A white and brown dog sitting on a wooden deck.

Goodbye Old Friend


My husband always wanted a Boston Terrier.  But the few I had known were just OK..nothing I could get excited about.   So when a new puppy was in our future, he insisted we at least go and look at Bostons. So I found the best breeder in the region and grudgingly made the trip deep in the south Texas countryside. To  convince him this was not the breed for us. So I could get on with the business of finding the  puppy (whose breed shall remain anonymous) that was really right for us.                 

It was love at first sight.

Who could resist that mischievous little face! But it wasn’t just that. He was so full of joy – so excited just to be Jake. And  we “got” each other. The breeder even noticed it – “He usually doesn’t like people..” she said.  Thirty minutes later I was headed home with my Jake.

As anyone who has spent any time with a Boston knows, they are sweet, loving, intelligent, AND stubborn AND full of mischief.  

Jake was not an easy pup. I stopped counting the shoes he destroyed.  I never could find him  when he didn’t want to be found.  He opened cabinets and unzipped backpacks.  He was an escape artist – we traced him to a friend’s pool two neighborhoods over, retrieved  him from a disgruntled farmer’s chicken coop.  We chased him down railroad tracks, through the  piney woods.   But  we always found him  and I think he somehow  knew we would. 

But Jake was so much more.   We trained as a therapy team and he was a star.  He brought so much joy to the people he visited.  When he was with fragile patients he was a different dog, calm, sweet, loving. When we brought Jesse home, he loved her on sight.  He seemed to think she was his puppy. He was her protector, her best buddy, they were inseparable.  They loved
A person sitting on the ground in front of water.rides on the boat  long walks, chew toys  after
dinner. They never fought.  I never heard Jake growl.  His heart was soooo big.

 I knew I would probably outlive Jake. But I didn’t  believe it.  I’ve never been prepared for the loss of a pet,  but this was a sucker punch. Cancer hit him hard and took him swiftly.  

Within two weeks of his first hacking cough, I was holding him in my arms as his last breath drifted from his body.  It did not comfort me that his suffering was brief or that he had a good life.  Nothing did. I was frozen. 

 After a few days I put away his harness and collar, his bowl, his favorite pillow. So I’d know he wasn’t coming back.  But weeks later, I still  expect to see him snoozing on the sofa, think I hear him barking at the neighbor dog, expect to see him bolting through the dog door, chasing Jesse.

Each day is  less raw.  And one day- it won’t be soon – as it has been for all the  little animals whose lives I’ve  privileged to share, I will feel more gratitude for the joy he gave me than the pain of his loss.