I feel like I’ve lost my best friend.
....I did lose my best friend.
Give me a minute....
Today was that day.
I got up, called for her, and she didn’t come, but that in itself is not that unusual. She can be quite stubborn and independent sometimes. I called for Bootz too, my cat, but she just meowed from the dresser where she liked to lay at night. So, all as it should be, I got myself out of bed to start my day. If Lola hasn’t beat me to it, I would check their bowls, putting fresh Whiskas out for Bootz, and a bowl of dry Pebbles cereal out for Fluffy. I tried every type of pet food for Fluffy, but she only seemed to like Pebbles. I’d fill their water bowls, and then I would put on a pot of coffee and get myself ready for the day. Hearing me fill the bowls, Bootz would come running and start brushing between my feet like cats do, but Fluffy would never come and do that, she would wait until Bootz had her fill and then eat when she felt hungry. She never begged or made a fuss about food. I liked that about Fluffy. I was always a sucker for animals that would look at you with soulful eyes and a whimper to get a table scrap morsel.
If Bootz or Fluffy were tableside beggars, I know I would have to phone Jenny Craig to see if she has a pet plan, because I wouldn’t have the heart not to pass them some of whatever I was eating at the time. I could just see the commercials, Kirstie Alley, Valerie Bertinelli, Bootz, and Fluffy showing their before and after pictures, and their fat clothes, while I would be sentenced to a 12 step program for pet over feeders. A fate I’m glad we’ve all been spared.
After showering and getting dressed, I went out to the mailbox to check the mail, and get the morning paper like I would do every morning. I can remember trying to teach Fluffy to fetch the morning paper, but her stubborn nature became very apparent at a very early age. Many a morning I would drag her outside, show her the paper and try everything I knew about training animals to fetch it in, but to no avail. She would just look at it and sit on the paper and refuse to budge. It didn’t take me long to give up on my futile paper fetching training and just go get it myself every morning. But to my amazement, Fluffy seemed to have learned that the paper was something to sit on, and every morning she would plant herself on the table sitting squarely on top of my paper while I poured a fresh coffee. It would become a staring game which I always lost and would have to pick Fluffy up and put her on my lap to even get a glimpse at the morning news. She may have been stubborn, but she did like her attention too. I guess, as an afterthought, I never had a soggy, chewed paper to read.
It was when I poured my coffee and had my paper in place ready on the table to start our staring game that I found her. She just lied there, lifeless, under the kitchen table. I’ve had many pets in my life, but none have had the impact of Fluffy. I stood there for what must have been only minutes, that seemed like hours, before I ran to wake up Lola for I didn’t know what to do next. I usually am usually rock solid in times of crisis or emergency, but this was my pet, my Fluffy, and I just couldn’t wrap my head around what was happening. I knew Lola would know just what to do or say to get me through this. It’s not that Lola wouldn’t be upset too, but Lola didn’t have the same attachment to Fluffy that I did. When we first got married, Lola couldn’t warm up to Fluffy at all, because she didn’t care for hairless pets. But that changed over time too, for I know Lola loved Fluffy just as much as I did, but I know she wouldn’t admit it.
Lola did take care of everything for me and Fluffy. She phoned Jodi and my parents, she calmed Jason down too, for he took it quite hard as well. For the first time in a crisis, Lola was the rock, and I was the puddle of mush, but I knew she was taking it hard too. She just wasn’t letting me see it so she could be there for me. I knew, we both knew that this was going to happen someday, but we aren’t fanatical about pets...I mean...We knew we would lose Fluffy because she was really getting on in years, but we were not the type of pet owners to plan lavish pet funerals, buy expensive plots and such. But we were also not going to let a Vet dispose our beloved Fluffy either. We planned a simple little pet funeral in the back yard with a nice pet memorial. Fluffy was a special member of our family, and this seemed to be perfect to remember her by.
My entire family did come and bid their personal farewell to Fluffy. They came at different times, and bid farewell in different ways. My mother seemed to take it especially hard. It was mom that got Fluffy for me in the first place in spite of my dad’s objections. Dad always felt that you shouldn’t give animals to anyone as a gift because the person may not be prepared for the responsibility of a pet. He argued that a pet would be a novelty gift at first, but once the novelty wears off they would have to take responsibility for Fluffy. She argued that I was fifteen years old and could take good care of Fluffy. Dad was proud that I proved him wrong that Christmas those many years ago.
And now I’m bidding my own farewell to my beloved Fluffy. I will never forget that Christmas morning in 1975 when I got the whole family up to open gifts. Mom always had little Christmas tricks that she loved to pull with presents. She would wrap small things in big boxes, wrap batteries separately if a present needed batteries, all in an effort for me not to be able to guess what the presents were. Mostly I could guess and often guess right. I had no idea about Fluffy though.
She was a real surprise.
To my Fluffy,
If there is a pet heaven, I know you are happy.
You were the best Pet Rock a person could ever have.
I will miss you
Fluffy Sirianni, December 1975-January 2008
Fluffy and Cocoa (Mom's Cockapoo) at play 2002