Part of the Mare Herd at the 4DH Ranch in Oklahoma. For More Works by Debra Coppinger Hill Click Image.

Friday, May 31, 2013


May 28, 2013

From the laundry room I heard my daughter say “Mom…Mom…I need to talk to you.” I hollered that I was doing the wash. She peaked her head in the door and I immediately knew I was about to be conned. “I had to bring a dog home Mom and I swear to you if you don’t like her I will take her back to the shelter and put her down myself. But I want you to hear her story and I want you to give her one week…just one week.”

Her job with the Vet had already garnered us a 7 toed tom cat and two Manx female cats. They went to the shelter once a month to do the put-downs. It is not a fun job, but a sometimes necessary one. Dara handled it well though you could always tell by her sad face what day they had gone. “Tell me the story first and it had better be a good one” I said.

 “Feona belonged to an 86 year old lady who had a heart attack. When the paramedics got there they locked her in the kitchen and took her owner away. No one found her for five days. Her owner passed away and her family came and that is when they found her. They all live out of state and no one wanted her so they surrendered her to the shelter. They have had her for four months and kept putting off having her put-down because she is so sweet. Mom, I had to take her. She looked at me like she knew me and she wouldn’t leave my side. So please, please, please let me keep her. I will take care of all of her expenses. Please.” The look on my daughter’s face told me that she had found that animal we all find sooner or later in our life; that one creature that belongs to us heart and soul.

“Ok…” deep breath “let’s see her.” I said. She opened the door and into the laundry room walked the biggest dog I had ever seen in my life! Feona, all 135 pounds of her, came directly at me, sat down and put her head beneath my hand and looked at me with her large, expressive eyes. “She’s a Mastiff Mom.” I shook my head and sighed. I was beaten and I knew it; but I reserved my right to say when and if she had to go. That was five years ago.

Feona lived with us, let my grandson #1, Derrick, grow up hugging her and napping on her and spent hours laying at my feet while I wrote. She moved with Dara when she got married and became the guardian of grandson #2, Nathanial, when he was born. She gave nothing but love and was loved in return. She only had one problem and that was they no one truly knew how old she was. Tell-tale signs started show and it was decided by our Vet that she had major bone degeneration.

 For the last year Dara did what she could to care for Feona. Medications worked for awhile but it became evident that they were no longer holding pain at bay. She could no longer raise her large frame from her bed without great effort and pain. And we, those who loved her could no longer make her suffer just because we were selfish and wanted her to stay in our lives.

My daughter is the strongest person I know. She waited until we were gone and took Feona to the Vet for one last visit to make sure there was nothing to be done to stop her pain. When she was told that Feona would only get worse she did the thing we all knew would have to be done and let go. She stayed by her kindred spirit’s side. She petted her and hugged her and whispered to her as her beloved friend slipped away. She did this alone. She did it though a part of her was slipping away too. She did it because it was the right thing to do.

I like to think I have raised good, strong, responsible kids who have become compassionate, loving, responsible adults. It is at moments like this that I know I have only been their keeper. That God blessed us with these incredible beings who love so deeply that they would rather tear out their own hearts than to see a creature or a family member, suffer.  We will miss you Feona; but we will miss that young girl who talked us into keeping you more.   

Feona Marie
How could I say no to that face?
She loved to ride in the truck.
Keeping a watchful eye on the kids while they played.

Ever tolerant of our silliness she allowed us to dress her up as a fairy princess for a pet costume contest. She won in her division and at her prize of a basket of treats before we made it home.

Grandson #1 Hoss loved hugging Feona. She was wonderful with all children.

Feona did get a little jealous when the snauzer puppy got a new bed.

But after a nap in it she let Chy have her new bed.

This is her chair but she was good about sharing.

She thought she was a lap-dog but shared her chair with PawPaw.

Sharing with Dara, Chy and Rufus.
At 135 pounds she was still intimidated by Rufus who weighs in at 9 pounds.

This is her happy face!
Here's Feona barely able to contain herself, celebrating her delight
at Dara and Ryan's engagement.

'Just one fry...pleeeeease...'

Wearing fluffy hair-clips and a big smile.
Telling Dara about her day.

Trick-or-treating with Hoss, Ryan and Dara. Since she was a bull-mastiff that is a tiny bull-rider on her back. Dara is dressed as a sonogram machine...that's a three-d sonogram image of grandson #2 ND, also known as Beeker. Feona was his gaurdian.


Two Cowgirls just hanging out after chores.

Kindred Spirits, Feona and Dara.
Friends like these come once in a lifetime.
Thank you Dara for bringing Feona into our lives.
And Thank you Feona, for allowing us to share your life.
We'll see you in the other side!
For more information on Debra Coppinger Hill go to AlwaysCowboy.com.

RIDING DRAG with DEBRA COPPINGER HILL is featured each week at ALWAYS COWBOY where Debra is a Resident Western Poet. Join her and her Cowboy Friends for Cowboy Poetry, News and  Events. http://alwayscowboy.net/debra_coppinger_hill_poetry.html

No comments: