Faccia’s gentle passing

Today was the passing of our sweet little Faccia, the dog my daughter Monica adopted fourteen years ago.

Before time caught up with Faccia, she ran like the wind—the happiest, springiest dog on earth—so light on her feet . . . a joy to behold.

About two years ago Faccia’s hearing faded; gradually she slowed down, slept more, and walked less and less, just like an elder person in the last years. Her dog tag said, “THIS DOG IS DEAF.”

These past several months I have been watching Monica tenderly carrying Faccia around the yard like a baby. Her house looked more and more like a nursing home for elderly dogs. Yoga mats, blankets and pillows all over the floors to help prevent Faccia from slipping and to give her a soft place to land when her legs gave out . . . special easy-to-digest food . . . new raised dog dishes to made eating easier . . . barricades and fences so Faccia wouldn’t wander off and get disoriented or run over (one night a car backed over her, but somehow she was not injured) . . . special places to pee and poop . . . washing her when she messed on herself, just like an old person . . . Faccia waking up at night, crying and needing help to go to the toilet—just like an old person.

I said to Monica, half joking and half serious, “The way you take care of Faccia shows me how you might someday be taking care of me.”

Monica held Faccia during the night. We spent the morning quietly gathered around Faccia’s gently snoring body. Dr. Curtis Lewis, our longtime vet who has helped ease the end for many of our elder dogs, came to the house at noon.
Even though we knew the moment was coming, and we were ready, a flood of tears came . . .

Dr. Lewis is so kind and gentle . . . a few times Faccia raised her head . . . we watched the change . . . the final exhale . . . her passing was easy.

All afternoon, Faccia’s dear little doggy body rested under the kitchen table as usual, but her breath was no more.

In the late afternoon, Monica’s husband, Trevor, dug Faccia’s grave. As darkness fell, with the bright moon shining down, we gently returned her body to Mother Earth, deep under an oak tree.

Somewhere, somehow, I hope her spirit runs free.

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