Birth: 16 Apr 2004
Death: 23 Jan 2019
“My dog does this amazing thing where he just exists and makes my whole life better because of it.”
Chihuahua. So not a breed of dog that I would ever have thought I would ever own. I’ve always been more into the working breeds, (ie: GSD, Dobermans, Boxers, Rotties, etc.) But way back in 2004, my ex (who wasn’t an ex at the time) and I stopped at a pet store. (Ok, please don’t yell at me about buying a pet store dog. I now know all about puppy mills and stuff. I know, I know. But back then I didn’t really know, or didn’t think about it, or whatever. If I ever get another dog it will be a rescue. Please don’t yell at me.)
Honestly we were just out enjoying the day when we decided to go in and look around. It was something to do.
I said “No dogs”, but somehow we walked out with a dog, who we ended up naming Jack. This dog went across country with us a few times; he was a great traveling companion. But I always told people he wasn’t MY dog. I mean my ex was the one that talked me into getting him. And they seemed pretty attached to each other.
Fast forward to 2013.
We had moved from Florida to Minnesota in 2010 to be closer to her family after I got laid off work. Then in March of 2013, My ex and I split. I was devastated. Don’t get me wrong, there were things wrong on both sides. I take my fair share of the blame there. But when she was preparing to move out, I was informed that I got to take the dog, she was taking the cat. (Um, what? He’s not my dog, but ok.)
I was now keeping the dog.
It’s probably a good thing I got him. You see I have PTSD, it’s probably actually CPTSD but that’s just now becoming a thing. And along with PTSD, I get a side of anxiety (with panic attacks) and depression.
Woohoo….I have a trifecta of mental crap! Yay! Go team me! /end sarcasm.
But the one living being who helped me through all of the break up and mental stuff was Jack, my little chi.
He was there when no one else was.
He laid next to me when I cried.
Back when I was in therapy, I’d come home and talk to him about it. Jack was the one I celebrated with when I got my first degree black belt. He celebrated birthdays with me, and helped me when I was down.
Because no matter how much I wanted to just hide from everyone and not get out of bed, I had to get up.
Jack needed me, to go out, or to be fed, or whatever. I could not neglect him just because I was a mess.
I had to keep going because this little sweet soul needed me. Even when I felt like no one really needed me for anything, Jack did. He depended on me for food, shelter and companionship.
As much as he needed me, I ended up needing him as well. I needed someone to get excited to see me. I’d come home from work and he was so glad I was home. Jack was the one thing in my life who wanted me there.
It was he and I against the world.
I took him to parks, we went on drives together. He heard me rant about stuff and listened to all my stories. If I was anxious he came and sat in my lap so I would pet him. We were best buds.
Late last year I was beginning to suspect that something was going on with him. There was nothing I could pinpoint and say, that’s it.
So I just kept an eye on him.
He was still the same loving dog he was just slowing down a bit; he WAS 14 years old, not a young kid anymore.
So I just kept an eye on him.
Then in January of this year, he took a turn.
I’m not going into it all but I did get him to the vet. They did blood work to start because we didn’t know what was going on. This was a place to start trying to figure it out. His blood work came back all normal. She said according to his blood work he was healthy.
The vet said the next step was getting some imagining done to see if there was tumors or something else.
But we didn’t get that far. His blood work came back on a Tuesday afternoon and Jack died in my arms the next day.
It was Wednesday the 23rd of January at about 8pm.
I don’t know what happened to him.
But I do know a part of me died that day.
He might not have been a trained emotional support dog, but that’s the job he fell into, he was there for me through some dark times. I’ve cried more over the death of this dog then I have over anyone else, human or animal.
I’m crying right now typing this.
I don’t even feel like I’m putting into the proper words what this dog meant to me.
I’m still not over his death and I’m not sure I ever will be. I’m still grieving seven months later.
I still talk to his ashes and tell him mamma loves him.
When I make popcorn I still put a piece or two by his ashes. He loved popcorn.
I have a couple of wonderful friends who had a book made for me, one of those Shutterfly ones.
One of my friends works in marketing (she’s a graphic designer) so she swiped the photos from my Facebook. My other friend, who is my TKD instructor, found the quotes.
So they made me a book of my Jack.
It’s probably the greatest gift I’ve been given. I have a shelf with a couple of photos of him and one of our other dog Abbie. The book is there too.
Jack’s ashes are there along with a clay heart with Jack’s paw prints. I call it my shrine.
I miss him…
I fell back into my depression and my anxiety has been worse. It’s been a rough year.
But I’m slowly trying to pull myself out of it. I’ve been trying to make myself get out of the apartment more. I’ve been trying to take walks in the park near here.
It’s the one Jack and I went to the most in his last 6 months before he passed. It took me several months to even drive back into that park. I still haven’t been able to bring myself to clean the inside of the windows in my van, his nose prints are still on them.
But I’m trying to do more, to get out.
But it’s hard. So very hard.
Jack’s ashes are in a small box inside of a velvet bag with embroidery. It says, “Until we meet again at the Rainbow Bridge.”
Jackie.. I cried reading this. My little Dog Oreo was my 18 yr old daughters dog when she moved out of my house on her own.she got him… as I never wanted a dog either. He fit in a coffee cup when she got him.he was the runt of the litter and other dogs pushed him away from his momma .. we thought he was going to die… so I helped her dropper feed him. She didn’t have time to care for him in her busy world so I ended up with him at my house and vowed to find him a good home that he needed.. when finally weighed about a pound.. I found one but then could not give him up. Your very own words are dejavu for me. Oreo saw me through rough times and was my rock. He licked my tears when I cried and melted my heart.. no better person in the world than this dog was to me. He Protected me from my boyfriend ( lol no reason to but he felt he needed to) as I think he was fearful for his momma. He was a viscious little guy .. when he saw fear..even when my boyfriend merely tried to kiss me … lol . That was scary for him.. he would be on my lap and Eric would try to kiss me and he would freak out and try to attack him…A nervous little 8 lb dog he was and he also had anxiety when I would go to work and he would not eat when I went on vacation without him once!! but when he cuddled with me nothing mattered for either of us. He was my baby for his 11.5 years and a “ professional” therapy dog also .. even though he didn’t know even what that was and I miss him every single day too. I Never felt that kind of love and he was always excited to see me. His favorite food was raw potatoes and drove me insane over them.. he would sit and bark at the potato bag.. and then come to me and run toward the bag to encourage me to make potatoes for dinner. He was so smart. I have suffered from depression for many yeArs too and he was my medication too.. even though I took pills daily for it .. he was my life…. he died in my arms on Nov 8 2017 at 6:24 am. He had kidney disease and I gave him meds and IV’s to prolong his life . Something in me died that day too. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t hear him bark, feel his presence or still find a little white hair or cry missing him . I’m crazy I know but sometimes I hear him bark!! I have his ashes his favorite toy, his T-shirt “ cool joe” as his nickname was “Joe” and his clay paws on a shelf also. I’m fortunate I got to be loved by him.. I try to stay strong because he taught me that you don’t have to be a big important person to be strong. He was a strong lil guy himself and when things go wrong now.. I’m depressed or lonely.. or I feel the my world is crumbling.. I remember how he would lick my tears or bring his ball to me to throw to get my mind off things. He was so smart as it worked!! I wish I had words to comfort you but I don’t .. i know exactly every word you spoke in this….I share your pain. Our dogs even look similar .. Oreo was a toy fox terrier. Hugs to you.