Welcome to Jake's Rainbow Bridge Memorial Residency
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Memories of Jake
1/17/18: Jake and Jasmine, I miss you both so much! Jasmine, tomorrow will mark 4 weeks since you died and I guess it's finally really sinking in that I'll never see you again. It hurts, Baby Girl. Indy misses you, too. It snowed today - 4". It brought back memories of the two of you trying to walk on the iced-over snow that one year. I'm so glad I have a few memories of it on video. I wish I could be with you both. Life is so hard. I hold you both in my heart. That will need to get me through. Love always, Mom

1/6/18: Jake, 12 years ago you came into my life and it was never the same. Knowing you changed me for the better and I'll never forget you. Please don't forget me, and enjoy having your sister with you until we can all be together again. Jake and Jazz, I love you both so much. Thank you both for the love and the memories. Love, Mom

12/25/17: Merry Christmas, babies! I cling to your memories and hold you both in my heart. I picture you together again, both of you young and agile and playing in the yard like you used to. Today we celebrate Christ's birth. While I still grieve your loss - especially Jasmine's - it is a joyful day and a day of hope. I love you both...forever. Love, Mom

12/21/17: Jasmine left this morning around 8:15. I'm heartbroken, but I know I did the right thing. She was ready...I can see now how sick and tired she had become over the past year. She's at peace now, and for that I'm grateful. I carry you both in my broken heart. Love, Mom

12/20/17: Jake, tomorrow morning I will be sending Jasmine to the Rainbow Bridge. She's very sick and is suffering and I have to do right by her and let her go in peace. Please keep a look out for her and tell her how sorry I am, and that I love her and will miss her for the rest of my life (same goes for you). I've told her myself already, but it can't hurt for her to hear it again. Indy and I are spending one last night with her, saying our goodbyes and having an all-you-can-eat dinner of chicken and turkey breasts. I bet you'll be so happy to see her again. I love you, and will be back on Christmas. Love, Mom

11/27/17: 4 years have come and gone now. I miss you as much as ever. Your candle still burns in your memory in front of your picture. I'm afraid Jasmine will be joining you soon. Her hips are giving out on her and she's nothing but skin and bones. I'm heartbroken already, but it's inevitable. I've asked her to please let me know when she's ready. I'll let you know when she's on her way to you. I'm at a loss for words right now, but everything I've said before remains true today and always will. I love you now and always. 🐾🐾 Love, Mom

1/6/17: 11 years ago, you came into my life, my home and my heart. You no longer grace my home and my life in the physical sense, but you remain in my heart and in my mind. Your pictures are still my screensaver and I have pictures of you in my bedroom and living room. The tears still come, especially on milestone days like today. "Your girl" is still with me, getting older (as we all do), but as sweet and feisty as ever. I just don't know where the time goes...What I do know is that I love you and miss you so much. Thank you for bringing love and joy to my life. <3 Love, Mom

11/27/16: My dearest Jake, 3 years have come and gone now. I don't want to talk about doubts and regrets about my decision to let you go (though they are there). Today, I just want to tell you how much I love you and how much you've meant to me. Whatever my shortcomings were (are) -- my impatience and selfishness -- I know you forgave me and I know you loved me. While there's no extraordinary story behind how you and I came to meet, I do believe that somehow it was part of God's plan, and I cherish those 7 years, 10 months and 3 weeks that my life was graced with you. I always will. You live on in my heart and in my sweet memories of you. Yes, I still cry, but it's only because I miss you so much. I can smile, too, recalling a funny memory of you. The other day I chuckled when I remembered how you'd leave the room when I was upset about something. You'd slink away as if in slow motion, putting one foot down, then pausing before lifting the other foot and putting it down. I guess you thought if you moved slowly enough that I wouldn't notice. While I'm sorry to have upset you in any way (you were always very sensitive, as Indy now is), it was/is a funny memory for me. Your candle is lit on the shelf above the TV in front of your picture and Jasmine is laying on the couch behind me. She's getting older, at a faster pace it seems lately. She's still hanging in there for now, for which I'm grateful. Indy is doing well -- as I mentioned before, he's also very sensitive and has many hang-ups. I do love him. Remembering you with so much love and fondness on this bittersweet day. All my love, Mom.

7/1/16: You're always in my heart, my sweet boy. How I long to cup your face in my hands and kiss your head. I ache to gaze into those beautiful brown eyes of yours and feel our connection...to look over and see you peacefully resting in your spot...to hear your contented sighs. Time ticks by and life goes on...but it will never be the same as it was when you graced it. You've still got a piece of my heart and always will. I love you...Mom (P.S. Jazzy says "hello")

1/6/16: 10 years ago I adopted you and for 7 years, 10 months and 21 days you blessed my life with yours. Thank you, God, for this gift. Thank you, Jake, for trusting in me and loving me despite times when I was unlovable. My arms feel empty but my heart is full - at least the part you left behind. I will always love you, my boy. With tears, a smile and so much love, Mom.

11/27/15: 2 years have now passed and your absence still hurts. I still think of you each day and long to hold you again. Jasmine is still here with me and is in fairly good health. Her legs give her problems here and there and gray is creeping further and further up her face with each passing month. Indy has now been with us for a little over a year and a half, and he and Jazz get along just fine. A few weeks ago while Indy and I were taking a walk we came across a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. He had no tags and I brought him home with us so he wouldn't get hurt. I haven't been able to find his owners but a Corgi foster group contacted me and is going to find him a new home. I'm fostering him temporarily until he's ready to be adopted (he gets neutered next week). He's very sweet and just loves Indy. Today will be a beautiful day (close to 70), and I am going to spend some time outside in the yard with the dogs. Of course I'll visit your "spot" near the maple tree. Jake, I'm going through a hard time right now. There are some uncertainties regarding my health and I'm praying for peace and acceptance of God's will with whatever may come. Just know that I love you still and always will. I know that wherever you are, you are at peace, and I hope we are reunited again in eternity when my time comes to leave this world. I love you...

8/27/15: 1 year and 9 mos. since you crossed over to Rainbow Bridge. You remain my thoughts and memories, and the pictures of you throughout the house keep you memory close every day. Jasmine is getting older, and I dread the day I will have to say goodbye to her. Until that time comes, I will love her and give her as good a life as I can. Indy is doing well. Some of his characteristics remind me of you. Jake, I will always love you.

5/27/15: It's been 18 months since I looked into those soft brown eyes. A year and a half since I put my cheek on your head, my hand on your heart and sent you on your way with so much love and so many tears. The tears still come. They come now as I type this. Jake, there is such an emptiness in my life. I have Jasmine and Indy (thank God), but I still miss you so very much. Pictures of you surround me - in the bedroom, living room, computer and TV, but you're not here to pet, to hold, to talk to and just feel that connection with. Jasmine is getting older and showing her age more and more. I've been concerned about her lately. Over the weekend she started showing signs of discomfort. I think I need to take her in to the vet to get checked out but I'm so scared of what they might tell me. I can't lose her yet, Jake. It would just be too much. Indy is doing pretty well. I love him very much. He has helped my heart start to heal from your loss. He'll never be you (I know that), nor will he ever take the place you occupy in my heart...that's just for you! Oh, how I wish you were still here with me. I'd hold you tight and never let go. But I have to let go, don't I? That's part of life...the really heartbreaking and painful part. I have lit your candle tonight and I will spend a few quiet moments remembering the happy times and the joy you brought into my life, and I'll try my hardest not to cry too much. Just know that you're on my mind and in my heart always. Be happy and think of me from time to time. I'll be here, thinking of you every day. I love you, Mom

1/6/15: Jake, on this day 9 years ago I met you and took you home with me. You blessed my life for nearly 8 years (2,882 days to be exact). The weeks, months and years flew by and now it's been over 13 months without you...405 days without you. My heart hurts today and I have been crying since yesterday, missing "my boy". Life isn't the same (nor will it ever be again) without you here. I have come to accept this in my mind, but my heart hasn't. I will always long for you. But I will keep and cherish your memory in my heart for as long as I live. This morning by chance I came across a quote from a book that I had been reading around this time last year and had shared with a friend via email. I want to post it here so that I can come back to it whenever I am missing you terribly and need encouragement:

"So it is not true that the good things we have known we will never see again. All that is lost will be found and transformed. John the Evangelist does not reveal to us that we will forget the earth, but that there will be "a new heaven and a new earth" (Rev 21:1). He reminds us that although we do not yet know what we will be, we will be like Jesus, and "we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2). And this Jesus, who walked our earth...and who spoke to people, and broke bread among them, and knew the joy and the heartbreak of friendship - this Jesus, who came to bring us life and that in abundance, will not despise the small and humble memories we cherish, and which he shares with us, in his blessed humanity."
--Reflections on the Christian Life: How Our Story Is God's Story (Dr. Anthony Esolen)

Happy Gotcha Day! I love you, Jake. Love, Mom


12/25/14: It's Christmas morning and you are on my mind and heart. I bought an artificial tree this year (finally) and decorated it the other night. There's an ornament that's a picture frame and I put a picture of you in it. It hangs in a prominent spot, right at eye level. I wonder if you would have crawled under the tree this year like you did at Uncle Mike's that one year. I've been a little worried about Jasmine lately. She doesn't seem to feel well. I've been keeping a close eye on her. The weather has been wet and rainy for the past 3 days but the rain has finally lifted. I'm going to take Jazz and Indy for a walk (we haven't been able to because of the rain); maybe that will lift her spirits. I miss you so much, Jake. You'll always be part of me. Merry Christmas, my boy!

11/27/14: My dear boy, a year ago today you lost your life and I lost a piece of my heart. Words cannot possibly express the emotions I'm feeling. I have thought of you each and every day, usually with tears. To think that I'll never see you again in this life...never hear you, never touch or smell you...sometimes the pain seems more than I can bear. I'm so grateful to the people I've met through this site who understand. Some of them have even become friends (sadly, a few have passed on).
Today is also Thanksgiving Day and I am very thankful to God for His gift to me -- YOU! You blessed my life for almost 8 years and I am forever changed. As I move on with Jasmine (and now Indy), know that I will always cherish your memory and hold you close in my heart (that's where you live now). I always pray that I will see you again on the other side. I love you, Jake! Please be waiting for me...

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Living Love
by Martin Scot Kosins

If you ever love an animal, there are three days in your life you will always remember...

The first is a day blessed with happiness, when you bring home your young new friend. You may have spent weeks deciding on a breed. You may have asked numerous opinions of many vets, or done long research in finding a breeder. Or, perhaps in a fleeting moment, you may have just chosen that silly looking mutt in a shelter simply because something in its eyes reached your heart. But when you bring that chosen pet home and watch it explore and claim its special place in your hall or front room, and when you feel it brush against you for the first time, it instills a feeling of pure love you will carry with you through the many years to come.

The second day will occur eight or nine or ten years later. It will be a day like any other. Routine and unexceptional. But, for a surprising instant, you will look at your longtime friend and see age where you once saw youth. You will see slow deliberate steps where you once saw energy. And you will see sleep where you once saw activity. So you will begin to adjust your friend's diet and you may add a pill or two to h[is] food. And you may feel a growing fear deep within yourself, which bodes of a coming emptiness. And you will feel this uneasy feeling, on and off, until the third day finally arrives.

And on this day, if your friend and God have not decided for you, then you will be faced with making a decision of your own on behalf of your lifelong friend, and with the guidance of your own deepest spirit. But whichever way your friend eventually leaves you, you will feel as alone as a single star in the dark night. If you are wise you will let the tears flow as freely and as often as they must. And if you are typical you will find that not many in your circle of family or friends will be able to understand your grief or comfort you. But if you are true to the love of the pet you cherished through the many joy-filled years, you may find that a soul a bit smaller in size than your own seems to walk with you at times during the lonely days to come. And at moments when you least expect anything out of the ordinary to happen you may feel something brush against your leg very, very lightly. And looking down at the place where your dear (perhaps dearest) friend used to lay, you will remember those three significant days. The memory will most likely be painful and leave an ache in your heart. As time passes the ache will come and go as it has a life of its own. You will both reject it and embrace it, and it may confuse you. If you reject it, it will depress you. If you embrace it, it will deepen you. Either way, it will still be an ache.

But there will be, I assure you, a fourth day when, along with the memory of your pet and piercing through the heaviness in your heart, there will come a realization that belongs only to you. It will be as unique and strong as our relationship with each animal we have loved and lost. This realization takes the form of a Living Love--like the heavenly scent of a rose that remains after the petals have wilted, this love will remain and grow, and be there for us to remember. It is a love we have earned. It is the legacy our pets leave us when they go. And it is a gift we may keep with us as long as we live. It is a love which is ours alone. And until we ourselves leave, perhaps to join our beloved pets, it is a love that we will always possess.

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10/22/14: Jake, my boy. I'm so sad. I found out last night that a friend I met here on this site passed away on Oct 4th. We met when I signed his Angel's guestbook 3.5 years ago. He loved her and missed her so much. I pray that he has been reunited with his beloved Angel, and that someday I'll be reunited with you and we'll all meet each other in person. I'm just so sad. It seems like death and heartache are around every corner these days, and it's so hard to be joyful. I've missed you desperately and have cried so many tears. It's been almost 11 months without you. I love and miss you -- SO VERY MUCH. You are in my thoughts every single day, and you will ALWAYS remain in my heart. <3 Mom

9/19/14: I have changed the season to Fall here on your page. Fall has always been my favorite season. It will be bittersweet now, since it's the season during which I lost you. When the weather gets cooler and the wind blows the orange and yellow leaves through the air, I will think of you. I love you!

8/27/14: It has been 9 months. Sometimes it feels like you just left days ago. At other times it feels like it's been years. I still struggle with your loss. It doesn't feel like I'll ever get over it. You were (and are) so special to me. I'm remembering you today with smiles and tears and sending you all the love in my broken heart. <3

7/27/14: 8 months without you. The pain is still deep. You enter my thoughts daily (and rarely without tears). I'd give anything to see and touch you again, but since that can't be right now, I will hold you close in my heart and pray that you can feel/hear me. I've been having a hard time lately. This has been a difficult year. I'm so grateful for Jasmine and Indy to help fill some of the void -- more so for Jasmine since you knew her and so I feel like she's a connection to you. But Indy has found his own special place in my heart. He does some things that remind me of you, but he's not you and that's okay. Jake, I pray so much to see you again one day. That hope is the only thing that gets me through some days. I love you!

7/25/14: i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

6/15/14: I'm still here...still missing you...still crying. I know you wouldn't like that but I can't help it. There will never be another Jake and I just can't seem to get over that. I miss you terribly. I always will.

5/15/14: Hi, Mr. Stinkums. I am missing you so much, and while the tears don't come quite as often as they used to, I still find myself breaking down and sobbing at times. How I wish that when I step out of the shower and look over into the bedroom that I would see you there on the bed, laying against the pillows, waiting for me. How I wish that when I pulled into the garage that I'd still hear your baying from inside the house. What I wouldn't give to hear you chasing squirrels in your dreams again. I try not to think about how sad it makes me feel to know that I'll never see, hear or touch you again in my life. I wish I could go back in time to the way it was 3-4 years ago, when you were happy and healthy.
Jake, I have some news. Last Monday (5/5), I adopted a dog. His name is Indy and he's mostly black, but has a lot of brown that you can really see in the sun. He also has a little white on his chin, chest and one of his toes. His legs are on the short side (I've already nicknamed him "Squirt" and "Little Guy"). I don't know what breed(s) he is. He is so sweet and he reminds me of you in many ways. His whine sounds like yours; he follows me everywhere like you did (even into the bathroom); he always has to be the first out the door when I let him and Jasmine outside or when we go for walks; he's a messy drinker (even messier than you). He's also great on walks, like you were, and one of his favorite spots was in the corner between the couch and coffee table - your favorite spot. He uses your crate and eats out of your food bowl. I felt very guilty about that at first, but he needed them. Now they are being put to good use. I hope you don't mind, buddy. You will ALWAYS be "my boy", and no one will ever take that special place in my heart that's reserved for you alone. Indy and his sister were living in the woods as puppies. People were feeding them until Tracey could get them to come to live with her. His sister was adopted a while ago. I actually wasn't even intending on adopting a boy dog. I was looking for a female because I thought it would be too hard to have another boy so soon after losing you. But the dog I was interested in wouldn't have been a good fit with Jasmine. Tracey and Allison thought Indy would be perfect for Jasmine and they were right. He has really fit in well here and I can tell he already knows this is his "forever home". I love you...always

4/20/14: Hi buddy. It's Easter morning. I know it's been a while since I've written any messages here but that doesn't mean you haven't been in my daily thoughts. You have. It has been over 20 weeks since I had to let you go. I still miss you terribly and I still cry for you but the pain is not as sharp as it was those first 3 months. I am able to smile more when I look at pictures of you and recall some funny memory of you. I feel like that "fourth day" that is spoken of in the posting below is getting closer. I have pictures of you all around me and my computer and AppleTV screen savers shuffle through hundreds of pictures and videos I have of you. Soon I will be adopting another dog. It's time to open my heart to another dog who needs a home. Jazzy has been very lonely without her buddy and I think it would help lift her spirits if she had a new buddy. I think it goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway) that you cannot and will not ever be replaced, Jake. I recently changed your tombstone photo to my favorite picture of you. I love looking at that picture. It captures your personality perfectly. That smile and those shining eyes I miss so much, and I wish I could rub your ears and kiss you between your eyes again. I continue to hope that I will be able to again one day. Happy Easter, Jakey Boy...I love you!

3/11/14: Today I found the courage to throw away your "Lamb Chop" and stuffed fox. Neither one of them had any stuffing left in them (and hadn't for a quite a while). You always chewed holes in them and pulled the stuffing out, sometimes within the first few minutes of me giving them to you. I don't know how many Lamb Chops you went through, there were so many. They still had pieces of your fur stuck in them and had your dried up slobber on them. I sat and cried and tried (in vain) to smell your scent on them. The weather has been beautiful for the past few days. We've had the screen door open and Jasmine has spent a lot of time taking sun naps on the patio. I can picture the two of you laying there together, sharing a bed (like in one of the pictures here). I miss you so much, my handsome boy! I always will. All my love...

3/9/14: The birds are out singing their hearts out and spring is just around the corner. Time to change the scenery. I left you a chewy. Still missing my boy. That will never change. I love you with all my heart!

2/27/14: Yesterday marked 13 weeks exactly and today it has been 3 months since we said goodbye. Still miss you so much. Still cry. You were such a big part of this home and I see you everywhere. Everywhere I turn, memories flood to my mind of when you were here. It is bittersweet, but I'm happy they come because I never want to forget them. I'm so sorry for the times I may have failed you, or when I fussed at you (always so sensitive). I know can't change the past...I try not to dwell on these things, but those thoughts do creep in from time to time. I hope you knew/know how very much I love you, Jake. You are always on my mind and in my heart. Love, Me

2/23/14: Jake, we had our first thunderstorms of the year this past week. The first one was really bad. It came at 2am on Wednesday. I couldn't help but think about how upset you would have been...panting and drooling. Poor Jazzy was scared. She hid in my closet. This coming week will mark 13 weeks and 3 full months since you left us. I have my bad days still, but I think I'm doing better. Still miss you so much and carry you in my heart.

2/12/14: Today marks 11 weeks since you left. Jake, I've been so sad. I wish I could think of you without being sad. Yesterday I took Jazz to the vet for her exam and heartworm test. It was the first time I've been back since that horrible day. It was so hard, and to make things worse, we ended up in the same exam room. It's just one of many "firsts" I have to get through. Your pictures are everywhere - on my computer screensaver and as a screensaver on Apple TV. I will continue to hold you in my heart and cling to the memories of our time together. I just wish it didn't make me so sad. Missing you like crazy. Mom
2/1/14: My boy, I'm missing you terribly. This past week has been unbelievably busy with work. Jake, it's not the same without you. I'm crying now as I type this. The other day, I was missing you and talking to you and God and saying how much I hope there really is a Rainbow Bridge and that I will see you again on the other side. I said I hoped you could hear me and asked Jesus to pet you and tell you how much I love and miss you. I had my iPod playing my "Instrumental" playlist...the one I played every day, all day while I worked and you and Jazz napped. The playlist has over 1,100 songs on it, but at that exact moment, The Piano Guys' song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Simple Gifts" came on and a feeling of peace came over me. It was as if you were sending me a sign that you could hear me and wanted to comfort me. I hope that's what it was...with all my heart. I'm listening to that song now. It makes me feel closer to you. I know you hated to see me upset, but I only cry because I miss you so much. The pain is deep. I'll be okay in time. I wish I could hug and kiss you and feed you and smell your stinky feet and see that goofy smile again. But I know that can't be, so memories will have to carry me. Jake, my boy, I love you beyond words. Please, if you can, send me another sign. I'll be dreaming of you...

1/24/14: Jakey, it has been 8 weeks and 2 days since we said goodbye. I'm still missing you greatly. So is Jazz. I almost adopted a dog last week. His name is Max and he's a 5/yo Golden Retriever/Lab mix. His family is moving to Texas and couldn't take him with them and they were looking for a home for him. I didn't think I was ready to adopt another dog yet, but I just couldn't bear the thought of him going to the shelter. So I emailed the family asking about his personality and health and asked to see a picture. The lady responded right away with a picture and lengthy email about his personality. He was so cute! His personality sounded a lot like yours and his coloring is like Jasmine's. I had decided that if Jasmine got along with him that I would take him in, and I was drafting a reply to set up a meeting when the lady emailed me back saying that her mother was taking him. I have to say, I was a little let down. But I guess it's for the best. At least Max gets to live with someone he knows, and that will make the stress of his family moving away much less. Plus, he may even be able to see them again if/when they visit. That experience made me realize that maybe I'm more ready to adopt a dog than I had thought. I have to put those plans on hold for now though. My company announced that more layoffs are coming. Well, Jake, I must go and work. You're always in my thoughts. I love you!

1/8/14: Jake, I'm really missing you lately. I thought I had turned a corner, but these past few weeks have been so tough. It has been 6 weeks today since I last saw you, touched you, spoke to you. I think about you every day...many times. I wasn't able to get through the 6th without crying as I had hoped, but I did my best. I just can't believe I will never see you again in my life. So many "what ifs" and "if onlys". I try not to dwell on them because I know it can't change the past, but it still happens. With my memory being as bad as it is, I'm afraid that one day I'll forget so much about you and our many wonderful memories. As painful as it is right now to remember, it hurts even more to think that I may one day forget. That's why I'm putting my memories here and copying them onto a Word document just in case anything should ever happen to this site. I am going to document my many nicknames and "Jake sayings", too. I'm going to leave that one just for my private document. You know how silly I would get and some of those would be downright embarrassing to put here :). Jazz and I are taking comfort in each other right now. She really misses you, too. We just miss our buddy so much! She looked so sad today that I asked her if she was ready for a new buddy. I don't think I am ready yet though. I'll know when the time is right. Goodnight, Jake. I love you.

1/6/14: 8 years ago today, you and I met, Jake. I adopted you from LDCRF. I took Mike with me. I don't remember what it was about you specifically that drew me to you, I just know something did. As I filled out the paperwork, you went over to Mike and curled up right in his lap! I wish I had a picture of that moment...although Mammaw was just reminding me of the time you stood on my Aunt Peggy's chest and I did get a picture of that. I'll have to dig it up later. I love and miss you so much, Bear! It's a new year now and I've made some resolutions to help me become a better person. Thank you for loving me no matter how moody I was sometimes. Today I celebrate your life. No tears of sadness, just gratitude to God for the gift of YOU accompanied with smiles and chuckles about the sweet and funny things you did. Love to you...always and forever. <3

12/27/13: One month ago today...It was a sad a lonely Christmas. Last night was really hard. I couldn't stop crying. I have to take Jasmine to the kennel today. I called earlier to confirm and I got choked up when I told Christy that you passed away last month. I hope and pray I see you again on the other side. I love you!

12/25/13: Merry Christmas, Jake. Today marks 4 weeks since I lost you. I miss you...so much. As I said before, it's just not "home" without you. I love you.

12/22/13: Missing my boy :'(

12/14/13: Jake, buddy, you're still ever in my heart and thoughts. I still cry for you because I miss you so much, but the pain is not quite as sharp as it first was. Jasmine is doing better, too, I think. I wish you were still here...I want you back...but that cannot be and I must accept it. Besides, I wouldn't want you to have to suffer as much as I know you did in your last days. I try to take comfort in knowing you're in God's hands now, and I hope and pray that I'll see you again on the other side. Today I will recall happy memories of our life together. Love you so much!

12/7/13: It has been 10 days since I held your face in my hands and said goodbye to you. It was a hard day and I broke down 3 times. While I was cleaning the house this morning I found more stands of your hair. Out of nowhere, while I was exercising I started to cry. I guess memories of how you would lay in your crate which was right next to the treadmill entered my mind. I needed to get a few things from Target and I took Jazz along with me for the car ride. As I was coming back to the car and went to open the trunk, the woman in the car parked next to mine said, "Excuse me, but aren't there usually two dogs?" I couldn't believe someone would remember seeing you guys in the car, since I don't go there that often and didn't bring you very often. I asked, "You remember them?" and she answered "Yes, I took a picture of them. They always look so cute sitting in there - one in the front seat and the other in the back, looking out the window." (It was at that point that I started to remember her from one of the last few times I took you guys. She had talked to me then and commented on how cute the two of you were and that you were so cute that she had taken a picture.) She then asked where "the one in the backseat" was and I had to tell her that you died last week. She said she was sorry and that she has two dogs and wouldn't know what to do if she lost them. Then she asked what happened and I briefly explained. Then I left and cried in the car on the way home. I picked up the mail on the way in and there was a sympathy card from the vet's office an enclosed piece of thick yellow paper with your paw print on it. I lost it again. I brought the paper with your paw print on it to Jasmine and she sniffed it all over, like she could smell your scent on it. She still misses you, too. I ordered a special picture frame that I will put your picture in and set on my window seat in the bedroom, next to Heidi's. It's made of cement and resin and on the top is a heart with a paw print in it and above the heart is a halo. At the bottom is inscribed "You have left my life, but you will never leave my heart". I love you, buddy, and miss you terribly.

12/4/13: It has been one week (almost to the minute) since you left me. I think about you all the time. The tears don't come quite as often, but they still come daily. Jasmine and I are trying to adjust to life without you. There are traces and memories of you everywhere in the house. Treat time and bedtime will never be the same. The other night, as Jasmine and I were climbing the stairs for bed, I calculated that I had followed you up them at least 1700 bedtimes in the past 5+ years we've lived here. Toward the end of your life, it was harder for you to climb them, but you were always determined to be the first one to the top and once there, you'd either turn around with a panting smile and give me a quick kiss as I reached the top or you'd trot into the bedroom so you could be sure to beat Jasmine to your bed on the floor. Oh Jake, I miss you so much!

11/30/13: It has been three days now. The pain of your loss has deepened. You and Jasmine are what make this house a home. It's not home anymore without you. I miss you more than words can say...

11/28/13: Buddy, this morning was hard. I was able to wake up slowly and gently and that made me miss you all the more. With you, I always knew that if I moved at all after the sun came up, to you, that meant it was time to get up and you'd start your morning ritual of rubbing your face on your bed and then jump up onto my bed and do the same thing and then stand on me. I used to wish that you would let me wake up slower and gentler, but now that I can, I don't like it so much. Who's going to make sure that I get out of bed on time now? I also missed your little "happy squeaks" that you would make when going down the stairs to start the day. Now it's quiet and what I wouldn't give to hear those squeaks again. Yesterday, I actually thought I had heard them a few times.
It's the little, everyday things about you and our life together that make me miss you terribly. Your spot on the floor between the couch and coffee table is empty now. I thought of all the hours you spent there and how many dreams you had of chasing squirrels and the clicking sounds your toenails would make against the table when you "ran".
I opened the freezer and saw an unopened box of Frosty Paws, one of your favorite treats. I meant to give one to you on Tuesday, but you took turn for the worse and never felt good again after that.
I miss how excited you would get in the morning when I went to put my socks on because you knew that's the last thing I do before going downstairs, and that meant you'd soon get your morning treats.
I miss your "poop run" - how, after you did your business, you would run all around the yard (sometimes in figure 8's) or you'd just pause, look at me waiting at the open sliding door and come charging inside at full speed.
I miss how you used to help me get your supper and treats ready, following me into the garage and sitting next to my feet while I filled your bowl or picked out a treat from the shelf. It made me so sad this morning to only pull out one of each treat. It should be two. It was always two.
I miss how much you loved going for your rides. The mere mention of the words "Wanna go for a ride?" and you and Jazz would trot into the garage. You always made sure you got to jump into the car first. Then, as Jazzy climbed in, you would paw at her face. I took her with me to Steve's today. I couldn't leave her alone. She really misses you, Jake. As I was driving, I glanced into the rear-view mirror to the backseat, half expecting to see your smiling face and cute little head in the reflection. It's tough to look at the backseat, where I sat with you yesterday morning before the vet techs came to carry you inside.
I try not to think of those final moments in the exam room, when you took your last breath and your heart stopped beating and your eyes remained open but the life in them was gone. I tried to close your eyes but they wouldn't stay closed. Well, here come the tears again. I know you're at peace. I just miss my boy! :'( I love you, Jake. Happy Thanksgiving.

11/27/13: Today I had to say goodbye to my buddy, Jake. I adopted Jake on 1/6/2006 from Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation in VA after my beagle, Heidi, passed away. Because he had been a stray, his exact age was unknown but was estimated to be between 4 and 6 years. He had been named "Miller" by the rescue group, but I renamed him "Jake" because I thought it fit his personality better. Jake loved to sleep and eat. I know nothing of his previous life but I believe he'd had it rough. He was very nervous and cowered and "submitted" a lot in the beginning. Although he never did outgrow that completely, he did in time become much more relaxed around people and loved meeting new people and pets. He always wagged his tail (even in the end when he was in pain) and seemed to think that every person he saw wanted to meet him as much as he wanted to meet them.
Jake was always there for me. He has been my one constant for the past eight years. When I first adopted him, I lived in VA and had roommates. Later that year, we moved to NC. I adopted his "sister", Jasmine, in Feb '08 and they have been best buds from the get go. Jasmine really misses her buddy now.
I have been dreading this day for a while now. I've watched how time painted his muzzle white, slowly at first, almost without me even noticing until one day I looked at him and he was officially "old". Jake had some health issues - enlarged heart, CHF. Those, combined with his love of food made for a fat boy. But he took it all in stride and still enjoyed life. I'll never forget his gait when he was on his walks. The way he would flip his front paws with each step and the way his rear feet pointed slightly out to each side (duck-footed). His gait earned him the nickname "Skippy Jake". I regret that he did not get to enjoy many walks during these last few years due to his health issues.
Although I had been preparing myself for the inevitable, the end came quickly. One minute he was fine and the next he was not. I don't know what happened. He had just come inside from chasing a squirrel (one of his favorite pastimes) and a few minutes later, was in obvious pain. It was a Saturday and the vet was closing soon and did not have any openings. I gave him some pain killers and muscle relaxers that I had left over from earlier prescriptions and did my best to make him comfortable. Monday morning, we went to the vet's and x-rays were taken which showed nothing conclusive except for a possible abdominal issue. We decided to continue with the pain killers and muscle relaxers and to add in Prednisone in the hopes that he had pulled a muscle again in his back (which he had done before) chasing the squirrel. The vet said if that was the issue, he should feel much better in 48 hours. At first, the meds didn't seem to help much, but then on Monday evening it seemed like he had turned a corner and was improving. Then on Tuesday evening it seemed to change on a dime and he was in pain again. He wouldn't move and when he tried to he cried out in pain. That was so hard -- seeing him in pain and being unable to stop it. I will never know exactly what was wrong with him. The vet told me that he most likely had a more serious underlying issue that was causing the pain but it would require further tests (ultrasound). I decided against it due to Jake's current age and quality of life. He had had enough. I could see it in his eyes. I made that dreaded decision to end his pain for good. So this morning I knelt next to him on the floor of the exam room and whispered that I loved him and what a good boy he was as he quietly and peacefully drifted away. I know I made the right choice, but it doesn't make the pain any less although knowing that he is now at peace and out of pain does give me some solace.
But I don't want to recount Jake's last days as much as I want to remember him as he was at his best. That is why I chose a picture from his younger years for his tombstone. That is how I wish to remember him.
These are some of the things I will miss about Jake:
- The way he would bay when I came home and was parking in the garage. He stopped doing that the last few months of his life, but I still always listened for it. His baying would hurt Jasmine's ears and she would be barking. I only heard Jake bark a few times during his life. If he did anything, he bayed or "squeaked".
- The way he ate his food with gusto, sometimes spitting out individual pieces onto the floor. After finishing his own, he would walk over to Jasmine while she ate and lower his head near her bowl, waiting for her to lift her head so he could dig into hers.
- Jake would hang out in the bathroom while I took my shower -- either on the mat in front of the sink, or in front of the shower. When I came out, he would trot out of the bathroom and wait for me in the bedroom.
- When one side of his face was "smashed in" after sleeping.
- When one corner of his upper lip would curl under and get "stuck" on a tooth.
- The way he would stick his tongue out and then lick his lips.
- How sometimes he would make quick little gentle bites on a soft/stuffed toy and at other times he would make it his mission to destroy it, ripping it to shreds and spitting the pieces out into little piles on the carpet.
- His squeaky whine when he was begging for a treat, or the way he would give me that stare and thump his straggly tail against the server cabinets.
- When the three of us were in the car, Jake's usual spot was the backseat and Jasmine would take the front passenger seat. Every once in a while he would decide to come up front to "share" the passenger seat with Jasmine. He was so big he'd end up pushing her up against the door. I'd reach over and pet him with my right hand while I drove, massaging his temples and his ears. When/if I stopped, he'd lean over and nudge my hand with his nose until I resumed the petting.
- The way he took his "Breath Buster" every night (we called this "brushing his teeth"). I would pull the biscuit out of the bag and hold it out in front of him. He would stare quickly and intently at it, eyes dilating, then he'd "snatch" it and trot away into the living room to enjoy it.
- The way he groomed his back paws.
- Rolling around on his back in the grass with a smile on his face.
- High-pitched "woo"s could get him baying. Then Jasmine would join in with her barks (because Jake's baying hurt her ears).
- He loved to be brushed and would push Jasmine out of the way when it was her turn so he could get some more.
- Chasing squirrels, his nemeses.
- Enjoying his rides, sitting in the backseat.
- Burps
- Every morning Jake would scratch his sides by rubbing against the side rails of my bed.
- He loved being toweled off after coming inside from the rain. I'd rub the towel over his body while he rubbed his face on the towel on the carpet.
- When I went upstairs, usually Jake would follow me, trying to beat me to the top. He usually would beat me, and as I got to the top, he'd be standing there with a grin, tongue hanging out and panting. Then I'd lean down to his face and he'd "air kiss" me.
- Jake loved bedtime. He always tried to race Jasmine up the stairs and to the dog bed on the floor at the foot of the bed. Every night (when he was able to), he would start out on his bed on the floor, then would jump up on my bed and sleep at the foot until I turned out the light or turned off the TV, then he would jump back off and go sleep on his own bed.

Jake, I'm deeply sorry for all the times I lost my patience and yelled at you. Unlike you, I am imperfect. If I could take those times back, I would. But you always forgave me. You were 100% love. Thank you for sharing your life with me. Tomorrow (always, really, but especially tomorrow, being Thanksgiving Day) I will give thanks to God for bringing us together that January day eight years ago. Today, I gave you back to Him. I pray that I made you as happy as you made me and that one day, I'll hear that sweet bay of yours again. Now go find Broadie who's been waiting for you since March. He'll introduce you to Heidi.
Rest in peace, Bear.
Love always, "Mommy"

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