Tuesday, June 21, 2011

For Jazz & Sasha

We just passed the anniversaries marking the transformations of our wonderful dogs Jazz and Sasha into the stuff good memories are made of. Two years for Jazz (it seems like a million) and one year for Sasha (her hair is still in the corners of the couch). John and I have more room in the bed these days minus 170 lbs of dogs but we would trade the stretch room for the dog pile in a heartbeat. We will always miss them and will always be grateful that God brought them to us. We recall both with love in this season.

These were written on their last days with us.

Remembering Jazz

Someone once asked me if I thought there were Guardian Angels for dogs. I didn't even have to think about the answer. No. There are no Guardian Angels for dogs because dogs are of themselves a special class of angelic beings.

They love us and protect us, watch over us, give us grace. They also steal our cookies, chew our socks and potty on the rug...and we adore them.

At 12:15 pm today, our 15 year old, faithful friend, Jazz, went wherever really great dogs go. She was suffering from arthritis and had lost her rear suspension as well as her back up gear and was no longer responding to medication. She was becoming increasingly uncomfortable and the time had come.

Jazz was our "FREE DOG" who came into our lives at a special time and became John David's fast friend. She did Crow Creek with him until her paws were smooth, rode shotgun with him and made the spoons with him at night. She ran off intruders, saved injured bunnies, loved cats and ate stale donuts from neighborhood trash cans.

She said her own unique version of Grace before meals and would let you take food out of her mouth. She let a tired, sad soldier bury his head in the velvet fur of her neck and let go of the death he saw in Iraq. She let that soldier's baby grab her ears and drool on her head.

Dogs have healing gifts and The Jazzer was the greatest of them all. At 100 lbs for most of her life and part St Bernard as well as Lab, she could rest her head on your shoulder when you were seated. Many a time when I was sad she would just come and let me know she was there. Head on my shoulder and no demands.

After taking care of our family for many years we took the best care of her we could at the last and let her go with full hearts. She got to eat bacon and cheese bread for breakfast, favorites, and then she got to roll in the grass in the beautiful sunshine. We made our real good-byes there on the lawn and then one last car ride.

The voice she knew and loved best told her over his cell phone from Juneau what a pretty girl she was and how everything would be alright. She laid her noble head with her kind, soft eyes down upon a cushion of John David's favorite hat which carried his scent and she was gone.

Her Vet, Dr. Lewis was the angel God let carry Jazz home and she ministered to all of us with the same grace Jazz had always shown.

Those who have loved and lost an animal know our sorrow but also our gratitude. There are animals who carry within them a remnant of The Garden. Jazz was such a one. A treasure. She was forever John David's pretty girl and our friend. She will be missed.

The Lord gives and the Lord takes back. His Name is to be praised.

With gratitude,

John & Kathy
Spring 2009

(The day after Jazz left us I saw the finches from the lilac bushes fashioning their nests from her hair. Creation wastes nothing and makes its own memorials. The Jazzer would approve.)


You taught me how to "STAY!"
But Heaven whispered, "Come."

"Good Byes" are always hard especially when you have to exchange them with a good dog.

This afternoon our Sasha, our Aussie-Husky Rocket, lover of children, warm toast, dirty socks and head scratches, enemy of mice and squirrels and kitties; left arthritis and deafness and us behind and took a look over the high fence.

Fourteen years old with hips much older and a heart much younger she has been John's other girl since Dr. Bob Wald brought her to work and I took her home. We rescued her and she rescued our lives from any possibility of boredom.

Sasha was a joker who liked to get her way. She had piercing blue eyes and would fix her mesmerizing stare on you and not flinch. To Sasha we were sheep but we were her flock.

This morning she ate things that would normally require a Pepcid, posed for a few last pictures with the love of her life and then took one final ride in the backseat. She was so happy to be in the car looking out the window. We drove slowly.

Now the house seems as if it is waiting for her to return. I know we are. But that is a trick we never taught her. She could stay and fetch and shake. She could climb a chain link fence with her long pretty toes and herd children into a tight circle but she has wandered too far now to hear us call her back.

Perhaps she has found her old friend Jazz who will be sure to let her have her way just as she did in life. Perhaps she has finally found that flock of sheep in need of a shepherd. We like to think that she might have found the Good Shepherd. If she did I hope He likes bossy dogs.

There are dogs who make the world better and sometimes even make us better in the process. Sasha was one of those. Her memory like all the good she did for us will linger.

In gratitude,

John & Kathy
Spring 2010


Beloved animals are the windows that let us catch a glimpse of Eden.

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