Falcor / Fernando Dámaso

My dog Falcor, or rather my son Anibal’s dog, died in the early morning hours of the tenth or eleventh of August. On the 31st he would have been 18 years old, a really long life for a canine. His body was buried in the patio of the Ayestarán house, along with those of other beloved mascots who passed away earlier. At least he’s not alone, his soul is already in dog heaven. He accompanied me faithfully all these years, always noble, always loving, always playful. In reality, from the first meeting we recognized each other: In the house of some friends near the Tropicana, along with his siblings when he was fifteen days old, he broke away from his brothers and with faltering steps approached Anibal, then 9, and tried to climb up his legs. When the owner asked us, “Which one do you want?” the answer was obvious.

From that day we called him Falcor because he reminded us of the dog-dragon in The Neverending Story. He was a cocker mix.He shared his joys and sorrows. He liked to play: Stealing toys, chewing the innards out of stuffed animals, chewing on shoes, catching balls and marbles and bringing them to us to relentlessly continue the fame. He responded to the command, “Closer!” approaching any object. Until almost his last days he was capable, although his reactions and movements had slowed, he walked like Charlie Chaplin, and he was nearly blind. I watched him fade away, like a candle burning out, and I was sad. Still, he had time to say goodbye to Anibal in June, during his flying visit. I continued caring for him, determined not to hasten his death, waiting for it to happen naturally. Luckily that is how it turned out.

He left a great emptiness and made me think about the relativity of time. We shared those 18 years and it seems to me they went too fast. I remembered the puppy, entertaining everyone, now grown and gravely ill, fighting for life during fifteen terrible days, with antibiotics and daily serum, watching him sleep, lying down and not getting up until the moment when he surprised me one morning with a bark. By the afternoon we was up on all fours running around the house, perhaps more cheerful and playful than ever. His greetings at the door, walks together, his travels, love for children. In my years of solitude he was my only companion, day after day.

At night he lay down next to my bed, and when I felt sick, he knew it. Giving up his solitude he was able to adapt to the companionship of Putica, Rebeca’s little female dog. They would compete to run to the door first any time someone visited. Putica died and we got Lucky, the new little female we found in the street, and he adapted to her and her street-wise misbehavior. I think she was his greatest joy in his later years and gave him a new zest for life. He was rejuvenated. Together they ran to the roof, fought over toys (his favorite was the plastic hippopotamus), barked at all the neighboring dogs and at Mitsukusu, the house cat, when he climbed on the eaves. He was good dog, generous and intelligent. More than a dog he was a great friend. Today I miss him. I spent 18 years of my life with him.

October 31, 2010