This is a rather strange place to be.
As Flyer, my dog of nearly twelve years, continues the dying process, I know this chapter of Flyer and Me is coming to a close. I am also pondering the fact that a new beginning is at hand as I begin a chapter without my beloved companion.
Those who have dogs can understand, and appreciate this heaviness of heart. However, this is a bit more unique. What many may not recognize is that Flyer has been more than my companion. She’s been a fury little Florence Nightingale for a number of boys who have come into our lives as adopted sons, and as temporary foster sons waiting for their next assignment. Flyer always welcomed them, rubbed against them to encourage healing, soothed their anxieties, nudged their sagging spirits, romped with them, and loved them. She also aided me in making them feel secure, and that they actually belonged. Flyer was a fury angel that helped shed light into the darkness of lives of those who had never known anything but chaos, fear, rejection, and abandonment.
She has been more than just a family dog, or my little companion: Flyer’s been a miracle worker.
Several times, today, Flyer and I have ventured over to the front lawn of Fairmont High School. Her sagging body seems a bit rejuvenated, and even playful. But, it is becoming more and more obvious that the end is moving in. However, she was her ever patient self as she sat before the camera – one of her favorite things – while we took family photos on the front porch, masking our farewell process with forced smiles.
Flyer often accompanied me on walks without a leash, unless we were near heavy traffic, or near a group of people. A familiar phrase on our walks has been, “Stay with Daddy.” Tonight, when I uttered those words, I realized the phrase now means something entirely different.
Navi and Chief are anxious. Something is the air, and they are aware something is wrong with Flyer as she stands in the middle of a room, staring into something none of us can see. There seems to be a sense of fear shrouding Flyer… or, maybe it is just my mind imagining the fear for her.
Fortunately, the hectic weeks of preparing students for auditions, shows, concerts, contests, and other events, have subsided. The timing seems right that my usually busy schedule will have a lull as the signs of her imminent death become clearer.
It’s been a damned good life for Flyer… and for me. And God bless this fury little Father Flanagan that greeted, and loved, my sons as they entered our lives.
I know Flyer will always be with me, even as I commence a new chapter. But, oh, how I wish she could “stay with Daddy” for a bit longer…