Saturday, September 6, 2008

Losing a Friend

My dog died yesterday. I don't know what caused her sudden death. On Wednesday I took her to the vet to be spayed. She was groggy on Wednesday evening and didn't want to eat anything. That seemed normal after having major surgery. She doesn't usually like the dried food too much even when she is feeling perky. So after school on Thursday I stopped at the store and bought her "comfort food"... a can of wet dog food: beef chunks in sauce. She gobbled it up. That evening she seemed to have more pep and was up on her feet and moving around almost like normal. The incision looked good. In the morning I gave her some more of the wet food and went to school. When I came home, she was dead. (!)

Her name is Flaquita. It means skinny little girl. We kind of "acquired her accidentally". Last February I would come home everyday to find this skinny, mangy, pinkish dog laying at my gate. She could hardly move because she was malnourished and sick with worms and mange and fleas and ticks. I thought that I would surely come home and find a dead dog at my gate each evening, but she hung in there. I wondered at what point is a dog "beyond hope". Would feeding her just prolong her inevitable death? After four or five days I decided to start feeding her. She was hesitant at first, not sure she could trust me, but she ate the food. And remarkably she grew stronger within a week. Sulmi started calling her "Skinny".

I took her to the vet where she got the rabbies, worms and mange shots. That helped a lot! It was only a few weeks before she started growing hair: white hair with black spots, like a dalmation.

Flaquita quickly learned to come to her name and our voices. She eagerly greeted us and smothered us with kisses. She never bit and faithfully barked whenever a stranger passed the gate or came into the yard.

She had some faults, though. She loved to dig. It's hot here in Belize. Today it's high of 95 degrees in the shade. Flaquita learned that digging the top layer of the dirt revealed a cooler underlayer and made a nice cool place to rest. The best place to dig was where the soil was already tilled: my garden! To her credit she actually did not dig up the plants... but tossed a lot of dirt all around on top of the plants. We bought some sand and made a sandbox for her. She found the sand was easier to dig and in a shady place. It was a great substitute for garden digging...most of the time.

I miss her soft black nose. She liked to press it against my face or arm or hand. It wiggled a little when she touched me. She liked to take walks down our street. She always stayed close and sort of pranced as she walked. Luis liked to hug her. She would come right up to him and he would grab her by the neck and hug her close and kiss her face. She just wagged her tail and licked him.

We'll miss her. I felt so sad last night. I was trying to decide to go ahead or cancel Girl's Night Bible study. I decided to go ahead with it because I didn't want to just sit at home and cry all night. But I couldn't study scripture. (?) I couldn't find comfort in scripture. I wanted to, but it didn't help. I wanted to see and hold and pet "my baby girl", and the words were too distant, too contextually different. Sigh.

This isn't particularly "hope-filled" or even the words I "should be" typing. But maybe it will make me more sensitive to the next time someone loses a loved one... that reading scripture to them just may not cut it.

I pray for the peace of God which passes all understanding,


  1. Sorry to hear about your dog passing. A good canine companion is a true earthly joy. I hope you find some peace in your faith and some friends just to sit with you as you grieve the loss.



  2. Ay Nancy--
    I've been really out of touch w/ many of my long-distance friends lately, but think of you and the girls and all the kids every day. I just stopped by your blog tonight to catch up and am so sorry to hear about Flaquita. What a sweet rescued blessing she was, and it must have been heart-breaking to find her so suddenly gone like that. She was such a happy girl. I hope new joys find you soon, even as you all miss her. Hugs to all