Life, Death, and the Week in My World 10-24-11

On September 15th we had to put down one of our beloved dogs, Jessa. She came from the worst possible beginnings and health problems followed her periodically throughout her eight years. This time there was no cure. Despite her history, she was a happy and playful dog, and the only one who could keep up with Blitz, a dog we rescued four years ago from different but also gruesome conditions. (Pictures of Jessa can be found under My Pack and Philosophy.)

I didn’t write about Jessa because losing a pet is such a personal and painful experience that words are difficult. I didn’t want people to feel obligated to express their sympathy. As much as we grieved, I think it was worse for Blitz. He lost his best friend. He was clingy and confused—he kept looking for her and it broke my heart.

There is no need to seek out a dog in Arizona. There are so many desperate animals here I knew one would find us. On October 13th an animal-rescue colleague called in distress, asking if I would foster a beautiful six-month-old pup headed for the pound the next day. The volunteer already had a pack of foster dogs, and there aren’t many people who will foster. It’s shocking how many people are outraged by euthanasia but will not open their hearts and homes to foster animals. I was her last chance. The pup’s owner had thought it was such a cute little puppy she had to have it. I’m sure it was. But it grew. It needed time and attention and training. The owner lost interest. The pup is not housebroken, doesn’t know simple commands, and is slightly wild.

We went to pick up the dog and fell instantly in love. Since I refuse to separate any of my animals, the question was would she fit in with my pack, and would she breathe new life into poor Blitz.

The answer became evident within a few days. She is now a work in progress.

Meet Jada. She came with the name ‘Jade’ but ‘Jada’ is more fun to say. What is she? Don’t know, don’t care. A blend of beauty, affection, and spirit.

What can I say?

Jada's second day with us, still uncertain

Jada meets the neighbors

Jada and Blitz bonding over marrow bones

Jada makes friends with Blitz by the old stand-on-your-head method

Blitz shakes Jada's paw---with his mouth

Jada sizes Blitz up

Let the games begin

Tug-of-war, a favorite of dog buddies everywhere

One of the many positions of tug-of-war

Getting serious

It's not easy to tire Jada out, but Blitz gets it done.

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34 responses to “Life, Death, and the Week in My World 10-24-11

  1. Enjoyed meeting Jada ! She is a sweetheart….. Kelly

  2. So happy for Jada, for you, for Blitz. Love the photos.

  3. Oh she’s beautiful!! And it is so wonderful for Blitz to have found a new friend. Those ears are just too cute.

  4. What makes me sick...

    Got just a wee bit misty with that story Debra! Fantastic. If any one of us can help to make another life worth living, then, we’ve accomplished more than any stupid government/dictator/civilization/decision maker etc…
    Whoops! Got carried away there!

  5. Oh, thank you for posting these photos. What a wonderful start to my day. Jada is a lucky, lucky girl NOW.

  6. Why does it bother me?

    She looks like she has Collie and German Shepherd in her veins! Beautiful little lady.

    • Hi WDIBM, could be just about anything down here but it matters not. Have no idea whether she’ll be 50 lbs or 80—big paws but not big-framed. She’s too thin so I’m feeding her more…and man can she dump it out!

  7. The paw-in-mouth handshake is just too cute! And I love the pic where the ear and the tail are both cocked in the same direction! Bless you all, wonderful story.

  8. Hey Darlin –

    Sorry to hear about Jessa. You can take comfort in knowing you gave her the best life possible and I’m sure she cherished every day with her family.

    Yep – I believe dogs do grieve the loss of a playmate. Hopefully Jada will act as a stand in for a while.
    You gotta love those ears on Jada – I have no doubt her personality would be different if the ears were different !

    • Hi Cowboy, thank you. Jessa did cherish every day, as we did with her.

      Dogs and cats definitely miss their companions. I used to petsit for two dogs who were very close, and one died. The other dog stopped eating. The owners were wealthy and took the dog to specialists all over the US, but none could fix him, and he died too. It was horrible for everyone.

      I think this is going to work out well, especially after some of that hyperpuppy wears off. Her ears are too much!

  9. There are few things better than being greeted by a floppy-eared dog.
    One of our cats died about a year ago, and I still see him sitting in the hall waiting for me. It has eased but I’ll never forget. I wonder if we make an impression on their lives as much as they do to us. Or am I just the upright monkey slave who fills the food dish and wipes the butts and takes too long to go to bed and provide a warm spot at the back of my knees?

    • Kay, I think this ghost appears to all of us who have lost a pet we loved. A flash of color, a shadow…is it him? I swore I saw him. I don’t believe in the supernatural so I think it’s our brain playing tricks on us…we’re so accustomed, so attached to this constant presence and then it’s gone. Empty space. Black hole. We long to put it back the way it was.

      We may be their monkey slaves but they still love us and are the soul of our homes. I know I’m just as needy as they are.

  10. Beautiful heart-warming story. Sorry for your loss – but now joyful for your gift of spirit!

  11. Love all the photos of your gang. Gives me a warm feeling inside to see them all playfully interacting with each other and and it also gives me a warm feeling to see someone taking so much interest and showing so much love to help them through their difficult lives, It both saddens and angers me to no end when I hear of people’s inhumane treatment of animals. My mother was the same way and was always trying to help out the strays in our neighbourhood….AL.

    • Hi Al, thank you. We’re a tight-knit pack here and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t stand to crate or separate my family. Everybody has to learn to get along, and they do. Jasmine is the alpha-dog, even though not the biggest, and the other dogs must show respect or her wild side will come out. The new pup has already learned not to challenge her—smart dog—she doesn’t want to lose one of those adorable ears. Every pack has a hierarchy that dogs learn quickly same as they do in the wild. And no cat chasing allowed!

      Don’t you wish we could save them all—we can’t, and never will. My anti-breeding sentiments grow stronger each year, especially after living here where there is little respect for animals. I know you and Kelly are major animal lovers and understand. Thanks for writing.

  12. This is a wonderful, upbeat piece of writing. That you honor the dog you lost by taking in another by loving it in the same way is truly wonderful. And that your other dog has found a pal, and they seem to have bonded already, says a lot about your pack.

    It is a pack extraordinaire.

    • Thank you Wild Bill. This new pup, though she needs much training, has considerable dog-sense. She knows exactly when to playfully challenge and when to submit. That right there tells me how smart she is, and for all her high energy and bouncing off the walls at the moment, she’s actually perfect. Thank you for your compliment about my pack, I’m so proud of them!

  13. Deb, you have a definite knack for getting great pics of dogs being themselves….every time I take a picture of my dog he just ends up looking like a pile of laundry with two red demon-eyes staring back at me.

    Your dog pics really capture them having fun, even though their lives up until you came into it haven’t been the best.

    • Hi Harry, thanks! Ha ha I get many red-eye pictures too. And lots of pictures that I delete because they’re just a blur. This new pup rarely is still so she’s hard to photograph. The words ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ are not in her vocabulary but she’s slowly getting it. Spay date Monday, yay!

  14. Barry, my friend in Wales — you’ve met him in a few of my blogs — has a donkey named Zach who originally was bought to keep a horse company who had lost its mate; it was thought that the mare in mothering Zach would lose some of her grief; it seems to have worked.

    • Hi JL, that was very kind and caring of Barry and I’m glad it worked. And now he has a pet donkey. There are a lot of donkeys around here, they hauled the ore from the mines at the turn of the century. Mules actually, but I can’t tell the difference. They’re very cute and funny.

      Look up the etymology of scapegoat sometime…

  15. look re scapegoats I am reading the memoirs of Christine Nixon who became the first female Chief Commissioner of Police in Australia; she has a few chapters devoted to her treatment as a scapegoat for the ….. look I’ll put up a blog about it: you’ve inspired me

  16. Your dogs are … hahaha WONDERFUL!!!!! I’d love to have room to rescue … I “rescued” both of the dogs I have … and now they rescue me from a mundane life! lol

  17. jada lookslike she has a prettyhigh percentage blue heeled, stockdogs are, by nature hyper, and smart as whips. It wouldn’t surprise me if she be came Alpha Female.When th ears stand up, they even cuter.Since my 1987 stroke, ionly have one useful hand,with aglass screen typing no easy task, and hard to decipher

  18. When our Delite (at de end of de tunnel) died, we mourned for weeks. Hubby and I have to live forever for the sake of our dogs. Our girls don’t allow dogs in their houses, and our house is too doggy for them. I’m thinking of a trust “If you want the money, move in, otherwise it goes to a no kill shelter.

    • Jean, I feel the exact same way, that I cannot die when I am caring for dogs and cats. I am on a mission and will live long whether I want to or not. That is very sad that your daughters don’t like dogs. I just don’t get it—how could anybody not like dogs. How can entire cultures and countries mistreat animals? Someday those cultures will be all that’s left on earth.

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