Nothing like a Ware Shoals poodle
Sunday, February 23, 2014 12:00 AM
He only weighed 18 pounds.
So, why does our home feel so empty without him?
It was a rough week at the Trainor house. We had to say goodbye to a longtime family member and friend, our dog Phozzy.
Phozzy, who would have turned 15 years old in April, was declining in health for some time. He took a serious turn for the worse last week.
So, on Wednesday morning, my wife and I stood in the veterinarian's office — with hot, wet tears streaming down our faces — and held him tight one last time. Then we kissed him on top of the head and let him go.
Phozzy had been with us since well before Christina and I were married. In the years before our daughter Charley was born, Phozzy was our baby. Before there was “Chris, Christina and Charley,” there was “Chris, Christina and Phozzy.”
In 1999, Christina and I were both in college at Lander University. She was living in a little house over on Briggs Avenue. She saw an ad in the newspaper that someone in Ware Shoals had poodle puppies for sale.
So, Christina took off for the northern part of the county and met with a lady up near Ware Shoals. This lady had a bunch of puppies running around. All of them were white, except for one. There was a single little black fur ball bouncing around with the others.
She chose the little black one. That was Phozzy.
Now, I should add, the lady from whom Christina purchased Phozzy assured her he was, in fact, a purebred poodle. She said she would send us some “papers” in the mail certifying he was purebred.
I know this might come as a shock, but we never received those “papers.” So, we never knew whether Phozzy was purebred or not. We just called him our Ware Shoals poodle.
Through the years, it was fairly common for me to have the following conversation with someone in regard to Phozzy:
“So, what kind of dog do y’all have?”
“Oh, cool. What kind of poodle? Toy? Standard?”
“Nah. Ware Shoals.”
PHOZZY LIVED A LONG, happy life. Frankly, he was spoiled rotten most of the time.
He had the run of the house. He liked to sleep on top of the couch, on the back cushions. He could perch up there and look out the window before he started snoozing. My wife hated that. She said he distorted the couch cushions.
Now I think we would both let him snooze anywhere he wanted if we could have him back just a little longer.
You won’t believe me, but I swear Phozzy loved to watch TV. We lived in a house on Ridgeway Street for several years, and we used to leave the TV on all day for him.
Sure, it ran up our power bill and eventually ruined that TV, but we couldn’t have Phozzy missing his “stories.”
One time a friend from Abbeville — human search engine/gossip broker Robert Fossett — told us he stopped by the house on Ridgeway to see us, but couldn’t get us to the door. I told him we had not been at home at the time.
“But I could hear the TV going,” he said.
“Oh, that was for Phozzy,” I replied. “He likes watching TV.”
Every time I saw Robert for the next little while he would always ask “Your dog still watching TV?”
My dad loved to spoil Phozzy, especially with food. Whenever Dad would come visit, Phozzy would be right up under him from the time he walked in the door until the time he left.
Phozzy knew Dad would always sneak him some food. One time I think Dad actually sneaked Phozzy an entire steak dinner, with baked potato, dessert and tea.
Once, while we were out of town and my brother was dog-sitting for us, Phozzy secretly ate two entire boxes of Sno-Caps candy. You’ll have to get my brother to tell you about the fallout from that one.
Just know it ended with my brother running a mile up Greenville Street in Abbeville while wearing a full business suit and dress shoes.
IT’S BEEN A STRANGE few days since Phozzy left us.
I keep looking for him. Every time I glance toward the back door, I double-take because his food and water bowls aren’t there anymore.
I miss the way his claws sounded when he tippy-tapped across our hardwood floors. I miss hearing the jingle of his collar when he walked around the house.
When he ran, his ears would stand straight out, making him look like he was flying or in a wind tunnel. He would play fetch and chase a ball for an hour straight, until he couldn’t run anymore.
For many years, he slept at the foot of our bed. He was just a little guy, after all. We called him the “mini-heater” because he would make our feet hot sleeping down there.
Phozzy adored our daughter Charley, and she adored him. If he ever had a problem with her replacing him as our “baby,” he never showed it.
He was extraordinarily patient with her, even though she often put skirts and tutus and tiaras on him.
I know there are some who probably don’t understand this. To some, a dog is “just a dog.”
Well, Phozzy was not just a dog. He was a part of our family, for 15 years. He was a friend, who loved us unconditionally. He was sweet and energetic and, above all, loyal.
That’s what I loved about him just about more than anything else: His loyalty. I’m a fiercely loyal person, so he was my kind of dog.
We miss you so much, Phozzy Boy. Thank you for watching over our family for so many years.
You were the heartbeat of our home. You were our Ware Shoals poodle.
Trainor is the senior staff writer at the Index-Journal. Contact him at 864-943-5650; email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter @IJCHRISTRAINOR. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.