@2015 VINTAGE GYPSY ENT.

    LOVE UNCONDITIONAL



    Dog (noun.): The Best Friend you will ever have. A loyal, loving companion that cares for you more than himself. A special creature whose time in your heart will far out number it's days on this earth


    Have you ever felt that your dog is your best friend? Have you ever preferred their company to most peoples? Does your heart beat a little faster when you’re coming home and you know they’ll be there to greet you? Domestic animals have been

    our companions for thousands of years. For some people their assistance is invaluable. Seeing eye dogs, seizure dogs, tracking/rescue dogs, provide a service that cannot be replaced. Dogs and cats in care facilities, lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, and provide love and companionship to many. It is really quite incredible to think of the

    many tasks they do for us. Of course your best friend might be a horse, a rat, or perhaps a rabbit.


    At any rate humans and animals have the capacity to love and form relationships with other species that last a lifetime. It’s unfortunate that our animal pals don’t live as long as we do. As most animal owners already know the hardest part of the relationship is when it comes to an end, ideally after years of treasured companionship and not

    because of some tragic accident or illness.


    My husband Jack and I have always been animal lovers, and we have always had dogs. We had two dogs in tow when we made the transition from city to country and moved to an acreage just outside of Big River. Cody Mody and Auggie Doggie required a little retraining to make the conversion but it wasn’t long before my little Cocker Spaniel and my little Mutt were happily enjoying life in the country.


    A few years later at the age of eight Cody was suddenly not himself, and seemed to tire easily and get a little out of breath. One night he couldn’t breathe and by the next day he was at the U of S and there was nothing they could do for him. We had no choice but to euthanize him and suddenly I was without my best friend. I didn’t know how to be or what to do without him. I was heartbroken. He was the special one, that once in a lifetime companion. I have loved all my animal friends but this one was somehow different. We had a sublime connection. He lived for me and I was his world. I wonder if he knew that I felt the same way.


    It’s been 15 years and I still think of him and miss him like it was yesterday. Time goes on and Auggie Dog was lonely so one year later we decided we would get another dog. I had always admired Australian Shepherds and now with more space and time we could

    accommodate a highly active breed. I carefully researched and chose a pup from a good breeder to become a new member of our family. I had such high hopes of what our relationship would be but he (Jake) only had eyes for Jack.


    Jack fell in love with that dog too. Jake was always game for anything and everything as long as it involved Jack. It didn’t matter what it was, they were together. He took him to work each day and Jake slept beside his bed each night. I loved him too, he was always ready to play, or have an adventure. Not to mention the security he gave me when Jack wasn’t home. No harm would come to me with Jake on guard. Mostly I was happy for Jack because I knew how wonderful it feels to have that kind of dog love, it was the way I felt with my precious little Spaniel. Not only do our animal companions bring us love and pure joy they teach us kindness, compassion and loyalty. When life and people disappointed me, my little Cody showed me how it feels to be really loved. I mean REALLY loved, without question, with all his being and in spite of ME.


    Jack and Jake spent fourteen years together. We put Jake down last week. His health failed and the time that every animal lover hates came, the time to say goodbye.

    We spent the day with him, played ball, took pictures, gave him his favorite treats and showered him with affection. I breathed in the smell of his fur and stroked the silky spot between his beautiful eyes for as long as he’d let me. We took our last car ride together, and later that day, he died in Jack’s arms while I held his soft paws. The last thing Jake saw was the eyes of his best friend who lovingly chose to give him an easy way out of his

    suffering.


    At dusk we buried him, in the yard that he so faithfully spent his whole life watching over and protecting. By evening my courage ran out and the grief I had been running from all day caught up with me. I might not have been his best friend but I loved that dog with all my heart.


    The following days brought some realizations. The biggest one was when we realized what a HUGE presence Jake the dog really was. It’s the sort of thing you don’t notice until it’s taken away from you. We existed around him, he was the hub of our household. We did all things with him in mind, so now our daily lives have a lot less purpose. We are a little distant, a little broken, and a little lost. There are no intense brown eyes to tell us what he wants or what he needs. There’s no soft head to pet or the gentle touch of a wet nose.


    God we miss him. You were a good boy Jake, the best.






    Sherry Richards was a 23 year Saskatoon resident who abandoned her familiar surroundings and moved North to live and write in Saskatchewan's boreal forest.

    Contact Sherry by emailing tillee@sasktel.net


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