1997 - 2011
A year ago, we had a scare - the Hubby came home from work to find Jake barely able to greet him. Jake had vomited several times and was trying his best to make it to the front door, but had to lean on the wall for support. After taking him to a vet (who I would not recommend), we knew nothing - it could be early kidney failure, it could be cancer, it could even be doggie vertigo. The vet's reasoning - why test Jake for anything? He was 13 years old after all.
Fortunately, he improved. However, it was a wake-up call to us that our precious family member was growing old and would not be with us forever. Of course we knew this, but it was not something we wanted to think about. Jake was never quite the same after that episode, he still followed us around the house and chased the kids around the yard. He still greeted us at the door every evening (when he heard us, that is). But it was obvious that he did have some mobility issues. Over the past two months, he stopped going up and down the stairs. I know this was a tough decision for Jake, because he loved to be where we were. But, going down the stairs was not an easy task anymore.
This weekend was a tough one. It sucked. On Saturday evening, it was obvious that something was terribly wrong with our Jakey boy. We went outside to watch the kids play and act like heathens. Jake was outside laying in the yard and was unable to get up. His breathing was shallow. We debated about taking him to the emergency vet clinic near our house, but the Hubby thought we should wait and see. Jake passed away in the night.
Jake was a wonderful pet. He was more than a pet to us - he was often referred to (and treated as) our first child. A month after the Hubby and I were married, we found him at the SPCA. For me, it was love at first sight - I knew immediately that he was the right puppy for us! The Hubby will deny it and tell you that he was the one who chose Jake, but it was really me.
Jake made me feel safe all the years the Hubby worked nights (and we were living in a sketchy neighborhood). The Hubby and I often commented on how lucky we were to have such a great, easygoing dog - he was easy to potty train, he never dug up the yard, never barked too much or jumped on guests. He did go through a chewing phase, but it was short. He was my walking, then running companion for years. When the Kiddo came along, he adapted remarkably well...even thought we made him stop sitting on the furniture and stop sleeping in our bed. He adapted well to the Munchkin, even though he was now outnumbered. Even in recent months, he'd act like a spry pup and chase the kids around the backyard.
I recently read the book, The Art of Racing in the Rain, about a dog who learned through watching National Geographic that in Mongolia dogs are believed to be reincarnated as men. In the book, the dog could comprehend what his owner was telling him. I figured if there was any truth to that, I wanted Jake to know exactly how special he was to us. While Jake laid there in the yard, I told him how lucky we were to have him and thanked him for being such an awesome dog. And then I told him that he could go if he was ready and that we'd see him again one day. According to the book Heaven is for Real, there are indeed dogs in heaven. I don't know if this is really true, but I'd like to be naive and think that it is.
And while we'd eventually like to get another dog, it might be awhile. Jake will be a tough act to follow.
Thank you Jake for 14 awesome years. You will not be forgotten.