Our family lost one of our good buddies this last week.
Joey's first dog Jake, a yellow lab, passed away Monday.
Jake was the most awesome 14-year-old dog I have ever known.
He really was.
I once told Steve, "If people were more like Jake, the world would be a much better place."
He was always, always happy.
Even these last several years, when arthritis slowed him down tremendously, he never failed to waddle over to us; his tail wagging a mile a minute. Must be arthritis doesn't affect a dog's tail. I am going to miss feeling it thump against my leg.
On his good days he even did a half-inch jump to greet us. Steve called is Jake's Wheelie.
Jake was a constant companion to our two boys - for as long as he could be anyway. I always knew that wherever the dog was, that's were Joey and Russell would be found. He didn't care if it was in a mud hole or racing down the road, he went wherever those two boys went.
Jake didn't mind being in the house - even though he was an all-outside dog - as long as he could be by whomever was gathering. Occasionally, in the summer, he would sneak down into the basement to catch a nap on the cool cement floor.
Of late, it was a chore to get him back out of the basement. Blame it on the arthritis again. If I was home alone, and he was downstairs, I would have to hold his back end up in the air, and he would climb the stairs using his front legs. I was literally bringing up the rear.
For the last several years, Jake didn't do much of anything except sleep on his couch in the garage. Joey explained how Jake even got lazy while in the woods with him. Apparently, Jake lay down on the ground and waited for the rabbits to come to him.
Jake was a constant companion in the milking parlor. He loved to lick up milk that came out of the pipeline at the end of milking.
My favorite memory is of his silent bark. He was so old, he would get one good bark out and the remaining five or six had the motions, but no sound. That was always good for a chuckle. Or how he would just stick his head out the doggy door, bark once, keep going with the silent bark; all the while the door flap would be bouncing off his head.
We found him lying in the snow on his final morning. He had fallen under the lilac bushes and was unable to get up. I was actually kind of mad at him because his incessant barking was robbing me of precious sleep.
Steve found Jake at 4 a.m., lifted him to his feet and Jake fell over. Knowing it would be impossible for him to make it to the garage, Steve carried him.
We knew it was time to say goodbye to one of our best friends.
We spent quite a bit of time with him before the vet came to help us. We showered Jake with affection. He told him we loved him dearly. I don't know if he understood, he was in so much pain he whimpered when we touched him.
Joey and I were with Jake when he left us - it was a peaceful thing. He was so relaxed and Joey and I cried openly.
Joey buried Jake next to his cow Haf. To comfort Jake and himself, Joey placed Jake in the grave on his dog bed and with a huge cow bone lying next to him.
I bet Jake is even happier then he ever was while he roamed our farm.
We're not. Not yet anyway.
For questions or comments, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.