Well, that’s a bit of a ridiculous title, isn’t it? And yet it fits perfectly with the ridiculously lovely little dog to which it once belonged.
Yes, that’s correct, her real name was Fahrvergnügen. My cousin named her that. Truthfully, though, we don’t know what her real name might have been, since my cousin brought her home after finding her at the local dump. We also never really knew what kind of dog she was, with her Blue Tick Coonhound markings, her Beagle baying, and her stumpy Basset Hound legs (and trademark Basset Hound stubborn streak). She was skinny and mangy and riddled with fleas, a bit surly and confrontational with the other dogs. But she was also loyal to every member of our familial “pack.” So we accepted her, although we all mutually agreed that “Farf” was a far easier name to yell from the back porch than “Fahrvergnügen.”
So Farf it became. For a summer, I called her “Hava Hava,” because of the strange predilection she had developed for wandering around my grandparents’ living room, entreating people to play with her by making a guttural, growly noise that sounded like her saying “Hava Hava Hava” over and over. Then, when she started to get to be a little chubby in her later years, I crowned her with this post’s title: “Farfle Falafel Fat Pillow.” Alliterative and silly, but meant lovingly.
My grandmother adored Farf, and the feeling was most assuredly mutual. Farf would sit quietly next to my grandmother on the couch, letting her stroke her long, silky ears. One of the last things my grandmother held onto from her North Carolina days was the memory of her “puppy.” That was how my parents ended up inheriting Farf; they were closest to where my grandmother was, so that she could still visit with her puppy until even that memory faded from grasp.
Farf returned to North Carolina when my parents relocated. She loved both my parents and trained them both well when it came to giving her treats. When my mother became bed-ridden, Farf stayed close, sleeping by her bedside, keeping watch. After my mother died, Farf became my father’s shadow. Even though she was getting up there in age and her joints protested the effort, she would follow him wherever he went in the house, upstairs, downstairs…didn’t matter. He was her duty and devotion.
The photo with this post? It’s a shot of her watching my father moving around the living room, waiting to see if she could stay where she was or if she’d need to get up to follow after him to another room.
By the end, Farf had gone completely deaf (but definitely never lost her ability to bark), nearly blind, and it had gotten to the point where my dad needed to help her get up and down even the few stairs on the back deck. Kidney failure, however, was something that none of us could help her overcome, and so my dad had to have Farf put to sleep last week.
We’ll never know how old she really was since she, like so many others from the cadre of amazing canines who have padded their way across our hearts, was a random rescue. Whatever her age, she was a part of our family for nearly 15 years. She made us her pack, she gave her devotion to us, and we did what we could to give her the best home and plenty of love.
I hope it was enough.
Good girl, Farf. Good girl.