I lost my pup, “Jake” yesterday and this morning is a strange experience indeed. Gone are the morning slurpy-kisses, gone are the hourly walks. Gone are the custom made meals of chopped meat and chicken breast, the multiple medications wrapped in cream cheese to assuage the discomfort from the symptoms of Jake’s heart failure. Gone are the funny “whispers” and Jake’s constant begging for treats. Gone is the unconditional love I felt from him every day.
Click on this image of Jake to watch a “In Memory of Jake.”
My feelings this morning are part grief, part relief. I grieve the loss of a best friend who Gene and I raised from a pup. I can remember with crystal clarity the 4th of July Gene and I picked him up from the breeder in PA. I held Jake in the back seat of our Toyota 4Runner while Gene drove us to Jake’s new home. His birth name was “Dude,” so I held Jake close, whispering his new name in that floppy ear. He responded by peeing all over me! It was a wet ride.
I am relieved that Jake will no longer panic because he can’t catch his breath. I am relieved that he will no longer suffer sleepless nights. I am relieved that I will no longer have to feel guilty for being so reluctant to let him go.
From the beginning of our life with Jake, his training was problematic at best. Training him to pee outside was so very frustrating. When we took him outside, he pee’d on every bush and tree, and when we took him back inside, he’d pee again, right on the kitchen floor! He wouldn’t sleep alone without whining loudly, so for days Gene and I slept on the kitchen floor with the little guy, afraid to take him to bed with us because of all the peeing. Jake loved to hunt and he preyed on everything from squirrels to ground hogs and he also chased the new-born fawns in spring. It was a constant chase with Jake and he was indeed a handful. He hated the leash and pulled until he took me off my feet. So to allow him to release all of this Brittany energy, we took him to parks, to corn fields and to Swayze Mill lake, to swim and run off-leash, and play. We fenced in a portion of the yard so he could run and play unfettered.
Jake loved his treats and we spent a fortune on Pupperoni’s and raw hide, trying to find that perfect treat that would keep him busy for a few minutes so that I could make dinner, but he gobbled everything down so fast, it was impossible to keep up.
Every morning in NJ and continuing here in Florida, we had a ritual. After his first walk, Jake and I had breakfast together. After his meal, I gave him 3 “Liva Snaps” treats and he sat, begged, and gave his paw, then he “whispered.” Yes, Jake learned to “whisper.” I am so sensitive to noise in the morning, that I found a way to train him to bark very faintly in a kind of whisper. He was so cute when he did this. It made me smile. I am happy that I made several videos of Jake whispering and running at the Lake with his friend Skippy, so that I can still enjoy watching him point and hunt and run like a dervish. Jake was a perfect example of the beauty and grace and loving loyalty of the Brittany breed. He was our third Brittany, and I have to say he was the most beautiful and head-strong.
I want to thank all of our friends for caring for Jake especially while Gene was ill, and I want to thank the kennel owners, Patrick and Myke of Four Paws Playground, and Doug Tigue of Hope’s Kennels, and all of the others who trained and watched over Jake when we were away. I want to thank Dr. Shatto, Jake’s vet in Hackettstown NJ and Dr. Garner here in Florida for giving us so much time with Jake by keeping him healthy all of these years.
It took a lot of people and support for us to have Jake in our lives, and I appreciate it so much. I will miss him everyday. It’s time for Gene to walk Jake again, and I hope to God that Jake and Gene are together in heaven and walking, running and hunting through the beautiful fields of Elysium.