Saying Goodbye

At 14 years and 1 day old, we had to say goodbye to our sweet, patient, loving furry boy.

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While Jack’s death came as a complete shock to us, I’m so grateful that he was his happy, waggly-tailed, cuddly, always-hungry self right until the very end. I’m also grateful for 14 wonderful, loving years with him. That’s a long life for a dog, and I know we’re pretty darn lucky to have all the time that we did.

Jack was so special to us and an integral part of our lives and family. We brought him home only 5 weeks after we were married, so he quite literally has been with us since our beginning. I’ve been thinking back to all the apartments and homes we’ve lived in, and he’s been in every single one of them with us. It will be sad to someday move on to a new place without him. I can still “see” him in all his favorite spots around this house, and have so many memories of him in all the other places we’ve called home, too.

I have always described Jack as “not a dog”. He never barked! He didn’t care about birds or cats or any other creature that typically drives a dog into a frenzy. The UPS man wasn’t an enemy, but rather, a friend to wag his whole butt at, and who he hoped would pet him. Jack lived for people. In fact, he never met a stranger in his entire 14 years.

He also loved to eat! And sleep in bed, on laps, and with his head resting on a pillow. He never even cared when I dressed him up for Halloween. That dog had more costumes than some kids do!

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One thing Jack didn’t like was storms. He was also scared of Tessa barking. Anytime he was scared, he’d come find me and jump into my lap. I spent so many nights lying in bed with my arms around him because he was shaking from the sound of the thunder outside. As the storm would pass, his shaking would subside. Then he’d happily sleep all curled up in a ball, under the covers and sharing my pillow.

The day we said goodbye, Kate asked me through tears why Jack couldn’t live for 100 years. I told her how there are so many dogs in the world who already need forever homes, that if a dog lived to be 100, there wouldn’t be people to adopt and love all of them. I also told her that each dog, much like each person, has their own personality, quirks, likes and dislikes. Every dog is unique. There will never be another dog like Jack, and we will never be replacing him with a different dog.

And while I know all this to be true, it doesn’t keep me from missing him still.

People have been so kind since he passed away. We’ve gotten so many messages, texts, cards, and even gifts! A friend shared a touching article with me written by Sarah Petruno. In it, she quotes:

Grief is the final gift of love given from one to another, and the depth of that grief is a measure of the strength of the love between the bond.

The more I thought about that statement, the more it rang true. I feel so heartbroken and sad without him, but then am immediately overwhelmed by all the happiness and love that he brought us. And as I think about our final moments with him, and all my final kisses, pets, and “I love you”s whispered in his ear, I also think about how much love he had to give us, and how much love we tried to show him. Everything about Jack, his impact on our lives and hearts, and his time on Earth was as good as it could get.

I’ll love you forever, buddy. Until we meet again.

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