Wednesday, July 7, 2010
In loving memory of Jack
My hubby and I have a beautiful little dog called Max. He is a Maltalier, a cross of Cavalier and Maltese. He’s a beautiful dog and in the two short years we have had him has brought so much joy to our lives. My family is full of little dogs, we have one, my mum has one, my dad has one and my sister and her hubby have one. Just like the human members of our family, they all love each other and have a great time together, but occasionally have their moments. But generally, a family catch up is a crazy mixture of humans and dogs.
My sister and I don’t yet have children and so our little dogs are in some way a training run. We have managed to keep this little creature alive and in the meantime develop an incredibly strong bond and love. Parenthood should be a breeze, right?
Earlier this week my sister lost the little dog that she loved so much and it has been devastating to watch. Let me say now that those who have not been lucky enough to share such a bond with an animal will perhaps not understand the deep sense of loss that comes with the death of a pet. While I am fortunate enough not to have lost an immediate family member or dear friend and therefore cannot compare, the loss of a pet can be shattering. Little Jack died of heart failure as my sister’s husband made a desperate dash to the vet to save his life.
My sister’s little Chihuahua Jack has been a constant in my sister’s life since she moved to Brisbane more than six years ago. She saw him in a pet store and it was love. She bought him home and has showered him with love ever since. He has been her loyal companion through a number of boyfriends and has adopted her husband as his ‘dad’ and he has been there through numerous ups and downs.
Seeing my sister deal with this loss is incredibly difficult. I know how I felt when we made the decision to put our 17 year old dog to sleep five years ago. The feeling of loss is immense; they are not there to greet you, to cuddle you and to happily wag their tail. And you wonder how on earth you will get through it. The thought of another pet is too much, how could you love another animal and then have to repeat such a devastating loss. But we do cope and we do yearn for that unconditional love that a pet provides and we do love again. I’m so glad I did take the plunge again with our little Max. Hubby took some convincing, but I think it’s fair to say he loves Max almost as much as I do now.
My family has been so supportive of my sister. My mum took the day off to comfort her. Not an easy phone call to make and explain to your boss you need to take the day off to be with your daughter who has just lost her dog. But for Mum, family was most important. Dad and I called numerous times during the day due to distance to check in and send our love. Her husband provided his love and support, despite processing his own loss.
I have many memories of Jack. They include the time my sister and mum went overseas for two weeks and hubby and I were on babysitting duties. We picked him up from the airport where he had flown in and he proceeded to fart all the way home in the car. Or the time he climbed into a cupboard and my sister accidentally shut the door not realising he was there. She couldn’t find him and started searching the backyard and the neighbourhood for him. She was already printing out lost dog signs when mum suggested she check the house again. There he was sitting in the cupboard patiently waiting for her to open the door.
Jack brought so much joy to not only my sister’s life but all of our lives. He meant so much to her she even had him included in some of her wedding photos. His ashes return home to her tomorrow and she will have those and the countless memories to treasure. Your family misses you Jack and our little family of four dogs are now three.