Deep breath. The beloved old dog.
(Warning, this is a picture heavy post)
I figure I might as well get it over with now though, considering I feel like crap from THE WORST COLD EVER THAT TURNED OUT TO BE STREP THROAT, and I am missing 32 hours of work. (Holy crap, right?) Yeah. Welcome to the sick house. This is where we live.
I'm avoiding the real issue again, can you tell? Because sickness really isn't interesting enough for a whole paragraph. (sigh).
On March 7th, 2014 our beloved old Boxer/Rottweiler (Boxweiler?) of 10.5 years named Jazzmatazz, was a sad pile of misery lying next to the back door, looking at us like, "Um, come on guys, it's time to go."
Her belly looked too big. Her back legs and feet were swollen. Every time she exhaled it ended with a loud sigh, almost, but not quite, a whine.
She'd never been a crying kind of dog. She was a happy-go-lucky creature. Every day. Perky ears, lolling tongue, bright smiling eyes. Happy.
Yeah. It was time to go.
(and yes, here come the tears, damn it)
Jazzy had been battling anemia of an unknown origin for about a month, and a course of prednisone gave her a lot of really decent days. But now. Well. If the prednisone wasn't going to work, nothing much else was going to work, and our wonderful vet agreed that the kindest thing would be to let her go peacefully. Clearly she was hurting. Clearly she was miserable.
We picked up Sprite from school. Sprite is also 10.5 years old. She has grown up with this dog. She laid on top of Jazzy and cried all the way to the vet's office. I did, too. Our vet is kind and compassionate and we sent Jazzy peacefully onto the next leg of her journey. I hope she can run and play and bark madly at squirrels and cats and bask in the sunshine. That's what broke my heart the most - that Jazzy's last days were spent during this cruel and brutal winter. I was hoping she could lie in the grass and enjoy the sun, just a little more.
This is how it starts... my dad calls when my daughter is just a couple weeks old and says, "We had puppies!" (This itty pup isn't "ours" - but a very close rendition)
But here's Jazzy and Sprite, when they were both awfully new. Look at that puppy face! Bashful and proud and nervous all at the same time. We were pretty careful about supervising the large ungainly and clumsy puppy around the baby, so being this close was a novelty, at first. To give Jazzy credit, however, she never not even once in the whole of her life snapped or growled at a child. Not once. Never. She loved children to the end of her days. If she startled her, she moved. If they flopped on top of her, she twitched an ear. If she really wanted them off, she'd just slowly roll out from underneath. No stress, no drama.
My photo files are littered with hundred of pictures of Sprite and Jazzy. I couldn't even count the number of times Sprite would holler, "Mom! Take a picture of me and Jazzy!" There are only a very few from when Sprite was very small (separation of infant and dog, after all) but once Sprite was walking and talking? Endless. This was more than a dog, this was a sister, truly a member of our family.
It didn't take Sprite long at all to realize that Jazzy was very food motivated, and would follow her beloved girl around and pay her lots and lots of attention so long as that girl had a bag of treats.
And the day Sprite got her first tiny little bike with training wheels? Well. Let me just tell you that Jazzy was beside herself, running paces along the driveway, and looking truly concerned. Fast-forward about three years, and Sprite's taking OFF on her bike, down the driveway, down the street, without supervision, and let me tell you, that dog was beside herself. She gave me a look that clearly said, "Are you out of your mind?" and barked out the window. Didn't I see what was happening? Our girl was going off down the street ALL BY HERSELF.
Daddy loved the dog, too. In fact, right to the end of her life, Jazzy's favorite place in the whole world was curled up behind Daddy's knees on the couch, her head resting on his thigh. Big sigh, happy dog. In the last week or so of her life, she was not able to get onto the couch, even with help, and honestly? Every one of us was a little bit heartbroken, right then.
The school bus. I don't know if Jazzy could hear it from several blocks away or what, but every day, without fail, she would perk up and jump off the couch to go wait by the window, watching for that bus. She liked it best when the bus driver dropped Sprite off right at the end of the driveway, and liked it least when the bus passed our house and dropped her off at the corner down the street, and Jazzy waited with boxer wiggles and prancing paws for her girl to come into view. Home safe. This was Important.
What is Jazzy waiting for?
I will leave you with this last little photo set... what does growing up together look like? It looks like this:
Huh. Above dog might be Jazzy's sister, not Jazzy.
Rest in peace, Jazzmatazz. You are an important member of this family, are well-loved and will be dearly missed for a long, long time. There's never been a better dog.
And now that I'm sobbing, I will say... peace out, darlings. Hug your puppies and your beloved old dogs for me, would you? Because I miss mine.