Friday, January 28, 2011

We'll Miss You Jake

I'm not a journaler, I'm not a writer, and I don't like to talk about my feelings.  But today we had to put our beloved dog to sleep and I feel he needs at least a mention and a memory to him.  We had him for 12 years, give or take a few days.  I still remember the first day my husband brought him home to me, a few days after my birthday.  He wasn't an actual birthday present to me, but I've always had a sweet spot in my heart as the best "gift" I've ever received from anyone.  He was about 3 months old when we got him, full of energy, and just absolutely adorable!  I remember driving to Farm and Fleet to pick up the needed supplies, with him curled up on the floor boards at my feet. 

From the beginning, he was a good dog.  Sure, he had his puppy moments and rambunctiousness (I remember running through the neighborhood in my pajamas one night chasing him after he had ran away during a potty break and another instance of him peeing right on my foot shortly after we got him because he was so excited about something).  There were also a handful of damaged items that he chose to chew up when he escaped from his kennel while my husband and I were at work (mostly pillows).  But overall, he has always had a very sweet and obedient disposition. 

He was also a major people lover.  Nothing made him happier than to give love to someone and have them give love back.  If you did that, you had a friend for life.  That big tail would wag and wag whenever someone paid attention to him, even to the end.  But if you were a young child, you had to make sure to duck or keep a tail wag distance away to avoid being clubbed in the head.  I remember several instances of our young children gettting a "beating" from a happy tail.

Next to human attention, fetching was his second great love.  Be it a stick, a ball, or some other projectile, he would happily run after it and bring it back, tail wagging, time and time again.  I remember throwing a stick into the Mississippi River over and over and over.  There was no stopping him when he was younger, his desire to fetch would far outlive our stamina for throwing that stick.  We actaully used to worry that while playing fetch in the water, that he wouldn't know when to stop and would fetch until he was too tired to swim back to shore.  Thankfully, that never happened and it was only in the last few months that the joy of fetching became too much for his tired body.

Rivaling fetching for second place in his heart, was his love for food.  In fact, it was the loss of this enjoyment for him that made us realize it was time to say good-bye to him.  But before that, there was nothing he wouldn't eat (well, except for the first and only attempt I have made at cooking ribs).  Even when old age started to settle into his hips, he would still hop around like a puppy when it was feeding time.  If you just walked near him close to supper time, he would start getting excited and do a little dance that was impossible to ignore until you filled his food bowl.

He also had a affection for stuffed toys and squeakers.  Put the two together, and you'd see one happy dog.  Unfortuantely, these items didn't last very long since he tended to enjoy them so much that they'd soon fall apart.

It was a rare occasion to see him walking around without something in his mouth.  It was like an obsession with him.  Anytime he got up to go outside or come back in, he'd first search around for something to carry along.  When he was younger, it was often his stuffed jackalope.  In his later years, a big, black and white soccer ball was his chosen object. 

His big size and big bark were often a comfort to me.  Nights spent alone were often accompanied by a sense of safety knowing that he'd alert me of any danger.  However, I'm pretty sure the best protection I'd receive would be through licking an intruder to death.  He seemed like a big toughie but he really was a softie.  I still remember the first day we brought "R" home from the hospital.... Jake was afraid of him!  He shied away, and cautiously sniffed the carseat that "R" sat in.  Looking back, maybe he was smarter than any of us and knew that life with kids was something to fear!  But despite the shakey start, he quickly warmed up to "R" and all 3 of our kids once they entered our family.  He was always extrememly gentle with them and we were never worried about leaving them along with him, despite his size.  He was a true lover through and through!

I have so many wonderful memories of Jake.  He really was a part of the family!  It is so hard to say good-bye to someone I love so much.

Good Bye Jake, Jakers, Jakey, and my fluppy puppy.


  1. Oh Carrie, I am so sorry to hear about Jake. I am in shock and in tears. ((HUGS)) and please let me know if I can help in any way.

  2. Really to sorry to hear this Carrie.. Glad you wrote about him in the moment. It will become more precious with time. Hope you've been okay.
    Lisa (Elle K) at VF