“Mom, imagine Fabi is lost somewhere in the city. He is hiding near the dumpster, and a policeman named Jeremy finds him and takes him to the station. “So, where do you live? Mr.… Fabi, your name tag says! Let’s try and call your mom. Sit here and wait, and don’t make any prank calls.”
Constable Jeremy calls Fabi’s owners, who explain to him that when we go on holidays, Fabi is left with grandma. It appears that he wanted to follow, and get to the airport. He meets a taxi driver called James and tells him, “’Dubai, and step on it,’ but he got lost, and ended up at the dumpster.”
My kids quickly made such cheerful stories about the Yorkshire terrier I got for Christmas a few years ago. Jeremy, James, Chihuahua Sanfranciskio, and other made up characters quickly became household names with my family. We planned to write short stories about these characters, and most probably now, we will.
Fabian, our four year-old miniature Yorkie, is gone. Those who have experienced the loss of a pet will understand what it means. Nobody can tell you how to feel or what to feel. You are left in disbelief, regardless how your pet died, due to old age, illness or a tragic sudden death. Or a dog on duty, such as the French dog that was sacrificed during one of the operations of the Paris terror attacks, or as casualties during the crash of the doomed MH 17 flight over Eastern Ukraine. The reasons don’t matter. The pain takes over your whole body. Dogs truly are man’s best friend.
My first memories of a family dog was Bobbi, a white, short legged Corgi. I was very little then, but even now I recall the sound of his bark, and my grandma’s moaning that she could not get fleas out of Bobbi’s fur. Bobbi died of old age, but I was not there to witness this. My aunt called me, to tell me that Bobbi was gone.
We soon started planning out our summer vacations by searching for another companion. We got Mickey, a playful Beagle, and then a black Poodle. Both sadly lived very short lives, and as we grew older and became teens, we decided to put our pet corner on hold. In dark and disturbed 1990s Georgia, no one seemed to have the desire, nor ability, to look after a pet.
I remember when my dad took a small black dog, with no discernible pedigree, to the countryside house one snowy day, saying that he would be much better in the village, where there is more space and food for him, than in our city apartment. My love and compassion for dogs and cats grew deeper as years went by.
Moving around the world with my family, I always found the time and dedication to feed and neuter street dogs, or simply hug well-pampered ones. I could not have my own, as I was always on the go and living out of my suitcase. But even though I had a baby in my arms, I always had a dog in mind… A Yorkshire Terrier.
I found Fabi under my Christmas tree. Actually, it was where I put him there in the first place, a gift to myself, and to my children. He was a character from the moment I saw him, when a Russian dog breeder drove to my office with him and said, “Here, this is the last one I have, if you are interested.”
Fabi quickly jumped on my knees and circled me, as if he found a comfortable spot. He was mine! Our four year journey had begun. We were inseparable. He accompanied me everywhere, even to press conferences. Fabi set a precedent when several restaurants, hotels and shops in Tbilisi began allowing him, and then other dogs, to sit inside. Fabi was a champion, winning the hearts and minds of everyone around us, while conquering many female Yorkshires, and becoming the father of as many 28 puppies.
Jokingly, I used to call Fabi, “The Fabi Foundation”, because every morning, we would walk to the park, where several street dogs would wait for us to be fed. Fabi always patiently waited for them to finish their breakfast. Many times, they defended this 4 lbs dog from strangers.
Fabi took his last walk on December 3rd. He lost his life to a vicious dog, which killed him on the spot. I wanted nothing from the murderer owner of that poor lost creature, but to donate money, and dog food, to our local shelter. It was a small price to pay for my soulmate.
This morning I planted some flowers on Fabian’s grave. On my way back I stopped near some rubbish bins to feed a street dog. Suddenly, the dog runs away making me think that he was not hungry. But, as I soon discovered, he’d gone to a car parked nearby, and brought a friend to share the food.
And because I cannot forget Fabi’s eyes, I get adamant about continuing to feed homeless dogs. But I will not replace Fabi soon. Many have offered me a small Yorkshires, even one of them his offspring. But that would not be the right thing to do. Cesar Milan’s website says that unusual eye contact form your pet is a sign of depression or anxiety. But I did not pay much attention then. Maybe he was trying to tell me something.
Right now, it will be hard to go though my daily chores without him, as everyone in the small city as Tbilisi will ask me the heart-wrenching question: Where is Fabi?
Photographs courtesy of the author