Fourteen or fifteen years with an animal as part of our home culture is a long time. They walk with us through some bad times and hopefully many good times. Yesterday, my daughter came home from her rounds at the clinic to find that her old Aussie, 15 years old next month, had had a seizure and the hard decision of timing was just a tad easier. We all struggle with how long to let our old dogs continue living, even when they have lost their senses of sight and hearing and aren’t the alert and happy companions that we remember. When saying goodbye, we remember the many gifts they have given us.
Jazz was a surprise from me when my daughter was in college and had moved from an apartment to her first house at age 20. I already had an Aussie and had fallen in love with the breed. I didn’t do much homework except to look in the Lexington Herald Leader and found a farmer in Berea with some fuzzy little puppies in his barn. Not at all the way I’d do it now, but the wormy and scruffy little puppy rode with me back to Lexington to make that house a home and to follow my daughter through future moves from Lexington to Cincinnati to Florida and back to Lexington and walk many miles beside her as her friend and guardian. Jazz accepted the entrance of babies into the household and a husband that is more fond of cats, all with grace.
When talking to my grandchildren about Jazz becoming old and imminent death, the 3 year old was very accepting of the idea of doggy heaven and who Jazz would play with there. She was just sure that Jazz would like to chase Grayson, my departed cat, all around the place, but then she’s a cat and it seems she just comes over to play sometimes. In her innocence, she asked some very good questions and gave me the chance to introduce the importance of loving and being a good friend, whether it be person or animal.
Into the picture waddles a little blue merle puppy, named Brave, who will fill the void that the loss left. She is not her predecessor, but she will make her own memories in the next years as she stands by while the girls grow up and perhaps see them move away to college. What a gift our dogs are to us, they make us smile and when they pass, they bring back all the memories of those days they shared with us. The plan was well written. Enjoy the video that was shared with me, On the 9th day, God made a Dog.