We got Jasmine 13 years ago, almost exactly. It was a few days before Thanksgiving and Tim saw her in the pet store. He had Fridays off of work, but I didn’t, so he had gone on his own to look at the puppies. She was the runt of the litter – half border collie, half golden retriever – with the color of a golden, but the size and spunk of a collie. He called me at work to see what I thought of him buying her. Honestly, I had zero interest in having a dog. But Tim had jokingly made the stipulation before we got married that we had to have a dog, and I had agreed. My preference was for one that didn’t shed, lick, jump, bark, or bite…but in the end I let Tim decide, and he picked Jasmine. She didn’t bite, but none of my other preferences were met.
She was a cute puppy. A four pound bundle of golden fur. A day or two after we brought her home, we headed to Michigan to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I let her ride on my lap in the car and she gnawed on my fingers with her toothless gums most of the way. Her puppy days were full of wetting accidents (she relieved herself anytime she got excited), chewed-on furniture, lots of shedding, licking, jumping, and barking. She figured out easily how to jump over gates and knock over other barriers we tried to use to keep her in a certain room, or out of others. She was full of energy and was easily excitable from day one.
As she grew older, and we began our family, she proved to be extremely gentle around children and very tolerant of fur pulling and tackling and attempts to “ride” on her back. She often got into mischief and we had countless instances of loaves of bread, sticks of butter, candy bars, and even yucky baby diapers that got consumed while our backs were turned, or when she escaped from the kitchen when we weren’t home. One time, she even got into the Christmas presents under the tree, unwrapped and ate two pounds of chocolate. She didn’t sleep for two days, or even sit for more than a few seconds during that time.
Up until three or four years ago, most people who saw her for the first time thought she was still a puppy. In recent years, though, her age became more obvious. Her sight started to fade, and the past six months or so, her sense of smell did, too. She developed a recurring incontinence issue and more and more white fur appeared around her face. Her energy level became more reasonable for a dog her age.
Then, this past Tuesday evening, she got sick – weak, lethargic, feverish, bowel and bladder incontinence and bloody stool. Tim took her to the vet on Wednesday and they said it seemed like a bacterial infection – probably from something she ate – and they gave her an IV and sent him home with some antibiotics. They said she would most likely get better, and for a few hours she seemed a little bit perkier. By Wednesday night, though, she wouldn’t even stand. All day Thursday, she lay on the floor, only moving to try to adjust her position. Tim had to force-feed water and medicine and she wasn’t eating anything at all. About midnight last night, she started squeaking (the only noise she had made all day) and Tim went and sat with her for a while, petting her, trying to help her get comfortable. He came back to bed around 1:30. She died sometime between then and 7:30 this morning.
I cried. Tim cried. Our three oldest kids cried, hard. In truth, I haven’t been a fan of having a dog. I just don’t see benefit in pets…and, to be brutally honest, I never really wanted our kids to form an attachment to Jasmine. It just seemed like wasted effort and emotion to have affection for an animal. I know that seems heartless to most people. But even in spite of my general apathy – and, at times, desperate wish to not have a dog (fleas kind of made me flip out last year) – there is no denying that I had a soft spot for Jasmine, after all. Even through the years of bemoaning the dog fur everywhere, and the inconvenience of finding dog-sitters when we wanted to leave town for a few days, and having to avoid the “land-mines” that she left in her wake, I have always known her to really and truly be a good dog – kind and affectionate and exuberant and gentle. I am thankful that she was dog my kids spent their youngest years growing with. She will be missed.