Thursday, September 17, 2009

Aw, Fudge

About ten years ago, Bill and I were visiting my sister Julie in the Asheville area. We were sitting in the front yard with my nephew Joe, who was 2 or 3 at the time, and with Julie’s wonderful chocolate lab, Fudge. Fudgie was soaking up the sun, and her fur was getting hot. Bill said to Joe, “She's a hot dog, Joe. Maybe we should get the mustard.” Joe walked over to the dog, pet her, and in her defense said, “Aw, Fudge.”

Ever since then, no one has ever been able to address Fudge, or talk about her, without saying, “Aw, Fudge.”

Poor ol' Fudgie died yesterday, after a long, happy, glorious life with a family who adored her, and lots of relatives and friends who were big fans, too.

We visited Julie and her kids a lot during our years on the road, and Fudge would greet us like long-lost family. Which we were. Then she'd take a nap in the Westy.

I’d never been a huge dog-lover, but Fudge won me over because she took care of me. I’d go running with Julie on the trails – the domain of Julie and every dog she’d ever owned. Julie would be way ahead, I’d be way behind, and Fudge would be between us, desperate to run ahead with Julie, the love of her life, but also worried about “that one back there, she’s nice; I like her, but man she’s so slow! Hurry! Faster!” She'd get twice her usual exercise those days, catching up with Julie, then running back to check on me.

Fudge hadn't been able to run on the trails with Julie for the last few years, but she was doing some long hikes with Julie and her daughter Erin recently, until The Incident this past May:
When we realized she was out of sight, we decided to go ahead to the turn around just ahead, and catch her on the rebound. We walked and walked and walked, and never came upon her! She had just disappeared. Which is odd, because that dog does not venture off the trail, and she does not move fast. We thought maybe she'd gone back to the car and was waiting there for us, but alas when we got there - no Fudge. I checked my cell phone in the car and sure enough someone had called and had her. I called the guy, he said he was running on the trail and came upon her, didn't see anyone with her, it looked like she was hurt (everyone always thinks she's hurt because she limps from her arthritis) so he CARRIED her to the parkway, FLAGGED DOWN A CAR, and asked the girls who stopped to drop her at the Animal Hospital. The next message on my cell phone was from the Animal Hospital saying they had Fudge and just to come whenever I got the message.
So we drove there and went in, and they brought her out. They'd given her IV fluids, because her temp was a little high, and she was a bit dehydrated. We were on a hike! It gets thirsty out there! So Fudge was basically kidnapped and pampered. Nice way to get out of a hike, Fudge.
You were a good girl, Fudgie, and a great dog. We miss you already.
Aw, Fudge.


Julie said...

Thank you, Ellie

XUP said...

Awwwww. Losing a beloved animal member of the family is so heartbreaking. But she had a great life filled with lots of fun, adventure and people to love who loved her back.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful tribute to one of the all-time great dogs, el. Fudgie was greatly loved and will be greatly missed.

Pickles and Dimes said...

What a beautiful tribute. Fudge was a gorgeous puppy.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Aw, Fudge.


peaceableimperatrix said...

What a sweet eulogy. Now you've got me tearing up! Aw, Fudge.

ksh. said...

Nice job Ellie. Julie my heart goes out to you and your family. I know Fudge will be greatly missed.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that is really tough. What a beautiful dog! Thanks for writing about Fudge, Ellie. Julie, sorry to hear the news. Mick was 6 when my parents' dog Emily (lab mix) died. As Ellie probably remembers, in his early years, Mick didn't really like people. However, he did love dogs, esp. Emily. It took Bobby and I 6 wks. to break the news to him. We all remember her fondly and still get teary. Fudge sounds like an amazing dog and what an amazing life and influence.

Mumsie said...

Ellie,your story about Fudge really touched me. My sympathy to Julie and her family. Mumsie

Mom said...

The whole extended Corey family is mourning Fudge today - what a girl she was. Was there ever a nicer dog?? She had class, I tell ya. Aww Fudge... love mom/gram

MB said...

What a nice tribute to Fudge, Ellie. And Julie, I'm so sorry. Fudge was such a great part of your family.

Lola said...

Aw, what a pretty girl she was!! I'm so sorry. It just kills me that dogs can't have longer lives, but at least Fudge had a really good one.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Aw, Fudge.

Aw, Julie.


Kathi D said...

Aw. RIP Fudge. What a distinguished dog.

Melissaand3boys said...

Beautiful tribute. I got teary and I don't even know her. Fudge sounds like she had a terrific life. My heart goes out to her family.

Springer Kneeblood said...

Aw, Fudge. Dammit, I hate it that dogs and people have to die.

Ted said...

I'm so heartbroken, I love Fudge, she was such a good girl, and I have such fond memories of running with her too, and Gracie and Presley. Remember that lightening storm Fudgie, when you thought Julie and I had it all under control...
I'm so so sorry Julie for your loss.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Some more Fudge anecdotes, from an email from me to Julie:

Aw, Jules. I loved your girl. Bill and I both did. Every time we left Asheville she'd be sitting on the driveway, looking at us like, "You're leaving again? Jeez." She always knew. We always hated to think it would be the last time.....

When we were there recently and Bill was working as a doorman at Coleman Place I'd walk up to visit every night with both dogs, on leashes. You laughed at me -- you said "Putting a leash on Fudge is like putting a leash on you!" I said "she likes it!" And she did -- it made her feel like special, like part of the team.

One time I was going to Lowe's and you said, "Take Fudge." I said, "Julie, I'm going to Lowe's." You said, "Dogs can go to Lowe's, and she likes it." I talked to you on the cellphone from there. I said, "I'm such a celebrity. Everyone loves her. They're giving me 15% coupons off everything because of her!"


Me, You, or Ellie said...

And another one from Julie, on what she and her son found on their arrival home, one day:

We came home one day to find Fudge in the kitchen, with the treats box stuck on her face. She'd found the Milkbones, and had a little snack, then got a little greedy. She'd eaten every last treat, and had shoved her face so deep in that box that it stuck to her. She was completely embedded in that box. She was a box-head. It was the funniest thing we'd ever seen. We were doubled over, laughing so hard we were gasping for air, to Fudge's complete shame, poor baby.

Julie said...

It's nice to see this post is still getting attention. I'll share what I wrote that morning.

--- On Thu, 9/17/09, Julie wrote:

I sat with the kids after school and told them that I'd promised Fudge that as long as she wanted to keep going, we were with her, but when she was ready to go she'd need to let us know. I told them about that morning, carrying her outside after another accident, and how she looked up at me with those big brown eyes as I put her down on her unsteady legs, and those eyes told me she was ready. I knew it was time.

It was hard for them to hear this. I tried to help them see that we'd let this go on long enough and we needed to let her have some peace, and go with some dignity. I reminded them that she'd lost the ability to participate in the all the things she loved. That we should do this for Fudge because it was humane, and compassionate, and that holding on to her would only be for our sake.

Mark came home and explained to us what would happen when we brought her in. He called the office to let them know we were coming. I got the car ready.

This was killing me. Even as I was reassuring the kids I was having doubts, and feeling uncertain about it. I talked to Mark, and he reminded me of all I’d just said to the kids, and added some words of wisdom. It bolstered me back up. I knew it was time, I needed to be strong.

So sat with her a while longer while we readied ourselves, then carried Fudge to the car. Mark said his goodbyes. Joey sat in back with Fudge and we drove to the animal hospital. We called Colleen on the way over. She knew what was happening; I'd been talking with her throughout the day. I cried with her on the phone. She wished she were there with us. But she'd had some time to spend with Fudge when she left, knowing this may happen, and she knew she needed to hold on to that memory.

At the animal hospital, they were at the door waiting, opened it for us as we carried Fudge in, and led us to an exam room. They had a plush bed on the floor ready for Fudge, with a purple velvety blanket. We laid her down, sat on the floor with her, and had some time like that before the vet came in. At first we were crying, all of us piled on poor Fudge, but after a while we relaxed and got comfortable. Joey was lying back against me, and I was sitting along fudge's length. Erin was sitting with her back against the cabinet, cradling her head. We chatted, talked about the weekend, relaxed, stroking Fudge, who was very calm and seemed peaceful. The vet came in and we signed papers, she explained things, then went away to get the sedative ready. The sedative would make her sleepy, it'd take about 10 minutes to take effect, and then they'd administer the IV that would stop her heart. When they administered the sedative we all began to cry again. Fudge was very still and calm, breathing evenly and very peaceful. We kissed and hugged and loved on her, we told her stories of when she was a puppy, remembered all those trail runs, all her antics, her sweet, submissive way, told her what a good girl she'd been, how much we loved her. They came in and administered the final dose, and we cried as her breath slowly left her. The kids were really torn up at this point. The vet and her assistant left us, and we stayed with her for a while like that. I finally got up and collected tissues and our things and gathered the kids up. I didn't want it to go on too long, and become something other than the peaceful goodbye that we just experienced. So we walked out, and had a hug at the car, then got in and drove away.

We were numb. We drove in silence for a while; the tears had finally stopped. I suggested we go to the grocery store to get some treats and stuff for the weekend. It turned out to be a good segue back into normalcy. By the time we got home, and Mark greeted us, we were ok, and we sat and talked and relayed the experience. Mark lightened the mood and made us laugh. We were completely spent, and really susceptible to giddiness. It felt good to laugh.

We’ll miss our girl.

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