Saying Goodbye to Jake: A Senior Dog Remembered
Anyone who has known a senior dog knows that the pleasure of spending time with him or her far outweighs the pain of his or her loss. Jessica Bullock shares her story of losing her lifelong furry friend, Jake.
When I was in kindergarten my parents adopted the cutest, wiggliest golden retriever the world has ever known. We named him Jake. He was bred to be a show dog, but a mishap when he was a puppy left him with a broken tail, so he became ours instead.
He stole bagels off the counter with reckless abandon. He could balance a Milk-Bone® biscuit on his muzzle, toss it in the air and catch it in his mouth. He once ate through an old couch until he reached the springs. He loved to be pet on this one spot right above his tail. He was ours, and we were his.
I headed off to college, and when I returned for Thanksgiving, Jake’s white face and wagging tail greeted me. He was a little slower, but he was the same sweet and mischievous dog I had grown up with.
It was a different story when I came home for the summer. My parents had taken to pulling Jake around in a wagon for his daily sojourn since he was having trouble walking. None of us wanted to accept that Jake was getting on in years, even though he was showing signs of being ready to go. Over the next few weeks, he stopped eating and drinking.
We took him to the vet, who gently recommended that we consider putting him down. He told us, “Dogs will stay longer than they should because they know you don’t want to lose them.” After years of taking care of Jake, here he was in his final days, just trying to take care of us.
We wanted Jake to be around forever, but we needed to let him go.
On his last day we filled Jake’s bowl with his favorite food − pizza crusts − before driving him to the vet. As he lay on the table, we stroked his russet-colored coat and whispered our last goodbyes.
Jake was gone, and we were in tears as we huddled around the examination table. The vet looked up and said, “I can tell Jake had a good life because you really loved him.”
The thing was, we had good lives because Jake really loved us too.
It’s fascinating how dogs communicate with us, even when we find it hard to listen. If this story tugged on your heart then you’ll love the story of Michael and Sally. Share your senior dog stories below, so we can remember them too.
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