She bid a fond — and tearful — farewell to her BFLFF

FATHER’S DAZE
Emmitt B. Feldner  for The Review

It was a weepy weekend around our house.

We had to put Terry’s loyal dog, Fenn, down late last week and it was understandably hard for Terry, losing her BFLFF – best fourlegged friend forever.

Terry had raised Fenn from a puppy after getting her as a birthday gift from her eldest son 12 and a half years ago.

One of Ethan’s friends had a dog that had just had a litter, so Ethan decided his mom needed a new puppy.

They brought Terry over to the house and let her meet the litter.

There was one female puppy that caught Terry’s eye and it was reciprocated; when Terry put her down with the rest of the litter and walked away, this puppy followed her back across the room.

Apparently, it’s not always the owner that picks the dog, but the other way around.

With that, there was a new member of the family, no matter what anyone else said.

The name came from Terry’s mom, who apparently had read the name in some novel and decided she liked it – and so did her daughter and her new puppy.

We knew Fenn’s mother was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, but we didn’t know what the other half of her lineage was – except that it was apparently a brindle-colored breed.

Terry did a little research in some dog breed books and decided, based on Fenn’s size, color and characteristics, that her other half was a Plott Hound – among other things, the state dog of North Carolina, which is only half a country away.

She had that confirmed, though, when she took Fenn with her to a Ducks Unlimited Great Outdoors Festival when Fenn was a few years old.

The good ol’ boys from down south, as Terry described them, took one look at her dog and asked, “It’s a Plott Hound but what else?”

“A Chesapeake Bay Retriever.”

“A game dog and a bird dog in one?” they said before they started to drool at the combination.

Terry probably could have sold Fenn for a small fortune to one of those guys, but that wasn’t going to happen.

We could tell Fenn would have been a great hunting dog and great retriever, though.

All you had to do was toss a stick or a ball while she was around.

The only problem was, once Fenn started, she never stopped – even when your arm was ready to fall off and her tongue was dragging on the ground, she’d still chase sticks or balls.

She became the neighborhood dog, as kids from up and down the block would take turns playing fetch with Fenn – and she usually outlasted them all.

As one friend put it, Fenn was “relentless” about retrieving – something in the genes, apparently.

Terry did go for lots of long walks in the woods with her dog, who became more and more her closest companion as our sons moved out of the house and into lives of their own.

This dog soon earned privileges that few, if any, others in the house ever had.

Many was the night I had to fight Fenn for just a corner of the couch – the same couch that countless other dogs that had come through our house had never been allowed on.

Fenn outlasted all those other dogs until, about a year or two ago, she began having problems.

The first was an apparent thyroid condition that caused her to gain weight tremendously – until the vet put her on pills that controlled her thyroid and got her weight back down to normal.

Then, the vet discovered an aneurysm.

That curtailed Fenn’s running and fetching, though she still had bursts of her old self.

But over the last few months, the condition continued to worsen until she was barely able to get up and down steps or up on the couch – which up until then had been her private domain – and she had difficulty eating hard food and breathing.

It finally became apparent that she had suffered enough and we reached the painful, but merciful conclusion.

Now we truly have an empty nest.

But no dog ever had a better owner for a dozen-plus years – and vice-versa.


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