Fostering memories

My sister’s dog died this weekend. I watched Foster, who got his name from a beer label, fade away while my sister gave him reassuring pats on the head and whispers of goodbye in his ear. His final moment was spent resting on a cold metal table at an animal hospital in Chicago, but he looked comfortable and was with his most loyal friend. It was 4:45 a.m. He was a few weeks shy of turning 14.

My sister and Foster came for a visit this weekend from their home in Cleveland. His last day included a ride in a Mustang convertible, a walk in the park and a trip to the beach. He went to a dog friendly pub where he played with (and attempted to hump) a Bulldog twice his size and several years younger. He snacked on dog treats, pooped on a sidewalk and saw a big city he had never been to before. He even let out a string of his signature howling barks. A few hours later, he wouldn’t even have the energy to hold his head up, although I could tell he was trying his best. Veterinarians told us there was a large growth on his spleen and he was bleeding internally.

While it was difficult to accept how things could change so quickly for Foster, it was also a lesson in how to live. He enjoyed his time until the very end, then peacefully passed on with calmness and dignity.

The car ride home was quiet. Foster’s footprint in a dry cast mold the hospital gave us was riding in the backseat next to me.

It’s in these times you remind yourself, “he was just a dog”, but that’s only a defense mechanism we humans use to make it easier. Foster was more than just a dog. He was a friend. He was a source of laughter and companionship. He was good.

11 Responses to “Fostering memories”

  1. Even watching this woman/dog relationship from a distance was a privilege. He will be greatly missed. Your words gave a shape and texture to what I have been feeling since I heard the news.

  2. J, that was beautiful. Keeping you and your sis in my thoughts.

  3. Mandy – That Pup was one strong partyer dude! I’ll never forget getting stoned with him at the S’mores Party! He was in his glory, surrounded by HOT, scantily clad bitches (You, Lisa & Dina), chillin’ to Van Morrison, kickin’ back, lickin himself (yeah, i’m jealous) and lovin life. Oh sure by the end of the eveining i had to help him up the stairs & i know he was one hurtin puppy the following morning. But that never slowed him down…….i can guarandamntee you he was out the following night chasing some tail.

  4. A moving tribute. Never met Foster but now feel like I miss him.

  5. Anyone who met or knew of Foster knows he was more than “just a dog.” He was-FOSTER, and oh so cute. He shared a great life along with his mom. Sounds like he really lived it up til the end!
    We feel the loss of your buddy
    PS what a sweet blog Jason

  6. I remember Foster keeping me and his Mommy company one cold January Friday when we were both feeling under the weather and in need of company!!

  7. What a wonderful tribute to a much loved friend! I was lucky enough to have spent a few evenings with Foster during our book club meetings. He was never far from Mandy’s lap, but was eaily coaxed away by promises of tidbits from our snack plates. He was always available to recieve a friendly pat on the head or belly scratch.
    I am so glad that his final few hours on earth were spent doing the things he loved with the person he loved the most.

  8. We both miss him this summer. Camp just isn’t the same without him here.

  9. Jason that was beauitful. Foster will be missed, buy all of us who knew him. He carried Mandy through a lot of things. My Morgen is also 14, and has been through a lot with me. It will be rough for me too, someday. I am so glad you were there for Mandy.

  10. To all I’m so sorry to hear about your loss with your friend Foster. He was a great dog and I will never forget the Thanksgivings spent with him and Giner under my feet waiting for Sis or I to slip them something…. My heart goes out to you and… Love you….

  11. Great blog. Dogs aren’t just pets, they are an important part of any family. Thanks for sharing. All the best to Mandy.

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