My Girl Jess.

Oh, how I loved her. I will miss her forever.
She loved popsicles, caramels, soda pop, jujubes (but only the red ones) and salt and vinegar chips.
She hated having ‘pedicures’ and would ‘pretend bite’ me every time I tried to take care of her feet. (by “pretend” I mean she’s give me a warning that she had teeth and wasn’t afraid to use them….).
Her nickname was “Her Royal Highness” because she thought she was ‘all that’ and because she loved being in high places, whether that was the kitchen counter (which would usually coincide with me having baked something), my desktop (where any drink left there while I typed or read was claimed by her tongue in my glass!) and on the dining room table (reconnaissance ! ). Any attempt to remove her from these inappropriate spots resulted in her becoming a dead weight, looking at me as if to say “‘you talking to ME?” (CIRCA 1976 Taxi Driver) or at the very least, taking her sweet time in getting down…usually after finishing my ginger ale, tea, juice and dripping it off her beard unapologetically.
Yes, Jessica was the Queen of the House.
If she could have talked, it would have been with an upper crust British accent worthy of her lot in life. The only time she acted in a very un royal way was when she habitually snorted in my face each time she greeted me. Maybe she kept doing it because my sarcasm was lost on her when I said “thank you for that.”
I adopted Jessica as a puppy, one of the few dogs in my life who was not a rescue. I adopted her for my 40th birthday during a year that had been difficult, health wise, and I had gone through a difficult separation. When I arrived at the home of the litter of puppies, I was met at the door by the lady of the house, holding Jessica and telling me she was the last in the litter. she was gorgeous (Jessica, not the lady of the house). She explained that they had called her ‘Jackie’ as in Jacqueline Onassis due to the dark colouring around her eyes that made it look like she was wearing “celebrity” sunglasses. I had already decided on the name”Jessica” but on the way home decided to pay homage to her ‘family’ name and decided on the moniker Jessica Jackie ‘O’ had a nice ring to it. Jessica’s “husband” was Nikko, who was three months older than her and who passed away last year. They had a litter of pups, SEVEN of them, and Jessica got milk fever which cost me an emergency fee at the vet at 6 in the morning after I woke up and saw she was having trouble walking. (Why do dogs always get sick after hours??) She was spayed as soon as her pups were weaned and following that surgery she was grumpy and menopausal and for about 6 months she had two moods, namaste and I’ll bite you. The vet said she could put her on some doggy anti depressants but Jess and I rode it out.
We both got fat in our old age, slept on our backs (although my legs were not in the air, ……..anymore), occasionally spooned, we both snored, slept in and enjoyed midnight snacks. Whatever our souls are made of, hers and mine were the same.
This last week has had me feeling overwhelmingly grateful and extremely, intensely bereaved. Jess was old, yes, at 17, (she had the heart and energy of a dog half her age. ) but she had not been sick, or injured, and the early hours of the morning she died we shared a cuddle on the bed, her insisting I continue to rub her tummy as we both drifted off with Kraft Caramels in our tummies. I cannot understand how a happy, healthy dog could just go back to sleep and not wake anymore.
Maybe it was meant to be this way. That’s how it is done in the animal kingdom. Sometimes they just know when it is time to die. She didn’t appear to suffer; she just went to sleep and never woke up.
She was one of a kind. There will never be another like her. I had something with her that can’t easily be explained – a connection, a soul mate, a friend, a teacher. I will never forget her . Jess was one of the most stubborn, loyal creatures I have ever met.
I think she was my best friend.

In the immortal words of Louis C.K., bringing home a puppy is a “countdown to sorrow.”

I hate the inevitable.

For all of you who stayed to the end, thank you. I feel better already.



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