My heart is heavy.
Yesterday, I had to let go of a very dear friend of mine. Today, his absence is deafening to me.
Some people say, “It’s just a dog.”
Right. Like it’s “just a human”…
Jack came into my life when he was just 8 weeks old. He was the last left of his litter, with a crooked little tail and a pair of floppy rear dewclaws (that I would repeatedly curse at throughout his life during every nail trim). I named him after my dad, who had had quite a soft spot for the breed.
He slept very well through the night from the get go, and very rarely messed his kennel. If memory serves me right, I would even go so far as to say he was a very easy puppy. He had the perfect blend of sensitiveness and food motivation that seemed to make him a quick learner.
Unless he had better things to do, of course, as beagles often do.
When he got excited (usually over the prospect of food), he told you about it, bouncing and racing around, putting those vocal chords to use. He could have had quite the career selling dog food on TV, I always thought.
His all-time favorite treat was Dingo’s. He loved the cushy life, always seeking out the softest thing he could find to catch a few winks. His second favorite thing in life was his dog bed. He would get grumpy when I had the audacity to move him from my pillows to the end of the bed at night. He was never the biggest cuddler or kisser, except in the mornings, when he couldn’t seem to get close enough.
I loved taking long walks with him out in the country. He would do his thing and I would do mine, calling him every once in a while to remind him to to let that nose take him too far. Every once in a while, this would admittedly lead to a wild goose chase, when the scent was apparently just too good to give up.
Our personalities were quite synchronous – independent, love of exploring, a little reserved on affection, but good hearts just the same. I like to think of Jack as a fellow introvert, doing just fine hanging out with others, but also being okay with alone time too, sometimes even preferring it.
Maybe there is some truth in what they say about people being like their pets…
Jack was never one to have much interest in balls or other toys, though every now and then I could interest him in a good game of tug-of-war with one of the stuffed animals. As he got older, he would get quite grumpy around the more young and vibrant members of the newer canine generations. I blame it on his somewhat ‘oppressed’ years, living with the rest of the pack at home while I was off at school. It made him lose his sense of humor towards other dogs, I think. Though, he loved any and all humans.
After losing Gunner, it was just Jack and Ruby at home, just two old duffers. He got along with Ruby famously.
I never thought his time would come quite as quickly as it did, but after noticing some concerning changes in him, I brought him to the vet, where we quickly determined that he had a growth on his heart and liver, and fluid filling around his heart and abdomen. My decision from there was decided – I knew it was time to let my little boy go.
I am thankful to have gotten to share these past eleven years with such a good and sweet little soul along side me. I am thankful that I got to be with him through his last day, and hold him in my arms and whisper ‘I love you’ one last time while he quietly and peacefully slipped away.
“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.
It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”
– John Grogan
All my love, little man…