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My best friend in the world passed away, last December on the seventh.



Jake was fifteen when he passed, and him and I where constantly together for ten of his fifteen years.



I don't really get on this forum too often these days. But when I was a lonely 15 year old with little self esteem and not many friends, I was here all the time. I wanted a golden retriever more then anything. My mom was never much of a dog person, so all I could do at that point was live vicariously through this forum.



I begged and pleaded my parents to allow me to get a dog all throughout my childhood, but for the longest time it never came together. When I was 15, their only remaining excuse was that we where renting a house and there was a no pet policy. By some crazy miracle of a coincidence, I found out that our land lady had a soft spot for rescue golden retrievers of all things. I took it as a sign that getting my golden was meant to be, so I decided to do everything I could to make it happen. I broke into my dad's file cabinet and found the land lady's phone number. I mustered up my best adult voice, and called her pretending to be my dad. I told her we had come across a sweet older golden in need of a good home.



"They'll put him down if we don't take him in!" I lied. At that point I hadn't even found my Jake. I just needed to get a yes. Our land lady somehow believed me, and gave me (or my dad as she thought) permission to drop the pet policy on the condition that we only adopt a golden retriever. "Can I get this in writing?!" I asked her, a little too excitedly. She quizzically answered yes, and a few days later my parents got a letter in the mail saying the pet policy had been changed. Lucky for me it was generic and didn't cause any suspicion.



I immediately scoured craigslist and petfinder, and came across an ad for a "Gentle good boy named Jake". The ad said he loved everybody and that he was house trained. That sounded good to me. Jake's picture was included, he was sitting on an old blue couch and smiling.



My mom graciously drove me to the house where he lived. She wasn't happy about it, but she still did it. And that's meant a lot to me over the years.



When I first met Jake, he was a mess. And he barked at me. He looked like he had never had a bath, his ears where both infected and swollen with hematomas, and he was about 20 pounds overweight and covered in ticks.



But he was friendly, and his eyes where so kind.



I sat on the floor, and he gently walked up to me. I pet his chest, and he softly pressed his fuzzy forehead against mine. This would become his signature move, especially during my hardest times.



We took him home and I gave him a bath and spent hours petting him and pulling out his ticks. He seamed to be breathing a sigh of relief as I washed him and brushed him. I remember my mom was so apprehensive, she wouldn't even let him sleep inside the house that first night.

Later that evening I let him out, and closed the kitchen door and watched through the window as he did a head tilt and then walked to the bed I had bought for him and flopped down. I waited for my parents to go to bed, and then went outside to be with him. It was a warm Arizona springtime night, and I pet him and felt his gentle breath as the light from the pool danced on the porch sealing above us. I was so happy that night. And I know Jake was too.

My teenage years where rough. I had a lot of self esteem issues, among other things. But Jake was always there to make it better and help me feel loved. From the day I got him, he was always gentle and reserved; a calm in the storm of life I could always count on and always come home to. He always just knew when I needed him to walk up and do his gentle head-butt that I loved so much. He also always knew when I needed a laugh. I remember one time I got in a pretty severe argument with my mom about something that I felt was beyond my control. It was an unfair situation for both of us, and neither of us really knew how to handle it. But as I was standing there getting yelled at, Jake padded up in between us, and quietly lifted his leg against a basket full of my moms freshly laundered underwear. My mother was livid, and I was horrified. I have no doubt that dogs can laugh, because Jakes eyes where so full of laughter at that moment. I truly believe he was trying to break up the tension. During our ten years together, that was the only time he ever peed in the house.

Jake was such a kind spirit, and he always seemed to just light up when he could make someone smile. We went to the dog park all the time. Instead of playing with other dogs, he would gently trot up to people and offer his fluffy head for a pet. He would smile and beam and give them just enough time to feel his calm energy before he moved on to someone else who looked lonely. Then he'd loop back and check on me to make sure I was doing alright. If he couldn't see me he would look all stern and alert with his ears perked up, until he'd see me. His features would then immediately soften into his trademark grin.

Jake was always there for me, for every milestone I went through over the last ten years. Through my first breakups and through graduating high school and going to college and different jobs, I could always count on Jake to take the edge off of the difficulties that come with life. He would always be there when I was alone and needed to just hold somebody. We went on so many walks, and because of him I met some of my best friends. He was always such a good ambassador, especially for someone like me who isn't too inclined to go and make friends with strangers.

Over the years he slowed down a bit, but the week before he passed away we went on our normal two mile walk, and played fetch in the yard. He would always get so excited when I would pop open a new can of tennis balls. A few days later we went to the dog park and people commented on his energy and youthful antics like they always did. I have always been obsessive with his diet and exercise; he looked very young for being fifteen.

"He looks so young! And so happy! Is he really fifteen??"

"Yes he is" I said. "He's gonna live forever."

Which is what I always said. And what I honestly believed.

A few days later, I woke up and it wasn't to Jake jumping into my bed like normal. I looked over to where he usually slept and he wasn't smiling like always. I wrote it off and figured he was just tired. I took him on a short walk and gave him his breakfast, and went to work. I came home to a very lethargic dog. I booked the soonest vet appointment I could, and after blood tests found out to my horror that Jake's kidneys had completely failed.

I fell apart, and through tears naively asked the vet if I could give Jake one of my kidneys. I couldn't understand why he would go downhill so fast. The vet said that there was nothing he could do, and the best course of action would be putting him down immediately. At that point, Jake could hardly move.

I absolutely couldn't do it. I paid the bill and gathered Jake up in my arms and took him to the car. We sat there and I cried and cried. We went home and I just held him, shaking with tears as he sighed and rested his head on me.

I took him outside to the lawn, and we sat there under the stars as I pet him, watching as the light from the pool danced on the porch sealing above us. I held him all night, and cried some more. He nuzzled against me as much as he could, and did his gentle sighs that always made me feel better.

We woke up the next morning, and I laid on my stomach and pressed my forehead against his. I asked him if he was ready, and he sighed. Long and soft and gentle and reassuring. Like always.

My mom graciously drove us to the vet. We drove around for a while with the windows down, Jake and I in the back seat. We went to some of the places we used to walk together. I played some of the songs we both loved. He perked up and panted and smiled, and I held him so tight. And cried so hard. Jake just breathed calmly and licked my hand and comforted me like he always did.

When we got to the vet, I carried him in. He was so weak and shaky. I sat with him on the floor as the vet set a needle and his breathing slowed and stopped. He got cold so fast. The vet left and my mom left and I held him for what felt like hours. I couldn't let go, but I eventually gently set him on the floor. I squeezed his paws one last time, and removed his collar and walked out the door.

Going through this is so hard. I'm sure a lot of you have been through it just like I have. I'm so sorry for anyone else who has loved and lost like this. It's never easy, and it's never something you get over.

I still don't know how to deal with this, but writing helps a bit.

I love you Jake. Thanks so much for everything you did for me.

Thanks for reading. I hope it didn't make you too sad. Give your dog a hug for me please :)

Best,

-Nathan E.
 

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Curator of the Coy Zoo
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What a wonderful tribute. Sounds like you saved each other. I know how much it hurts to lose a friend like Jake but remember for every minute from that first day, you were his forever and always and he knew he was loved.
 

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I am so very sorry for the loss of your precious Jake. That was a lovely tribute to him, he certainly looks like a very happy boy, hope you will share more photos of your handsome boy with us.
 

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Super Moderator Leader
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I am so sorry for your loss of Jake, he was such a handsome boy.
Your tribute is beautiful, I can tell how special he was and what a wonderful relationship and bond the two of you had.

Run free Jake.......
 

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Oh, your tribute to Jake was so beautiful. Tears are running down my face. Clearly you two were meant to be together. I am so sorry for your loss. It is very difficult to let them go. I believe we wil meet up with our dogs again one day.
You are obviously a dog person and I think, like me, life is not right without a Golden. A new dog never replaces the old but it does help heal your heart. I hope someday you will have a new best friend. I think it would make Jake happy for you.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Jake

Here's some pictures from over the years.
 

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The pictures show, you gave him a very great life filled with love.
 

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What a heartfelt tribute to your best friend Jake. Your love for him and he for you is evident in the pictures you shared. I’m sorry for your loss.
 

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I'm so sorry for your loss. It's sounds like you and Jake were destined to be together. All the struggles you went through to bring him into your life - what an amazing story of determination. And Jake hit the jackpot, too, when you came into his life. What a true friend you have been to your handsome Jake. Your love for him shines through in every word of your beautiful tribute.

The pain of losing someone you love can feel unbearable sometimes. Please remember how much Jake loved you and be kind to Jake's best friend (you). He would want that.

Sending healing and comforting thoughts your way.
 

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What a beautiful tribute to your beautiful Jake....I'm all Misty....Jake sounds like he had a wonderful life, you both needed each other, and it all worked out...my thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. As some have said, when you are ready, I hope you open your heart to another wonderful rescue..... beautiful shots of Jake on his last day..
 

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Shedding some tears for Jake. What a wonderful boy. It sounds like he lived a life full of love and joy and was fortunate to have you as his best friend.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Goldens make the world a better place...your tribute to Jake brought tears to my eyes and I'm so sorry for your loss...keep those wonderful memories alive every day in your heart!
 

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I love all the photos of Jake, thank you for sharing them with us all.
 

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Nathan

Nathan: The pictures of your Jake are so heartwarming and such beautiful memories.
I sent you a private message and hope you got it.
Jake will always love you, that's how Goldens are. You gave Jake a beautiful life!
 
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