human. Every time she would mention the inevitability of Feste’s death, I would quickly change the subject and say something like, “Let’s just love him today and appreciate every moment he’s with us.” While doing that, her practical side would also kick-in — denial is not my wife’s strong-suit.
A few weeks ago, my wife told me that she had been in contact with the breeder who allowed [tippy title=”(…)”]after an interview and careful screening[/tippy] Feste to join our family. My wife, when recounting the recent phone conversation, used the word “puppies” in a sentence. It was then I knew that she was anticipating this day with the type of understanding that only she and Feste truly shared.
Their way of preparing for this day, I guess.
Today, however, my family has weeped for Feste’s loss and smiled as we thought about all the joy he brought us.
And we thanked God for letting us live with Feste for the past 15 years.
Below are just a few of my favorite photos of Feste.