Happy Birthday, Farley!

My best friend is also the closest thing to being my son. It’s my dog, Farley. Today he celebrates his 15th birthday. Some people would equate that to being approximately 105 human years but he’ll always simply be a puppy to me. If I was still in contact with my ex-wife (and if she didn’t think I was the embodiment of Satan walking the Earth) I could get back all of my pictures of when he actually was a puppy. Yeah, I’m pretty sure those pictures are gone for good :/

When my ex-wife and I decided to get him we didn’t really know what to name him. You know how it goes. You know you’re going to get a pet and you spend all this time trying to think of the perfect name for it before you get it. However, when you finally get it nothing fits. All those spectacular names somehow seem stupid when you come face-to-face with your new, furry friend. My boy, on the other hand, was almost crystal clear as soon as I met him.

He was born in a townhouse in Ashburn and he was the largest of the litter. The family that had him gave him the absolute tragic name of ‘Star Butt’ because of a little patch of white on his rump. You can tell that they had children under the age of 10 in the house. We had stopped by so we could choose which puppy would be ours. They were all rolling around playing at my feet, jumping on my, yapping and being rambunctious. Farley, on the other hand, just sat behind me and kept looking quietly up at me. When I turned around and looked at him I swear it was like being hit by lightning. Here was my dog – the quiet, confident little man who found me as much as I found him.

I can’t believe that this post is from 5 years ago!

Often times people think that I named him after Chris Farley. They couldn’t be more wrong. My Farley was named after someone much more noble than Tommy Boy. My Farley was named after Farley from ‘For Better or Worse’. Want to see? Then take a look at http://www.fborfw.com/features/farley/passes.php

Ah, the passage of time! The link moved but you can read the strips in this particular story arc on the For Better or For Worse character site – http://www.fborfw.com/char_pgs/interactive/index.php?character=pets&id=farleydies#viewingarea

I named my dog after Farley from Lynn Johnston’s ‘For Better or Worse’. Farley in that comic strip was a wonderful companion and was just as much a part of the family as any of the other characters. What made him even more special was his destiny and which was expressly the reason why I named my dog after him. I contacted Lynn a while ago and we had a pleasant conversation regarding Farley, the Farley Tree, and the passing of time. I wish I could remember where I archived those emails!

He’s mostly deaf now and his eyesight is pretty poor. Our vet says he’s showing slight signs dementia. He’s been through a lot. We’ve been through a lot. I love him as much as I could love anyone else and it kills me knowing that his time will be coming soon. Until then, I promised myself and him that I would cherish whatever time we have left together.

In a humorous, crude yet brutally honest way, The Oatmeal describes it perfectly in his strip ‘My Dog: The Paradox’.

Being a pet owner is a wonderful and a cruel thing. I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for having this grouchy bag of fur in my life.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go put a mirror in front of his face to make sure he’s still breathing and carry him up to bed.

Happy Birthday, Farley.