“1, 2, 3 for me, 1 for Jake”
This isn’t a story about bananas, it’s about a dog, our dog, Jake, ‘the king of all dogs’.
I mention bananas because Jake and I ‘bonded’ over bananas every morning. For every 3 slices of banana I dropped on my cereal, Jake got 1. He stood by, waiting and salivating, while I sliced and counted each piece into our respective bowls: “1, 2, 3 for me, 1 for Jake”. Then, he waited for my signal to enjoy it.
Jake has been gone a couple of weeks and we’re still discarding his ‘stuff’: beds, toys, treats, things that bring a tear to our eyes. Some of it we donated to our local animal shelter.
I still find clumps of shedded hair when I clean house. It moves between my fingers and I feel his presence; the softness of his coat and the smells of his oils. The attachment to a pet is incredibly strong and letting it go is difficult, but we’re making progress.
Our decision to euthanize Jake at the appropriate time, if there is such a time, was challenging and heart breaking. Outwardly, a dog may not show his aches and pains, but the look in Jake’s eyes told us he was hurting. His mind was willing but his body wasn’t, the end of his life was imminent.
‘The Last Battle’* is a poem that tells the story of a dog’s final wish. The dog reminds us that we’ve shared a wonderful life, a life filled with love, and our final act of love would be to help the dog pass, peacefully.
We loved Jake and made that decision to end his suffering, humanely. Pet owners face this decision with heavy hearts. Jake came to us as a nervous young rescue from a local shelter. He left us in a calm and peaceful state, cradled in the arms of my wife, his constant companion.
We take solace in knowing that our rescue eleven years ago afforded Jake a chance to live a happy, normal dog’s life. In return, he gave us his love, warmth, kindness and loyalty. We mourn his loss now and will remember him always as ‘the king of all dogs’.
I’m still having a morning banana, but buying smaller ones that I can finish, myself…
To Jake the Dog, and dog lovers everywhere
*The Last Battle
If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done,
For this — the last battle — can’t be won.
You will be sad I understand,
But don’t let grief then stay your hand,
For on this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.