It is time for me to call it a night, but I’m having a hard time falling asleep because I can hear Riley (my 18 month old English Mastiff) crying from the garage. She doesn’t like being by herself when it’s bedtime. We had to put my German Shepherd, Jake, down last night.
He bit my neighbor on the arm when my parents were around… he wasn’t critically injured, but the fact was that it was hard to control Jake when strangers were around that we didn’t introduce him to. My parents explored all other options (police dogs, give away, be more careful etc.) but found this was “best.” I trust their judgment and don’t blame anyone for this…it just sucks. The last time I saw him was like 10 days ago because my parents took him in the middle of the night.
So anyway, it’s been hard being around the house. There is now some sort of huge void. Like driving home from the Hillsong concert tonight, I couldn’t help but think about how I used to be greeted by a groggy Jake who’d stretch and soon be ready and energetic. Or MY FAVORITE was when I’d be on the computer late into the night and he’d be sleeping on “his chair” or by the front door. I’d go to say goodnight to him, and with his tired eyes he’d look at me and plant a few sweet licks on my nose.
This morning when I woke up, it was a shocker and I was obviously upset. It’s just not the same. Jake had this aura of energy around him at all times. I’m so used to walking around the house with him by my side trying to anticipate where I would go next. I’m used to opening the back door to let the dogs out and have him bolt out there. I took Riley for a walk into the woods today and that’s not the same either because there was no dog running 100ft ahead or dropping toys at my feet. She’s just lackadaisical and clumsy, which is fine, but I’m used to there being a balance. It’s funny how my dogs would walk the same trail in the woods at least 4 times a day and Jake was ALWAYS excited to be out. He loved to run. He was so lean and athletic and could catch any flying object in mid air and look like a champ catching it! He was fast enough to catch deer.
Jake was so loyal. He’d fight a grizzly bear to the death for me if he had to. No matter how far away he was, if he heard my voice he’d swivel around quickly and obey my commands. With one noise form my mouth “mmmMMMmm” he’d go directly to his cage. He’d always do what I said or what he felt was best for me ;)
We loved each other the first time we met. Not in a romantic way of course, but that kind of love that “pals” have. I remember the day we took him home on my lap. Surprisingly, he actually could fit his whole body on my lap. I remember comforting him for his first of many car rides. When we got home, he’d follow me EVERYWHERE. He was so cute with his oversized-ears that flopped to the side and his HUGE paws that he clumsily ran on. The first night, Ricardo and I slept by the little cage we had him in so he wouldn’t cry all night. As a pup, he took many naps…but you had to get the energy out of him first. I used to just run around the house a few times and he’d chase me because he wouldn’t want to be alone. Finally, we’d go inside and he’d fall asleep on the A/C vent. When he was still a puppy, we used to take him over to my neighbor’s house to play with their black lab. He was smaller and not as fast, but that didn’t last very long! He grew big and fast AND SMART: I remember, it took me ONE DAY to teach him “sit,” “lay down,” “paw,” and “up.” ONE DAY. Then like one week to get him to go in his cage on command.
I knew he was attached when every time I came home from school, without fail, he’d greet me at the door of my car. For most of his 2 puppy years, he’d pee all over the driveway because he was so excited to see me. Another good and silly thing about Jake is he wouldn’t JUMP on me…he was a LEANER J Even when in the house, Jake had to be in the same room as me.
He just loved to play and run around. He loved fetch and was amazing at it too. Rocks at the lake were his favorite. He also loved swimming. One quirky thing he’d do is drop a ball under a table and purposely get himself stuck so you could grab the ball before he’d be tempted to snatch it up again. I loved playing with Jake in the winter because I could get a little dirtier and play on the ground. He had a huge affinity for gloves and hats though! When we got lazy ol’ Riley, I was surprised to see how he put up with her following him around and bugging him. He was so patient with her. Though, he did establish an alpha-dog position for himself…understandable, he was there first and was older ;)
There are 2 funny stories about him I’ve shared and will share again as well as record for future reference. One time, my mom and I were working on a puzzle on a coffee table that was giving us some trouble. On the last day, we were missing 2 essential pieces and just wondered at where they could be. A few hours later, I was sitting in the study and heard Jake hacking something up (he was still puppy-ish). I went over to comfort him and looked to the floor to see the pieces that my mom and I needed! They didn’t quite fit, but I was excited to share this with her. J
The other story involved flatulence. Everyone knows dog-farts rank…but that’s not the worst part, they’re silent so you can NEVER tell when they’re coming. BUT THIS ONE TIME, not too long ago, Jake let a few go that created some noise. He cocked his head in confusion…I was as confused as he was, but I literally laughed out loud for a good 5 minutes because of his expression.
I’m gunna miss my Boo-bah, my Jakie-poo. I loved him a lot, kind of like a toddler. I’m not equating the life of my dog to that of a human’s, but he was more than just a pet. He couldn’t talk, but he could communicate and had personality. He loved unconditionally and was dependent on us, but did all he could to return the favor to our family by protection. It’s unfortunate he has to be remembered for biting someone…like he’s some aggressive monster. But I knew a sweet pup who had protection of the pack built into his nature. I’m going to remember him this way, and hope all can too! My life will go on, I’ll be sad only a little while…but that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy. I haven’t felt this way about loosing a pet in a while because I never knew a dog like Jake. It sucks that just because he did not fit into the world of humans, he had to leave a world and people that he loved. I was blessed to have him in my life as long as he was. I hope he’s at peace wherever dogs go.