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  • Writer's pictureKathy Stockbridge

People, Let Me Tell Ya About My Best Friend

I would like to introduce you all to my best friend, Fenway. Mr. Fenny as we call him. He was a rescue pup and we were told he was around 8 months old when we got him back in 2010, but the vet felt he may have been older so we'll placed him around 1-2 at that time. I'll never forget the first time I saw him. He was being fostered out in Clinton on a farm, and as I got out of my car, he bounded around the house to me and greeted me with the most jovial smile and energy. He jumped in the car not even hesitating for a moment. He was regal!!! Such a handsome boy!!! And ready to go home with us!!!

He was much bigger and more active than our ole gal, Amy, a cockapoo who we had for years. Upon his welcome, she quickly laid down the law establishing dominance, and he would cower to her. She ruled the roost. It was quite comical as she was all of maybe 10lbs soaking wet and he was clearly a larger stronger younger pup. But he knew who was boss, and he was respectful to that always.

He was super no time flat we trained him to sit, stay, shake, and search. He even learned how to retrieve a Mt. Dew for Zach...until he punctured it and it sprayed all over the dining room. That was a short lived trick...but he learned it. He was finicky when it came to people and we couldn't tell who he would like or not like so his socialization was limited. One time he nipped at a friend of mine that was visiting from Michigan as she entered the house. We think it was because she was a Michigan fan and Zach was a Buckeye fan...could never really prove that theory though. Yeah..socializing with others was not his strong suit. But he clearly did like me. Fenny quickly established himself as my dog. He followed me everywhere and was my protector. He also loved all of my son's friends, and my friend and neighbor, Christine. A select few were allowed in his immediate circle, and that was okay with me because I knew he had my back and I was safe. I was newly single at that time and decided to take a break from relationships until my son got older, so he was the man in my life. I knew no matter what happened, he would always protect me. We would go on walks and runs together (as I would jog back then) and he never really got the hang of it sadly. We trained and trained but his sheer strength and lack of control when seeing a squirrel took me on many pavement surfing expeditions until I just didn't have enough skin to spare any more (and my shoulder said enough is enough ole lady) and gave up with his accompanying me. Living in a city, it was impossible for me to allow him off the chain but he had a long lead and would run back and forth in the front yard chasing squirrels up the large tree. Soon a pendulum of grass was worn thin as he chased kids riding bikes by, or dogs as they walked by on their nightly jaunt. He loved his new friend next door, Roxie and their leads would extend close enough to sniff each other and visit.

We lost our dear Amy a short time after Fenny came to us and the quiet in the house was deafening to both my son and I so we soon brought home another rescue. Flora came to live with us and the poor thing was feral. She didn't trust humans at all and she was terrified. The minute we introduce Mr. Fenny to her though, she perked up and decided this place couldn't be so bad with another dog here and began the slow process of trusting us. Until she finally felt safe, he lead her to what she needed to do and was the best brother to her and kept her safe to.

Mr. Fenny never met a ray of sunshine he didn't enjoy. Wherever there was one streaming in, you could find him dead center.

Despite me being a photographer, he did not like photos being taken of himself and selfies were difficult to secure. Oh, and he never met a piece of pizza he didn't like or bowl of ice cream.

He occasionally would get into mischief, once eating a whole turkey carcass from the trash (from under the sink...he pulled out the trash can and just had a fine time), and I would occasionally come home to trash strewn all around the kitchen. Watched him once...he would knock the 12 pack of soda off the top of the garbage can, and then knock over the can and have lunch. He hogged the bed any time you allowed him to sleep with you, and he snored so loud it's a miracle you got any sleep. Oh and he wasn't too proud to beg any time food was involved despite the scolding.

He loved the snow!!! He would bound around in it like a little jack rabbit while I snowblowed or shoveled. He was happiest in the snow I think. He also liked when I would take him to the lake when no one was around and let him off to run and play in the water.

That freedom finally came to him during Covid when I was finally able to remove all the trees on my property and install a fence and a doggie door so that he could come and go as he pleased. He loved it outside and this new found freedom was great. He would just hang with me as I barbequed or did work out back. He enjoyed a few bonfires with the boys, and any time they would play basketball he would happily join in. We would run around together and play fetch...well sorta...he would run and grab it and then I would run and try to grab it from him. He never really got that concept. He was not a fan of a bath. He would allow it because it made me happy, and he always wanted me to be happy. One of our favorite things to do was get a good brushing. It never got old and if his bratty sister didn't push him out of the way for her turn he would have stood there forever!!!

Recently my poor boy's health began to fail. His eyesight had already begun to waver...and the ability to make the stairs up to my bedroom each night became a little more labored..but he insisted on doing it right up until last week. I saw him beginning to decline around Christmas time. He was weaker, drinking more water, eating less, and having other issues. We brought him to the vet and they said his heart was strong and his lethargic back end could be a pinched nerve. So my boy got daily massages from me, groaning because it felt good...or because I was hurting him...he never let on.

My boy still insisted on doing everything himself. He still got up and came to where ever I was in the house to be in the required 3 ft distance he self imposed since day one. He still followed me upstairs each night and plopped on the floor until I awoke the next morning. He refused to give up his job of being with me every second I was home...even if it was painful. His decline has been quick and even with another visit to the vet just last week and some bloodwork, we couldn't tell what ailed him. But I knew. I knew my boy, and I knew he wasn't well and our days together were few. It was most likely that C word, and I was resigned to say goodbye...but the vet wouldn't hear of it till we tried one more thing. Saturday began the end. He no longer could stand by himself, and he needed my help now. For the next two days, he and I just hung together and said our goodbyes. I told him of all the fun he'll have again with Amy, and how he'll have all the snow, ice cream, and pizza he could possibly want. And just like when I went away on my adventures and Christine or Isaiah watched him, I would come home too one day to him there. Till then all of my loved ones will watch him for me. I've told him to please stay out of the trash up there and to keep my chair warm till I can join him (even though he knows he's not allowed on the furniture).

They say you save a dog by adopting a rescue...but the reality of it was...he saved me. I was in a bad way after my divorce. I began a rebound relationship that didn't end well and was facing raising my son alone. I knew I could do it, but with Fenny I knew I had a friend who would be there no matter what happened. He loved me unconditionally. As the years passed, we both grew stronger together. We were family!!! When my son graduated and moved away to college, he helped me adjust. During trying times throughout the years...he would always listen and love me. When my son made his final move out and on his own to Boston, he was always at the door waiting for me to listen to my day and to tell me I was still needed. He is my heart and always will be. He was truly my best friend. No truer friend could you have.

Today I had to say goodbye to you. I know you are no longer going to be in pain and for that I am so grateful. The vet assured me you were ready, as you laid down and passed instantly. Don't you worry about me Mr. Fenny, I am much stronger now because of you. I am more enriched because you were part of my life. And you will live in my heart forever. Now go get those squirrels!!! They are waiting for you!!! And Fenny, always're the best doggie ever!!! I love you forever....xoxoxo Mom

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