Fenech by Elizabeth & Tyler Philpott / Love, us

May 5, 2004

Dear Fenech, It is Wednesday afternoon. You’ve been gone almost two full days now. But, at least we’ll have you home with us Monday. You are at the humane society right now. Well, the part of you we could hold and feel is there—the rest of you is in my heart.

I don’t want to believe that we failed you by giving you too much freedom, and I don’t want to revisit that day just to expose what “could have been done differently.” It was what it was—and is why I’m on the back porch on this day, writing you a letter.

Your sister is full of courage today. You would be proud. She is tirelessly chasing grasshoppers and barking at shadows. She even got in an argument with a squirrel (which I think she lost) and climbed the tree in the back yard.

I do expect to hear you call to me as you slip under the fence to find me out here in “your” territory. I expect to see you nestled in the tall grass of your mouse field – or patiently stalking all that moves in the brush across the street. I instinctively check the bathtub for you and will miss your muddy paw prints there and across the toilet seat.

I will miss you asking me to let you out – but not as much as I regret doing so last Monday night. Of course, it’s not like I would have said “no.” I rarely, if ever, said “no,” to you.

This morning you were cold and covered. Our last chance to say goodbye to you was bittersweet. The pain of holding your tail in my hand was softened by the fact that I was able to after all. We were afraid we’d never see you again, though I see you in my mind’s eye all the time.

I see you draped over me under the blankets at night when you sneak into bed with us; your arrival being more hesitant-and more significant-than when your sister joins us. You made us feel special when you paid attention to us. Thank you for that.

I see you stretched out on the couch, getting “super comfy” with an upside down head and tightly curled toes. I see you sauntering up the driveway across the street and bringing lizards into the house.

I see you tiny and shivering with formula all over your face. I see you backing up and using your “butt move” on Raven when she was willing to play. I see you crying after the bee-sting, after your last big fight here. I see you on the back porch step with all your paws tucked under-tolerating the rain because you’d always rather
be outside in it than inside.

I see you so small and grey, being plucked from the warmth of your little sisters in Wayland, and I see you comfortable as Chairman of the Board in our apartment in Kalamazoo. But, despite all these places in our life together, and in my memories, the place I see you most is outside-where you were meant to be. You became your true self here in North Carolina, with a yard-a community-a block to own and protect. I could lament that we ever gave you that freedom, but keeping it from you may have been a worse sentence than what we are dealing with today; certainly
a more selfish one.

I cried all night for you on Monday, but I knew it was probably in vain. You are where there are no fences, no dangerous roads, no mean yellow jackets or poisonous fleas, no collars, no painful shots, no doors unopened, and no one calling you in at night. I want to call for you every time I open the back door, and I promise to call for you the second I get to where you are. I hope you will remember my voice. I will never let yours leave me.

I hope you know how much I love you, how much you mean to me. I will carry you in my heart always and miss your warmth and loyalty.

Thank you for being everything you are. Thank you for being ours.


My handsome boy...
Elizabeth & Tyler Philpott