In Memory of Phoenix

Goodbye, My Friend
A Tribute to Phoenix
May 14, 2010

A curiosity seeker, a little Bichon Frise went on vacation to Clearwater, Florida back in March 2000. He took off exploring on his own only to find himself lost somewhere off US 19. He found his way to a kind woman’s house and barked and sniffed for her attention. He got her attention, and she turned him in to Poodle Rescue on March 14, 2000.

I had friends at Poodle Rescue and went to see this little guy to evaluate him and see if I could assist in finding him a home. I worked a lot, so I knew I couldn’t take him. Right.

I went to see this little boy, who was a skinny flea bag and who was described by the others as a “barker.” He yelped and yelped and barked and barked like there was no tomorrow. We made eye contact and for some reason I had a feeling he was barking TO me, not AT me.

I took him home for a “trial,” while I pondered where I could find him a home. After a quiet ride home (about 20 miles), I got a bowl of water for my new friend. He promptly lapped it up, took a few runs through the house and hopped on my couch, as if to say, “Okay, I’m home. Now what?”

Needless to say, he stayed. He was NOT a barker; quite the opposite. He was the quietest little dog I had ever encountered. Our first trip outside was a success, and he never had an accident in the house. He instantly learned the “going out” door, and would pounce on it when he had his urges. His appetite was good. He checked out as “a-okay” at the vet in Tampa, Dr. Allison Swank,

Thus began our journey of love and friendship. He was my constant companion, my friend and confidante.

I grew used to his ways and he to mine. He adjusted lovingly to crate-training, and used his crate as his den sometimes when I was home. Perfect in every way, he greeted my returns home with enthusiasm, loud barking and dancing. Once our “hellos” were complete, he settled into a quiet homebody – just like me.

I grew accustomed to this greeting. I never realized how wonderful the greeting was until it was silenced, today.

Today, I helped my best friend hop onto the Rainbow Bridge. Cancer had riddled his chubby little body. He fell quietly asleep in my arms. I held one hand over his eyes and the other on his chest, and felt his heart still. My friend was moving on. I cuddled him for a while, tears heavier than I have ever cried. I lifted his body into the awaiting basket of the crematory. I carried the basked to the transport vehicle, placed him inside, uncovered his face one more time for a quick kiss, and one more sniff of the paws that always smelled like popcorn. I watched the vehicle as it drove my friend out of sight, my heart waving goodbye.