Goodbye But Never To Be Forgotten

March 3, 2014 § 10 Comments

Jasper soaking up a sunbeam.

Jasper soaking up a sunbeam.

I had absolutely no intention of getting another dog after Sammi went to Canine Heaven in July 2002.

The idea certainly wasn’t on my mind that Sunday afternoon just two months later when I was off to Staples with Joyce to get some office supplies for the communications business I operated at the time.

She suggested we stop in at the Humane Society along the way. I recall thinking there would be no harm in looking.

I didn’t buy the printer cartridge and paper I’d set out to purchase that day. Instead, it would be the start of another wonderful journey with a very different dog from the smart-as-a-whip, loyal and protective, but timid girl who’d been part of our family for 15 years.

Check out the blog I authored four years ago profiling the short story I penned about Jasper for a writing competition.

We had to say goodbye to him this past Thursday before I finished turning it into a book. It was sudden and much too soon.

Once you read the blog, you’ll know that Jasper would want his story to be told. It is one that deserves to be shared with the world.

Jasper was just eight weeks old when we met him. Joyce and I were immediately drawn to him but we didn’t make any impulse decisions as we are known to do.

In the ensuing days, Peter and I went back and looked at dogs and then the three of us returned within a week. I remember wandering around the Humane Society looking at other possibilities while Joyce and Peter had turned their attention back to the floppy eared Golden Lab/Shepherd/mutt.

They brought him to me to make a final decision.

I was trying to make a serious choice as I took him for a brief walk and then picked him up. It didn’t take long for that happy face to make the response a resounding Yes.

Like any puppy, Jasper created his fair share of frustration, including eating some heirloom books and an autographed Jean Beliveau autobiography. A neighbour lady politely referred to him as rambunctious.

However, once Jasper became a person, as he clearly thought of himself, he turned into my hero.

The world would be a better place if more people had Jasper’s qualities. He lived life to the fullest and made sure those around him enjoyed his company. He could make me laugh even on the crappiest days.

If he was a regular school child, Jasper would have been the class clown, but always to amuse others. He was always himself – gregarious, happy-go-lucky and fun but equally there if you needed to talk to someone.

A co-worker who came by to express her condolences described Jasper as a character and related a story that made me smile.

When she and her daughter took a walk with us once, the girl hopped onto a park bench to rest and Jasper jumped up right beside her as if he were just another child.

Even in his waning days, Jasper knew how to capture a heart.

We took in a boarder in early January and it didn’t take long for Brianne and Jasper to be fighting over space on the couch. Once territory was established, he would cuddle in just like he did when he assumed his one-third of the bed with Joyce and I.

Even on his last night with us, Jasper gave us glimpses of his old self. We tried to distract him with treats. He was pacing around after his first of multiple seizures. He chowed the morsels down like he did as a puppy.

He was eager to go with us on a walk down to the mailbox. Jasper’s tail wagged spritely and he even surged ahead, something he hadn’t done much lately. Perhaps he knew the end was near and he wanted to give us a final gift.

I will end with excerpts from Facebook tributes Peter, who is attending college in Kelowna, and Joyce wrote:

“Today I was informed that one of my best and oldest friends was unfairly taken from this plane of existence. Jasper was the only being to always show his overwhelming excitement to see me and tolerated moods both good and bad. He never once judged me for coming home in the wee hours of the morning, even if I had had a few too many drinks.

He, as all the best dogs do, had a great sense of emotional ESP and never failed in cheering me up after a bad day. He was a great wrestling opponent and a decent snuggler. He was a barrel of laughs and a cauldron of joy. I will endlessly miss his adorable furry face.

Now, he is leaping across the Rainbow Bridge, past the gates of Asgard and into the mighty halls of Puppy Valhalla to receive a Kong from Odin himself, filled with the finest peanut butter in all 12 kingdoms.

So long, Jasp-articus. It was a slice.”

Joyce wrote:

“Today we said goodbye to our funny, crazy, wonderful, cuddly, loving and always entertaining Jasper. He was the best thing at the end of the day … coming home to that wagging tail, happy face and overwhelmingly enthusiastic nature.

I’m sure that for a long time we will hear the jingle of his collar as he woke up, the click of toenails on the floor coming to check out what was interesting in the fridge and his distinctive “hooting” when we came home too late or were ignoring his more subtle hints that it was time for a walk.

“Rest peacefully my sweet boy.”

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