When I get home there is an absence, a silence, an emptiness,
a lost energy; an energy that took care of all of us for many years.
By Perla Gutierrez
Jack lives forever in the lifetime line of 2000-2014. He was more than a hundred years old in human counting until this weekend. Lately, I was calling him for his everyday meals with the agony of knowing that any day I would carried his lifeless body to a better place. That did not happen. What happened was a very different story. Yes, Jack is dead for the rest of the lifetime line. There is another space where our own special memories can recreated him at will or spontaneously, depending on anyone who had the privilege of knowing him. He was with us since January of 2000, when he was only 3 months old he was so incredible handsome, elegant, happy and sweet. He lived playing, jumping, and being curious. He turned his preferences into habits. He knew where the finest shadow was, and the best spot to catch the sun rays in the morning, he knew the best trees, make friends among his own kind and with any human being.
We ran together for many years while the kids were in soccer or in other activities of the sort; the smooth grass was like velvet green foam under his gracious movements. He did not like to swim, he tried to rescue us from the water when our heads were not above the surface; with alarmed calls and vigilant eyes he was around the pool while we were swimming. On the streets during our walking together, he was spotted because of his beauty and sweetness. His face was smiling with serene calmness as an attitude towards life. We loved each other like only dogs and humans can, and that is beyond borders of any rational complication. It is simple, unconditional, perpetual, kind and joyful to say the least. He controlled his space from raccoons, ducks, rats, possums and other diverse creatures at the back yard. We can keep going and going telling our 14 years of adventures with him. He was a truly Snoopy in all the essence of the Charlie Brown cartoon character; in his posture and his attitude, the way he used to choose his favorite cushion, dog bed, toys, and greetings.
The canines don't live as long as we do, and their abilities deteriorate exponentially to the end of their lives. He was no exception, although he was healthy and happy for almost all his life. We can said that his jumping decayed over time and two hernias, one extracted and the other impossible to extract for his age, was the most serious business in his health. Until his last year he was vibrant, then, he stopped eating as good as always. The Vet and we tried several combinations; we succeeded for a while. While aging, his skin was flaky and his fur uneven; his face hair turned white like somebody just discolored it. His senses overall deteriorated in a fast rate; the last week he stumbled, his walking was slow, he looked extremely tired, and he didn't eat his favorite meat with eagerness but with a nauseated face and his body turned into a stick with a swollen abdomen. Yesterday, he couldn't eat; we had been monitoring in detail his behavior, and we knew that the end was close; for a pure breed Beagle with a fantastic pedigree, 14 years was above the average, in human years he had lived more than any.
He was always in shape; never overweight and with a natural good taste for simple meat, carrots, apples, and the utmost variety combinations of dog food. He was a complete dog all his life without the need of any weird kind of surgeries or with imposed human habits, and he was a dog in the most pure sense, and without clothes, because his fur was magnificent. The last winters he needed a coat in our view; though, he loved the changing of the weather. For many years he only used his green collar and his tag. Some holidays he wore a red bow, and he looked so adorable! His implanted chip was working until the end.
So, we went to the Vet, yesterday. The diagnosis was: loudest murmur in his heart, distended abdomen with retained liquid, over-sized liver, the hernia, distressed appearance for the lack or appetite, and most probably, cancer had already invaded his body. There was no way that we could prolong his life. With all the advances in medicine, technology and science the best companion of mankind has not been able to evade the little life span of its biology. The most we can do nowadays is to relieve their pain, have amazing breeds, combat many diseases, and increment a tiny bit their lives.
Jack is not with us any more, when I hear a barking dog, I remember him, when I go to the back yard I can perceive his scent.
I have looked for dogs; the images of them returned to me with an automatic comparison to him, it is too soon, I guess. Jack was not my first dog, all my dogs have left and immeasurable trace in me. Jack was in our family in a very special time of our lives. Without him we close an era in our little universe. Jack was in our lives to help us, to enjoy life; as my son put it, to give us himself, to be him. We honored him by remembering. He was epic. We grew up together in a fantastic adventurous way. He stays with us in that special space and energy called memory; intensely beautiful, unique and private. Our family knows how deep it is. Our Jack is forever Jack in our own dimension of love. Some of you know exactly why I am sharing this chapter now. We all know that dogs are part of us. We can’t image a world without them. Now, our legend of Jack the Beagle has begun. A story worth to tell, a life worth to live. Hugs…