Tuesday 16 March 2010

Today . . .

Nine years ago, Todd and I decided that we were going to get ourselves a dog. We each had very specific ideas of what we wanted in a dog. I wanted something tiny and energetic like a Chiuaua and he wanted something big and masterful like an Alsatian. We decided to go to the local Dog Rescue Centre, because we wanted to find a dog that was in need of love and care, a dog that needed us just as much as we needed them.

There were all sorts of dogs there clammouring for our attention as we walked down the row of cages. This adorable Jack Russell practically jumped right out of the cage as we looked . . . we could not help but be drawn to one dog in particular though . . . she stood there in the cage with big warm eyes that melted our hearts . . . she was not jumping up and down, or twisting herself inside out . . . she just sat there looking at us and with her quiet gentle ways, wove her way into our hearts with nothing more than that. She was not a Chiuaua. She was not an Alsatian. She was our Jess, a mixture of Border Collie and God knows what else . . . with a coat that always shed like mad and ears as soft as butter.

We applied to have her as our own and within a week or so we were able to bring her home to live with us. They had told us at the kennel that she was two years old, but I seriously doubt that she was even one year old, as she doubled in size in that first year we had her. The first few weeks were hard on all of us. She had been so abused as a puppy, that she weed herself as soon as anyone rang the doorbell or knocked on the door. If I was in the kitchen and Todd spoke loudly to get my attention, she would wee again, or if there was a loud noise on the telly. We took up all the carpets and got rid of them so that wouldn't be a problem anymore. When we first fed her, she cowered and seemed to be afraid to eat. Only after a lot of reassurances that her food was indeed for her would she eat at all and then with her tail between her legs and in fear. My heart broke when I saw these things . . . I wondered what kind of beast could have treated this soft and beautiful dog so badly . . .

With time and patience she blossomed into a a beautiful dog with the most wonderful personality. She was loving and gentle and obedient. The best dog Todd or I had ever had. Everyone who met her loved her, she was just that kind of dog . . . she smiled. I had never seen a dog smile before, but Jess smiled . . . and not just with her face . . . but with her whole body. Her whole being radiated joy and we felt so very blessed to have found her and to love her. She has been our much loved companion for these past nine years . . . always there to greet us with her smiling body and waging tail when we return from being away . . . always waiting eagerly to greet me in the mornings when I come downstairs . . . always laying next to me, snoring softly as I putter away on the keyboard to the computer . . . my silent morning companion . . . nestled against our feet evenings as we watched telly . . . bounding ahead of us in excitement and sniffs as we walked long walks through the orchard.

Yesterday we had to make the worst and hardest decision that anyone who owns and loves a pet will ever have to make. Jess had been a bit poorly over the past couple of days . . . when I think back now it was over the past few months . . . but she had been bravely soldiering on . . . and it was only over the past few days that we began to notice that all was not right. She came down with severe diarreah and would not eat . . . not even her morning treats that she so loved . . . she would only lay in the back hallway next to the door. She seemed to be very thirsty and drank copious amounts of water, including the water in the birdbath, which really annoyed me because it's not very clean and I spoke crossly to her when she did . . . yesterday morning we decided we needed to take her to the vet as she had begun to vomit. We thought perhaps it was the water from the birdbath or that she had maybe eaten something outside that she found that she shouldn't have. (she sometimes wandered about a bit on the Estate on what we called her sniffing excursions. It was perfectly safe here for her to do so . . . no cars, no traffic, no people . . .) I scratched her soft ears goodbye and never thought in a million years what was to come.

The vet decided to keep her in for a few hours to do some tests. Several hours later the telephone rang. Jess was a very sick dog. Her liver had packed up and there were several other problems. They could try to treat her, but there was no guarantee that it would work, or that they would be able to save her life . . . We asked them to give us a few minutes to talk and hung up. We talked. We prayed. We cried. Our hearts broke. Having just lost our employment and our home . . . we didn't have the money to take heroic efforts that may not even work . . . how could we move a sick dog who hated going in the car anyways, all the way across the country . . . how could . . . how could . . . how could . . . how could we do anything but what we knew we had to do.

I spent most of yesterday in a heartbroken fog. My eyelids look like little swollen sausages. I did not cook. I did not bake. I only cried. My heart broke into a million tiny pieces . . . and I railed at my Heavenly Father in grief . . . to have lost our job was very upsetting . . . to have lost our home along with it was even more so . . . to have lost our Jess . . . our much beloved baby, our companion . . . was almost more than I could bear. I said to Todd I feel like we are being punished. I cried and cried and cried some more. I knew that one day we would have to bid her goodbye . . . pets don't live forever . . . but this happened far too soon. We were not ready. I didn't have a chance to say goodbye . . .

Some might say, how very silly . . . this wasn't an earthquake that killed thousands of people . . . this wasn't a truck bomb . . . or a hurricane . . . or a flood or anything else equally as devastating . . . it wasn't like losing a child or other loved one . . . but to us it was . . . Jess was our baby. We could not have children of our own, but we had Jess, and she was our baby.

It is hard to have faith sometimes when it seems that slowly, bit by bit you are losing all that is dear to you. I am reminded of Job, who lost everything he had . . . except for his faith . . . and I think . . . how can I do less . . . how can I lose faith in the very God who has given me life. I must believe and endure. I must move forward in faith that He will make all the wrongs right, and so that is what we are doing. We may have to stop now and again and wipe away the tears, but we are moving forward, bit by bit.

This morning as I walked down the stairs . . . there was no cheery furry face to greet me, no wagging tail . . . no soft hello, I'm glad to see you . . . my heart broke again and I cried, I am crying still. I know things will get better, but for now, I grieve as I must.

And then . . . we will move forward . . . in faith, as hard as it may be to do so.

We will always miss you Jess . . . but we know you wait for us on the other side. Our gentle companion, our steadfast friend, our much loved baby . . . until we meet again, until we meet again.


  1. Oh I am so sorry for your loss, a dog is not just a pet but more so a member of the family. I know how much she was loved. This poem is from an unknown source but they make me well up when I read them and I know they are true. I hope it may bring you some comfort.
    Nicole x


    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

    Author unknown..."

  2. Marie and Todd I am so sorry that you had to lose Jess now. I am sure it hurts beyond measure. An animal is more than a pet to some and I know Jess was a treasured companion.

    Please accept my love and thoughts,


  3. I too am so sorry that you've had yet another change in your life. As one who has been there numerous times in my life I offer my sincerest sympathies over the loss of your dearest Jess. Our pets are a part of our families and we love them just like a child. Saying good bye to those we love is never easy. I'm sending prayers your way that you'll find comfort in your wonderful memories and will have strength for journey ahead.

  4. oh Marie, the tears have rolled down my cheeks as I have read this. I just cannot believe the timing of this - as if you haven't had enough lately. People underestimate the loss of pets, they are living, breathing things with personalities, spirit. I took care of my friends dog for one week and cried when he left! I cannot say how sorry I am to you and Todd, but I will say Jess was so lucky to have you both and to be so loved and treated as your baby. My thoughts are with you both. With love Lucie xxx

  5. Oh Marie, I'm so sorry. I am crying with you. Jess was a gorgeous sweet girl and you described her so eloquently. I am praying for you and Todd for strong faith and peace. My heart aches for your loss. Pups are family indeed.
    Lots of love, Rachel

  6. Oh, Marie... I'm just so heartbroken for you & Todd, so sorry that you have now lost your dear, sweet Jess on top of all else! Just so shocked... Our pets are like our children, they have a special bond, a special place in our lives, so it is not unusual all that you are going through now with such loss. You will see lovely Jess again... I am sure of it too! :o) I am just so sorry you will not be able to bring her along with you to your new life in Chester. TJ & I were so happy to meet you her when we visited--gosh, that was almost two summers ago now. Wish I were there to give you a BIG HUG. My voice is completely gone due to this horrible cold I have, else I would call right now. Just so sorry, my dear friend, so sorry! Thinking of you & Todd so much just now--LOVE YOU BOTH!! OXOXO ((BIG HUGS))

  7. I'm not a regular commenter, but I do lurk out here in blog land and enjoy your posts. I had to write to you today though and let you know how sorry I am for your loss of your dear Jess. I understand your emotions - I lost my dear girl last summer and still a tear comes to my eye when I see her picture flash by on my laptop. I look forward to the day when I will meet with her again also.


  9. I cried reading this ; ;; ;; I am so sorry ; ; ;;

  10. OMG my dearest Marie Im SO SORRY, really I loved Jesses like I loved you and Todd, always I think in you as a family. And Jesse was a nice and lovely dog, I think when I lost Mouska will be the same, some dogs are really special to us, I understand perfectly, when Esperanza is afraid in the night (by earthquarke) she open the window and let Mouska enter to her bedroom, oh My dear and lovely Marie, only I ask to God you really help you in this difficult and hard moments. I always think God have a Heaven to our pets. Really.
    Send you blessings, huggs and kisses to you and Todd. Love ya my dear friend.
    My love and thoughts are with you my loveliest friends. hugss

  11. Oh, Marie. I wish I can give you a real big hug right now. My heart is broken for you. I'm so sorry for your loss. It must be very hard. I'll be praying that God's peace and loving presence will comfort you and Todd in this time of grief.

    Love and prayers,

  12. I enjoy reading your beautiful blog and your thoughts, and I had to express my sorrow over the loss of your lovely Jess. You gave her a wonderful new life, and she will live in your heart forever.

  13. Marie and Todd,
    I've been reading your blog for a while now and have been enjoying all that you write about in your life together. Today when I read about Jess I just cried, for you and for all that have had to go through the loss of a beloved pet. Having loss one of the best dogs one could ever have I understand the immense pain and grief you are going through. You were good parents and friends to Jess, you saved her from a hurtful life and I to believe in what the Rainbow brige poem says that one day you will be reunited again. Just know that others care and only wish the best for you and Todd in the future. Our God takes care of all our needs, we just have to be patient and let him.

    Robin in Virginia

  14. Oh Marie....I cried while reading your post. We had a dog for 17 years and when she died, a part of us died with her. She was 6 pounds and full of love. I know how special your Jess was. I'm so sorry for your loss.

  15. There's nothing silly about the way you feel at all. Jess was a loved and loving member of your family and I am so sorry for your loss. Sending hugs your way and prayers for strength. Things like this are a test of our faith. The Lord has a reason for everything, but we don't always like some of them.

  16. I am sitting here crying...You know I recently lost my sweet cat Praline and not too long ago a many year companion Buck, a golden. I know how you feel..it hurts so much, even knowing that we will be with them again, it hurts. I wish I could give you a hug or spend the day visiting...I send all my love...things are going to get better, I promise. : )

  17. Marie,

    I am very sad to hear of the loss of your dog. I know only too well that it is like losing a member of the family, which any family pet is. I see that a reference to the Rainbow Bridge has been made by previous commenters. I wish you and yours strength at this very challenging time.


  18. Marie, my tears are falling. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your beloved family member Jess. May she now rest in peace, free from pain, enjoying the freedom of a grassy meadow, with many of our furry loved ones to play with, till you join her & take her across the Rainbow Bridge with you.
    As you may know, I have lost several sweet furrs, 2 last year. I know the hurt only too well.
    Shelter animals do usually make the best companions. They are so grateful for a loving home.
    You gave that loving home to Jess, & when the time came, you made that difficult decision, that many of us have to make, to take the pain away, & let her rest.
    God bless you.

  19. God bless you, my heart is breaking for you. She was so beautiful, as owners of two border collies ourselves we know just how loving and loyal and intelligent they are.

    I did a complete journal on the Border Collie we had before them and it still remains as a lasting tribute to him.

    The loss of a pet is just as devastating as losing a person. Please know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  20. I'm so sad for your loss and for the difficult year you have had so far. Saying goodbye to a beloved family member is never an easy task. I hope the changes will bring some new happiness and peace for you.

  21. Marie I'm so very sorry that the 2 of you have lost your beloved dog. I can only imagine how you feel as I have a cat and know that if I lost him - even the nuscience he can be - I would just be devastated. I'll say a prayer for you that the cloud will lift and good luck will start pouring your way. You are such a talented person - many gifts you have my friend. God bless and know that I share your sorrow.

  22. So sorry to hear this. I saw it online. Its hard you have been thru so much. I am just beting your beloved fur baby loves you and understands and that pic of him going thru the gate is a perfect picture. Man I just know no words can help. AND ITS NOT SILLY at all. You are not ridiculous you are perfectly correct. I so wish I could have talked to you and maybe given you idea. My Pepper had liver issues and almost died fouryears ago. The vet gave little hope at his age and circumstances. I got some holistic ideas from him. Home cooked food and some homeopathic remedies and he has always..................... done so well I keep watch on symptoms and up or lower the dosage.

  23. My heart goes out to you, its a devastating thing to lose a friend and you certainly have.
    Hope that you find comfort in the memories of jess right now, when my dog went I was inconsolable for a while, I kept catching myself lean to giver her a titbit or a stroke, I missed the weight of my dog resting agaisnst my foot.
    I truly am glad that you rescued her and gave her the best of lives.

    God bless you both

  24. Marie,

    I hardly know what to say right now. Nothing I can think of seems strong enough. I'm so, so sorry. Sorry about your job and your home, and now Jess. My heart is hurting for you as I think of you and Todd today.

    I know nothing can take away your hurt right now. Grief is useful and God gave it to us as a way to say our good-byes, I think. I know you made the right decision, as Jess was no longer healthy. You showed compassion instead of selfishness by the choice you made.

    You and Todd are both in my prayers.

    I love you my friend:
    Gerushia's New World

  25. Dear Marie
    I have tears in my eyes as I write this. I am so sorry that you had to lose Jesse right now. Our message Sunday at church was about how the best thing to do during the difficult times in our lives is to stay close to God and I know you are doing that.
    Hugs Rhondi

  26. Marie and Todd - nothing online has ever made me cry before.
    I suffered such a loss not long ago, and you have my deepest sympathy.

  27. Dear Dear Marie and Todd,
    I am so so Sorry. I can hardly type this through my tears, my heart goes out to you both...
    love and blessings to you both
    Love Sybil xxxx

  28. Dear Marie, I don't stop here for a while and then I find this. The hardest thing!
    Take care. I don't know what to say to make this feel better but I will tell you this:
    I told my daughter all about you while catching up on your posts and found you were out of a job as well and she said, "Marie with the good recipes? Too bad she can't come and be our cook!"
    I'm not sure if I should be offended or not!

  29. Oh Marie -- I am so, so sorry to hear this news, and on top of everything else going on. It does sound like the story of Job, but he never lost faith, and in the end the Lord turned everything around for him and blessed him more than he had ever been blessed before.

    That said, I know how your heart must be breaking at this moment in time, and mine is aching for you and Todd too. This post is a beautiful tribute to your Jess.

  30. Im worry about you and Todd my dears how are you??
    We love you a lot! But I understand your pain, my heart is with you, a lot of love and huggs!!! love ya! gloria

  31. Oh, Marie, that made me cry. I know what it is to have to make that decision and how your heart breaks when they are sick. When my Moodie cat came down with diabetes and now having to give him shots twice a day, that he doesn't like and neither do I. Much love to you and Todd both. Raquel XO

  32. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss Marie & Todd. Our pets are companions and we feel their loss just as much as we feel the loss of any other loved one. To face the loss on top of all of the other changes you’re going through, I can’t begin to imagine how this makes the changes your life is facing so much harder to take. My thoughts and prayers are with you both. Love, Laura

  33. This is my first visit to your blog. I am very, very sorry for your loss. I do know what you are going through. It doesn't matter how many times you go through it - it never gets easier.


  34. Oh Marie, your post had me in tears, I've been through this before and it's absolutely heartbreaking, I still miss my girl and it happened 4 years ago.

    My heart goes out to you and Todd.

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  36. Marie and Todd, I am so sorry for your loss. Your beautiful, Jess. Yes, you will see her again. President Joseph F. Smith addressed this very topic in Answers to Gospel Questions.

    These trials are so hard. I am sorry you must endure them. I wish I could just sit down and talk with you and help share the burdens somehow. I know in the midst of all of this, something will emerge that will help your understanding of why this, why now. In the mean time you are loved by so many, each wishing they knew how to lighten these burdens for you both. May the many prayers bring the comfort you are seeking.

    Love and hugs,

  37. Hello again dear,
    Look how many people love you and extend best wishes and sympathy to you. You and Todd are dear to us. We are sorry that you have lost your dear fur child,Jess,at this difficult time when your world was already in a turmoil.

    I wish that I had words of comfort. I don't. I wish that I could say something that would take away the pain. I can't.... but... I can send my love to you. I can affirm that I know God is in control and knows what is best. As hard as this is at this time maybe God knew that Jess was just too sick to make the move. Think how hard it would have been if Jess had died during your long drive to Chester. This just seems like it is too much to bear. I so wish it had not happened.... but you will pick yourself up... you will move forward... you will find your faith again.... step by step you will walk forward in faith. Though it is hard, you have our love to lean on. God will wrap His arms around you and comfort you.

    Your voice sounded so sad this morning that I knew the minute I heard it something was really wrong. Each day will get easier. Each day you'll feel stronger. You will find your smile again... until then my prayers and love are with you. Much love to you my dear friend. Lura

  38. Soooo sorry to hear this Marie - I do know how you must feel xoxo

  39. I cried "oh no, don't tell me.." my heart go out to you & Todd on your loss. As a reader, I read with fondness your mention of Jess around your home in your posts. The consolation is that Jess was so lucky to have had you and Todd who gave her a home, love and so much more.

  40. My deepest sympathies. Many of us do know a little of what you are feeling and know it has just added insult to your already injured heart. I know can never replace Jess but maybe when you are settled in your new home you will feel you can bring another pet into your lives.

    I don't always write but I do always read. I cried with you this morning.

    Much love to you and Todd.

  41. Dear Marie

    Your Jess was the double of my old Tri coloured Border Collie called Guy. They could have been twins.
    There didn't seem to be any mongrel in her from what I could see in your photos above.
    I miss him dreadfully still and look for his white flag of a tail sometimes when I go out for walks on my own.I still see him in my minds eye as I know you will too with your beloved companion Jess.
    It is such a raw emotion when we grieve the loss of our 'furry children'.
    My mother-in-law once said in nomal converstation when we were discussing something he 'got up to that he chouldn't have ..."Well! He's only human!" Bless her! She's gone now too.
    Peace to you and Todd is wished by me. May fond memories of Jess return to make you smile and not cry.
    Meawhile...catch a big hug from me as well as all your other friends.
    Much love
    Jeanie xxxx

  42. I'm so sorry. We had to do the same thing for our Moose-dog three weeks ago. Same symptoms. I know for us it has helped to still have Scout and our cat Fawn. I'm praying for you!

  43. Oh Marie, my heart breaks for you. We had to put our dog down 12 years ago and I still miss her to this very day. She was almost 20 years old and had lived a good life but the decision was one of the hardest we've ever had to make. It was the right one though and I have so many wonderful memories of her. Jess was so lucky that you chose her.

  44. What a beautiful entry for Jess...
    I am so very sorry... I know we can't see it yet but God has something special planned with all the upheaval you have been experiencing...
    Special Thoughts and Gentle Hugs to you and Todd...

  45. Oh my goodness, Marie. As if you haven't had enough on your plate and now Jess. Tears are streaming down my face as I type. Dogs are just the most special of companions. You will always miss her. Do know she's in a better place. When our last dog had to be put down I cried for days. So I can feel your pain. I'm sending you a hug through the cyberspace.

  46. This post brought tears to my eyes... I am so sorry. What a difficult loss. How lucky for Jess to have had you and Todd to love and be loved so deeply!

    I'm so sorry Marie... so, so sorry.

  47. So very sorry. I had to do that over Christmas. Its very,very,very hard. I miss mine every single day.


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