A Quiet Goodbye From a Feisty Little Dog

We never really worked out what breed Jess was. She resembled a small Alsatian, but seemed to have characteristics of collie and whippet in her too. She found a place with my mother not long after my father left in 2002. We think that she was about three years old, and her previous owners no longer wanted her because they were relocating to Spain. My mother, upon seeing her sad face when they left, knew that she had taken the made the right decision in offering her a forever home, and within weeks Jess had transformed from a rather nervous little thing into a ball of boundless energy, with a cheeky personality and a seemingly big smile. She adored my mother and her other dog, a bumbling retriever named Ollie, and the two complemented each other perfectly.

Jess was a constant in my mother’s life from that moment. She followed her around, making sure that she knew where she was, and was fiercely defensive of anyone who came near her, or indeed the house. She only seemed to truly relax when she knew that Mum was asleep, inevitably taking the opportunity to curl up next to her. She was a happy, contented softie, always enjoying a cuddle. For the last twelve years she’s been a friend, a protector and a member of our small, rather dysfunctional family. She helped Mum though a nasty divorce, several house moves and a number of jobs, and I always felt a little comforted by the fact that she was there to keep Mum safe when my sisters and I moved into our own houses.

As she aged, her little personality grew into that of a stubborn old woman. Armed with bowels that could be used for chemical warfare, she knew what she wanted, and made sure everyone else knew it too. It was a regular occurrence to be woken up in the early hours of the morning with a slobbery chew toy being placed on my pillow, and despite my protestations she would quite happily chase it as often as I was willing to throw it. She would sell her soul for a crisp, barked at other dogs on the tv, took great delight in shredding any post that came through the door and made a point of threatening the postman in the process. She had her own box of toys, and a preferred place on the couch. At Christmas, her presents would be placed lovingly under the tree with all the other gifts.

When Ollie passed away, she gradually accepted another two dogs into the family, but always managed to maintain her position as top dog. She was the boss. She knew it. They knew it. We all knew it.

Mum took her to the vets today after seeing a quite a sudden deterioration in her health. After receiving X-rays, she was brought back home this evening. Jess jumped on the couch with the other dogs, curled up, and quietly passed away. She knew. She waited to come back home, to be with her family, and said her goodbyes before she left.

I’ll miss her very much. I’ll miss the cuddles and the constant affection, I’ll even miss the slobbery toys. Most of all, I’ll miss the unconditional love that she brought to my mother’s home and to our lives.

Goodbye, my feisty little friend. I’m sure that wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing, you’re showing them who’s boss.

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64 thoughts on “A Quiet Goodbye From a Feisty Little Dog

  1. I am sorry for your family’s loss. She knew to wait, so that the others would know what happened and not wonder where she went. ((hugs)) and love to all of you right now.

  2. I knew Id cry as soon as I saw the title and yep I did… what a lovely tribute. Its a member of your family…. how nice she died peacefully at home which is all we can wish for anyone or anything. Great read and your love shines through it the whole way as well as the rest of your family. My condolences ….

  3. Made me cry – I had a perky little Yorkie that needed a home at the age of 6. She was perfect, she loved me like no one else ever has. I lost her on Thanksgiving at the age of 13 – I’ve never had another pup. She was the tops.

  4. I’m so sorry. I think there’s a lot to be said for any animal that passes away at home. They know they are part of the family and that’s where they want to be. It says so much about the home she had and the love she received. I hope you can all take comfort in that.

  5. That is so tough. I’m sorry for you and your mom. It’s so sad that our furry friends age much faster than us. I did smile a bit at her “chemical” warfare. She was quite the woman!

  6. I’m so sorry to hear about Jess passing away. We’ve had a dog for almost 3 years and I can’t imagine life without him. He’s a huge part of the family.
    My thoughts are with you all and especially your mum at this sad time.

  7. I’m so sorry for your family. We had to put my ten-and-a-half year old Bouvier down last August. 😥 We bought a new Bouvier and I’m more aware of a dog’s lifespan at age 25 than I was at age 12. I wish dogs lived as long as people. 😦

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