So, are you a dog person now? –A friend of mine to me over the phone a few years back after regaling him with stories about my new buddy.
This morning my wife, Janis, and I said goodbye to our little Jake. Janis took him home in the spring of 2008, five years before we met. They shared a bond that, despite the loss I feel right now, was deeper than I know. Her dogs are her kids. When she had a serious illness before we met, Jake helped nurse her back to health. He was all she had at the time. He was her family.
Jake was truly a “city mouse” when I met him, as he and Janis lived in a twelfth floor apartment in the heart of downtown Dallas. Fortunately for me, they both liked being “country mice” with me, five miles as the crow flies from downtown at White Rock Lake from where their old home is in view. As I entered middle age, Jake became the first dog I’d ever had. We became fast friends.
Jake was the perfect running partner. After we’d finish the full 9.25 miles around the lake it was always abundantly clear he could keep right on going if I’d wanted to. His energy was boundless. Probably his favorite activity, though, was chasing his ball or a Frisbee. He was a great Frisbee dog!
When my sons Liam and Colin came from Missouri for visits, Jake latched onto them. From day one they were family. Each visit the day before their arrival, we’d say “Jake, your brothers are coming to see you tomorrow!” and he would light up. He knew.
But after putting in a hard day of playing, even Boston Terriers like to chill.
Like most of us, Jake had his quirks. He was very standoff-ish with larger dogs and with unfamiliar people, especially men wearing hats. But he was playful with smaller dogs and was very good with children. Like Janis and me, he seemed to have a soft spot for underdogs as well. Once he knew you, he was very affectionate. He loved being gently gnawed-at on his cheek.
Jake had a good sense of humor. You kind of need one in order to live with me. He was also a music fan like us. He dug the Beatles, especially the Magical Mystery Tour album. Whether I was singing along or playing air guitar, I’d watch him out of the corner of my eye as he would get excited. Then I’d hear a low-pitched grumble just before he’d let out an ongoing howl of joy and excitement which might last a full minute. He’d have us in stitches.
He was a big brother to two Siamese cats for the first couple years of his life, but was an only child until two years ago when we brought him a little sister named Penny Lane. Again, he was my first dog, and it was fascinating to me to watch him teach Penny the ropes of Boston Terrierdom. He was an awesome big brother to her.
I’m so grateful Janis brought Jake into my world. I love them both so much.
Jake slowed down a lot over the past couple of months, but showed no signs of suffering. Just last night he played with Penny, then cozied up on the couch with us and we loved on him not knowing we were so close to the end of our time with him. At some point in the night he went to his “safe spot” – a rug in the bathroom – and checked out. We should all be so fortunate when our time comes.
We’re going to miss you, Jake. Thank you for all the unconditional love.