Goodbye But Never To Be Forgotten

March 3, 2014 § 11 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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§ 11 Responses to Goodbye But Never To Be Forgotten

  • David, I hope that you finish your book on Jasper. A dog who KNEW he was people will make a fascinating read. Condolences on the huge hole in your hearts that Jasper’s going over the ‘Rainbow Bridge’ has left. ❤

  • Tiffany says:

    This was so beautiful and heartbreaking to read. Just came up on the 1st anniversary of my darling’s passing a couple of days ago. Sending love and well wishes your way. Xoxox

  • Cathi Hobbins says:

    David – so sorry for your loss my friend. Jasper sounds like he was an amazing companion and furkid. I look forward to the book.

  • Lovely tribute, David. Sounds like both you and Jasper were lucky to have found each other. Looking forward to the book.

  • Suzanne Sagmeister says:

    So saddened to hear of your loss David & family. Pawprints on your hearts forever. RIP Jasper.

  • Jen Rice says:

    I am in tears as I read your post. Yes, Jasper could so easily make you smile – if he were a person he would be the always optimistic one, the one to turn a negative situation into a positive. He would be the one to goof around to make you laugh. He would be the sensitive one to console you if you were down.

    I knew Sammy but not as a pup. I saw Jasper grow up, become a pal of Tana -(even if she was possive about her sticks and balls. I guess you could say Jasper taught Tana to swim since she did not want Jasper to get the sticks thrown in the water! ). Whenever I have thought of my dear friends Joyce and Dave and their son Peter, always, always Jasper was in the picture. He was the second kid!

    My heart reaches out to you all. I know you are grieving. I know you feel a big part of you is missing. As you are my dear long-time friends, I wish I could be there with you in person to share your tears, to console your sadness, and to share with the memories of a wonderful dog, Jasper.

    • Jen Rice says:

      Excuse the few typos. I wrote it on my phone. Went to scroll back to reread and it posted. Love you guys.

  • Brenda (@Brenda72572818) says:


    Thank you for inviting me to leave a message here. It is a privilege.

    Once again, I am sorry for the loss of Jasper. In that first period of time after we lose a pet, it leaves such a large chasm within us. Our pets are such beloved family members in their own unique, special way.

    But I firmly believe they do in fact cross that Rainbow Bridge, and carry on a happy, peaceful life while awaiting a reunion with beloved family members, people and fellow pets alike. In some spiritual realm, or dimension, they remain with us in heart and mind.

    Time is a healer and the grieving process follows its own individual path. Wishing for you as the days pass, you will find your grief begins to dissipate and you find peace. That sadness and initial emptiness will be replaced by your warm memories together, and the realization of Jasper being at peace, waiting to meet up with you again some day.

  • deeandmurphy says:

    This is a beautiful tribute to Jasper. May your memories of him always make you smile.

  • Sam Costa says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing a dog is losing a best friend and family member. Finishing your book would truly be a lovely tribute to your good friend Jasper. My thoughts are with you in this rough time.

  • Erin Stashko says:

    That was a very touching tribute that you wrote for Jasper! I am sorry for your loss.

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

    Suuuurrre… That makes me laugh, though; we found our dog when I was looking for golf clubs for my husband on Kijiji and I somehow clicked my mouse on the pet section, also thinking – ‘there’s no harm in looking.’ I found a dog destined for the SPCA so we swooped in to get her and she has been our dog ever since.

    A seizure disorder had taken our previous dog, so we very sadly relate to your words here:
    “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.”

    Like you, we had a similar experience with our good-byes, in that, Halo ‘knew’ when it was time. Halo walked over to each of us in the family at various points throughout the day on the day before we had to let her go. She sought each one of us out, and either stared directly at us and put her head in our laps, or nuzzled our hands, etc. For myself, she was staring at me so intently, begging me to let her go, and I cried to her, “Noo, no, no, not now.” I was so very sad and she could feel it.

    But how could I not carry out this one final act of kindness?

    She was not one to go downstairs normally, but she had also made her way downstairs to say good-bye to our son, we later learned.

    How did she know we would have to put her down the very next morning? That night, after she said her good-byes, she went into round after round of seizures. By early morning she was at the vet clinic with her entire family surrounding her, each with a hand on her while the vet quickly worked on her to let her go freely, before another round of seizures hit.
    We saw a double rainbow that summer evening, over the houses in front of our house. We knew then, she had made it home.

    Halo was a special gift to our family, despite having had her a short time, under 2 years. She had paved the way to (always) have room in our hearts and homes for another dog; truly, as you say, David, dogs are a man’s best friend. Jasper has also had a powerful impact on you and your family; it’s clear from their writing as well. (Talented family of writers!) Jasper’s spirit and ‘personality’ will live forever, thanks to you and your family.

    May Jasper rest in peace!

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