Saturday, February 2, 2013

My Sweet Jack

Yesterday a nightmare came true. I lost my beautiful, sweet, faithful, loving boy Jack.

It happened so suddenly.  Thursday he woke up and seemed fine. He pranced from my bedroom, down the hall to the kitchen, awaiting our morning ritual of "treat time."  All four pups line up, and I get them each a couple of morning treats and we start our day.  We went to the backyard together, I did "poop patrol", threw the ball a couple of times, and came in to check my emails, etc.  All seemed pretty normal, until dinner time came.

Jack is motivated by food. There is no simpler way to put it.  If I was in the kitchen, so was he.  If a crumb was dropped, he'd be there to catch it on the way to the ground.  That boy did not miss a meal, ever.  Until Thursday.  I knew something was wrong when he didn't get off his bed to eat dinner.  My first thought was that he'd pulled a muscle and was simply too sore to come and eat.  I brought his bowl to him, and he just took a sniff, and put his head down.  He'd never, ever turned down food before. I knew something was wrong.

I had a gold party to work that evening, so on my way out, at about 5:30pm, I called Hubby and told him I was worried.  He said he'd keep a close eye on Jack and let me know how he was doing. When I got home from my party, only 3 dogs met me at the door. Not Jack, he lay quietly on his bed, in front of the fireplace, looking sad and tired.  I was shocked. Again, he'd never, ever not greeting me, tail wagging at the door.  I knew something was very wrong, but I kept telling myself that he must be sore, maybe he'd pulled a back muscle.  I changed cloths, sat down on his bed with him, and stroked is beautiful, soft fur. His nose was cold and wet, and he seemed to enjoy the attention.

We headed for bed at about 11:30pm, and were able to coax him to come into the bedroom. I laid in bed, listening to the TV and listening to Jack breathe.  He was panting, and didn't seem to be able to get comfortable.  I dozed off at about midnight, and awoke at 1:08am.  The first thing I noticed was that he was still panting. I decided that maybe he needed to go outside and wanted a little company.  I got up and encouraged him to come with me.  Half way down the hallway he stopped and got sick. I thought for sure now that something was really upsetting his tummy.  I hoped he was able to get rid of whatever was bugging him and he'd bounce back in the morning. I was wrong.

We wound up staying up all night together.After I'd gotten him outside to pee, he took a few steps and laid down in the grass.  He didn't want to get up and come inside, he didn't want to move.  I was finally able to get him in by getting Hubby up and having him help me.  The rest of the night was spent watching him, as he lay in his bed, and various spots in the family room, trying to get comfortable, but never quite finding the right spot.  

At 5:30am he got sick to his stomach again.  As I cleaned up, he managed to walk outside and again he lay down on the grass  and didn't want to come back in. This was not like him at all.  I woke Hubby up again, and together we were trying to figure out what could be going on.  At 7:30am we were able to get ahold of the vet, and booked him for an 8am appointment. After struggling to get Jack into and out of the car, we both were extremely concerned.  He would take a few steps, and lay down.  It was hard to get him into the office, onto the scale, etc.  He just seemed miserable. 

The vet took a look at him and was concerned.  His heart rate was up, and his gums were getting pale.  Bad signs for something serious.  They wanted to do x-rays and blood work, all of which would take some time. They told me to call at 11:30am if I hadn't heard back.

At 10:30am I got the call.  Things were very bad. Jack had a massive splenic tumor in his chest. They believed that the tumor had ruptured and was causing internal bleeding.  His blood work had come back showing there were a lot of things going on - none of them good. None of his levels were where they should have been.  He was in a lot of pain.  I asked the vet, through my tears, if Jack was her boy, what would she do?  She told me that the only thing they could try to do was surgery, and she didn't think he would survive that.  She told me that if he was her boy, she would say goodbye, and let him be out of pain.  Not unexpected news at that point, but still devastating.

I called Hubby, and managed to get the words out.  He was in meetings all morning, but would be home as soon as he could be. I called each of the kids.  Bear was home and came over. Hubby came home at about 12:45 and we turned around and headed back to the vet. We decided against bringing him home for one more night. I couldn't stand to see him in pain, and panting, unable to eat or drink.  The time had come so quickly, but it was time.

We took him outside to a lush green grassy spot.  He loved to nap in the grass in our backyard, and we wanted him to enjoy the smell and feeling one last time.  We took our time with him out there, laying with him, petting him, whispering our love into his soft ears. We felt that he knew, that he understood. He would doze for a couple of minutes, then wake again and look at us with is beautiful, golden sparkled eyes, that look so tired and resigned.  We took pictures with him, in between our tears. It was so terribly, terribly hard. 

Finally, after a nice long while, we walked him back inside. He walked slowly and once inside the small room, he slumped back down onto the floor.  I sat with him, lifting his head onto my lap. I cradled the soft, big, beautiful head of his telling him over and over again what a good boy he was, and how much I loved him. Bear and I stayed with him, giving him as much love and comfort as we possibly could, until he took his last breaths, and his incredibly loving, faithful heart stopped beating.  He passed peacefully from this world to the next, surrounded by love. I don't think any of us could ask for more. 

I have never loved a dog more than I love that boy. Jack was my 40th birthday present - the best birthday present I'd ever had. He came into my life when I was in a depression and he made me feel whole again. He was the most faithful companion ever. He was my introduction to the world of Goldens, and he was a perfect ambassador.  So much of what I do in my life now, the Golden Retriever group I organize, the Love on a Leash therapy I do, is because of Jack.  Being thankful for him just doesn't seem like enough.  That boy really did change my life and I am eternally grateful.

 These are from yesterday.

Keep Grandpa company until we meet again, my dear, sweet Jackie-Boy. You are loved more than words can ever begin to explain.  


Chris H said...

I'm bawling my eyes out. The loss of Jack has hurt my heart... I can not imagine how much you guys are hurting right now.
You did the right thing in letting him go, to be free of pain... no lingering suffering. It was the very best last gift you could have given him.
I hope he's bouncing along with a chewy ball, alongside your Dad Sue.

The Life of Riley said...

I am so very sorry to read about Jack. I lost my first Golden Retriever in similar circumstances (a dog who lived to eat, but one night wouldn't eat and hung his head over the side of his bed - it was only the second time he had ever refused food). It turned out that he had internal beeding from a tumour and the locum vet (who I had never met before) said he would not survive the night. The shock of things being so sudden (he had been running around the back yard that afternoon!), being told by a person who had never examined my dog before and having to make instant choices, for what was kindest and best for him) was hard as the choices had to be made so fast, and so in some ways didn't seem real (if you know what I mean? I have never been good with words, but loosing a friend far too soon andn so suddenly was hard to comprehend at the time).

Thank you for sharing Jack's life and how special he was to you with the world through your blog - I know he will be missed by many. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Max Mom said...

Dear Sue,
What an incredibly raw but beautiful tribute to an amazing dog...thank you for sharing this with us despite your pain.
I am so, so sorry for your loss...and the pain you have been through.
As time moves forward, Jack's spirit will stay with you - lead you into the light which he brought to you in the first place. I know this because that is what Max still does for me to this day - a doggie Angel now. While your pain is so raw, simply be gentle on yourself...knowing that you've loved this beautiful animal more than any human would do and that he is still part of this big universe.
Fly free, sweet Jack!
Sending lotsaluv to you, your family, to Jack's canine companions and to all who loved Jack.

kks said...

what a beautiful tribute to your boy Jack.....such wonderful pictures of love....thinking of you during this difficult time...

Lurline said...

Talk to you soon - I'm feeling your pain - God bless - Lurline!

Heather said...

Sue, I've been there & it doesn't seem survivable. My heart goes out to you & your family. In time - a long, long time - it will not be raw & you will be able to talk about Jack without bawling. I am so sorry for your loss!

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry Sue. I look at those pictures and see a dog that was a great companion and had a terrific life with a family that loved him dearly. No dog could ask for more than you all gave dear jack. I like to think of my mom looking over my best dog pal on the other side. I hope jack has found your pop and they are happliy together. my heart goes out to you all. taria

Angel Tucker, Daisy and Leo said...

So so sorry to hear about your Jack. We lost our Tucker recently in very similar circumstances, and I miss him so very much. I feel your pain, and wish there was more I could say that would give you comfort.


Shirley Kinyon said...

Ah, Sue and Family....I, too, lost my Panda in very similar circumstances. My Vet told me Goldens are the most stoic breed and since they live to give us joy, they don't want to show us their pain. Please know that your pain is shared by all of us. The pictures show just how much you all loved Jack and he had a wonderful life. (((hugs)))

Nancy, Tabor and Snickers said...

I am so sorry to hear about your baby Jack. Thank you for sharing the love you had for him. He was a very special boy.
You are in our prayers.

Carol Lewis said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your beloved Jack and the agony his passing and absence has left. He was a very, very lucky dog to have had such a wonderful and happy life and to be loved so well and so deeply by so many.

Nothing any of us can say will lessen the heartache but I hope you'll remember to count all the happy moments and little blessings you gave him (and all the dogs) daily and how much he loved you too. Because of all that love countless other good deeds and happy events were able to occur - something to be quite proud of.

God bless,

Carol Lewis

Stephanie Weaver said...

Oh, Sue, I am so very sorry to read this. It's a lovely tribute. We lost our Buddy Girl, who I got when I was 39, a year ago on January 2. Know that it does, eventually, become less unbearable.

Bear said...

I am so sorry to hear about Jack. We understand your pain. We have lost a couple of Goldens in the same way. The pain will eventually turn into smiles of wonderful Golden memories. Again, so so sorry. And thanks for sharing the beautful pics of Jack.
Bear's mom, Tammy

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue -I am so so sorry for your loss. It is so painful, I know. But Jack is at peace and you did the right thing. He had a wonderful life with much much love -better than a lot of other dogs.

Please call me at 858-414-4797 or email me at as I just lost my Amber this past Tuesday from I believe the same illness. I was an early member of this group in 2003/2004 and haven't been in awhile.

I would love to get together and support each other.

liz said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Jack. I love all the pictures. I can tell he was such a good boy.

These pups are so important to our hearts.
Take care during this sad time,

Stephanie Bradshaw said...

Dear Sue, so so sorry for your loss... I always feel we golden owners are so lucky to be so loved whole heartedly by these amazing creatures. They give us their purest and most honest admiration and affection. They touch and transform our lives by showering us with their unconditional love everyday. The world is a best place because of our Sweet Jack! xoxo

Shelly said...

Dear Sue,

I know your pain and love. We haven't met yet, but I am a member of the Golden Group. Our business keep us busy, but we love receiving the invites and seeing what the group is doing. Our Kelsey introduced us to Goldens...she came wandering down the street two days after Christmas. We lost her to canine leukemia 6 years ago. She opened our hearts to more goldens. We have three now. Hugs to you...The pain never goes just eases...your love for him will stay forever in your heart and on your mind. Until one day we meet. Golden Friends Forever...shelly

karen said...

Sue no words can ease nor take the pain that you & your family are feeling right now. I could not sleep & turned my computer on to see & read your email. The tears have not stopped, I am so deeply sorry & sadden by the news .
I am so happy that Phil & I were able to meet Jack & your beautiful brew of Goldies . Thank you for sharing his life & your beautiful story. Jack and all the dogs that I too have lost will forever remain in our hearts. Big hugs to you all & when we go to Slaters I will dedicate my burger for Jack :) may he rest in peace sweet sweet boy........ Mazy's owners

cathy carey said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I cried reading your post but laughed looking at the wonderful pictures of Jack - you can see he was a great spirt and charming fellow.
Our golden Sazi collapsed last saturday and was diagnosed with a heart cancer that is similar sounding to what happened to jack. We are on a day to day vigil so can truly understand the terrible sadness you must be feeling. They bring so much to the party, their passing is deeply felt. Sending love and condolences to you and your family.

Doni said...

I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Having to make the decision of letting go of two goldens, one at 7 and one at 3, I feel your pain. Please know you are in are thoughts and prayers.

Doni said...

I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Having to make the decision of letting go of two goldens, one at 7 and one at 3, I feel your pain. Please know you are in are thoughts and prayers.

Sam said...

Oh Sue, I'm so sorry. I'm sending hugs and love to you and your family.


Maxine said...

I am so sorry for your loss Sue. Jack seemed like a wonderful boy. I know your pack will miss him dearly.

I am sure Beau will greet him at the Rainbow Bridge and they will become fast friends.



Maxine said...

I am so sorry for your loss Sue. Jack seemed like a wonderful boy. I know your pack will miss him dearly.

I am sure Beau will greet him at the Rainbow Bridge and they will become fast friends.



Anonymous said...

dear sue and family,

jack - what a fortunate dog to be part of your family. if only all pets were able to be loved in life and death as jack.

jack came to your and changed your life immensely - you had a debt in life you could never repay this wonderful animal. however, how could you know the care and love in dying you gave jack repaid him greatly for everything he gave to you and your family.

a society is judged by how the weakest amongst us is treated. when jack was so in need of you, you were there all the way until his journey ended.

your memorialization of him still has me crying. i have not stopped hugging and crying on my 13 year old golden, chief.

thank you very much for reminding me what is so very important in life and death. and, more importantly, thank you for sharing such a difficult time in life with us all that we will all go through one day with our goldens.

i have learned that dogs change our lives and never say a word whilst they do it -

mike, lisa, and chief

Donna Stabe said...

Sue... your face and eyes said it all when you were holding your beloved Jack. What an incredible story about him and your love for your very special boy. I am laughing and crying at the same time. Our BO will do anything for food and your description of Jack described him exactly. Of course, my tears are for the extraordinary pain you and your family are going through right now. He is not replacable and will always have a huge part of your heart. You gave him the best life possible and he was a very lucky boy to have shared his life with you and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I know words will not help right now, but know we all are thinking of you and know how painful this is for you.
Very sincerely,
Donna Stabe

My Life in Blog Years said...

I am so sorry to hear about lossing your heart dog. The sudden ness of it all is always tramatic. Rest in peace sweet Jack- your kind face will be missed.

Anonymous said...

Cheryl Sills has left a new comment on your post "My Sweet Jack":

Sue, what a wonderful life you and Jack had together. I lost my Rocky in a very similar way, four and a half years ago, and I still tear up when I think of him. I can feel your pain. Keep all those wonderful memories in your heart until you meet again. Many hugs to you.

Meeka said...

Dear Sue,
This was such a beautiful and heartfelt post.
I'm so sorry for the loss you're feeling.
Rest in Peace, Sweet Jack.


Unknown said...

Of course, this again brings tears to my eyes, and knowing you I am sure, you too are having a rough day, he will always be in your heart until you meet him again. He is up there taking care of your dad. I watch Simba going thru it everyday of course I have had more time to deal with this horrible cancer our buys are and did suffer from, I keep a watchful eye on Simbas gums morning noon and night, praying that they stay a bright pink, I watch his heart beat at nights and his panting, all signs of this cancer. His rear leg is getting weaker and he is slowing down, Its hard to watch such a strong dog become weaker daily. Sometimes I wish I didnt know what is ailing him and sometimes I wonder if it would be easier not knowing and then I read this, and how fast Jack was taken from your loving arms, I guess we are truly blessed for the time we are allowed to love our big boys here on earth, God and your Dad have Jack by their sides... god bless you and your family.. We love you..Jack when my Simba's time come please keep an eye on him for me...

cathy carey said...

Thinking about you and your Jack. Our Zuni and Sazi both had the same cancer, Zuni passed on 2/3/10, and Sazi 3/25/13. I know much you must miss him.

cathy carey said...