my sweet Noodle

Saturday, January 26, 2008

me and my boy Jake summer 04

Jake December 1994 - January 2008

I can't remember how he ever came to have that nick name, Noodle, but it certainly seemed to suit him. He's gone, I took him to the vet yesterday morning and she agreed that it was time. His mind was still alert and his heart kind and tender, as always, but his body was giving out and he could no longer stand or get himself up.

The whole event from beginning to end was as peaceful and gentle as I could have imagined. For the previous 24 hours I'd been dragging him around from room to room on a giant bath sheet sled so that he could be with us, wherever we were, Winnie & I, which he didn't seem to mind at all. I called a kind neighbour to enlist in the job of carrying him to the car. I readied the back of my wagon with layer upon layer of folded duvets and I found his favourite big stuffed alien or spaceman. Retrievers like to carry things in their mouth, to retrieve and when they're especially happy they must have something in their mouth. So when I'd come back home from a few hours shopping in town after greeting me at the door he would always rush into the living room, nose through the assortment of stuffed toys in their toy box and always select his big purple alien. So that was in the car with him and my scarf which I wear every day, and probably should have been washed ages ago but I was glad yesterday that I hadn't washed it, that it stunk, stunk of me.

love you

The back seats were folded down and I adjusted the rear view mirror so that I could see his gentle face looking at me the whole half hour drive. Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day and his face and body were lying in a big patch of sunlight the whole trip, and I could tell that he was very relaxed and comfortable. When we got to the vets, Diane (our vet) came out to examine him and to have a conversation confirming what I already knew in my heart - that yes it was time. She gave him a small shot of sedative and said that they would come back in 10 minutes to carry him inside for the next step.

And oh what a fine 10 minutes it was. I laid in the back curled up beside him on a mattress of duvets, reminding him of some of my favourite things about him. Remembering the first night over 12 years ago that he arrived at 29 Black Street, this crazy wound for sound handsome red boy, how Emma Jane fell in love with him at first sight, how he loved to sit in laps when he was young -all 73 lbs of him. How I could drag his head up onto the pillow beside me at night and curl up into him and he wouldn't move the whole night through. He was my comfort and my security.

We lay in the back of my wagon and I rubbed his soft velvet ears and gently stroked that space between his eyes and down his snout a kind of pat he's very used to and one that he loves and I scratched his neck, all over, top to bottom and in around his ears and he raised his head and softly groaned in pleasure. It was the most perfect 10 minutes.

They finally came out and took him inside and up on an examining table wrapped up in a quilt of ours, his alien and my scarf snugged in beside him. I held his head next to mine and covered his face with too many kisses I used to tease him and say - that maybe I was giving him too many kisses, and he would always answer me back (in my voice of course) no not too many, there's never, ever too many kisses, I told him again that I loved him, just a little bit more than life itself and they gave him the second needle. And then ... then it's just over, he's gone... just like that. I stayed with him for a few minutes, asked Diane again to reassure me that it was time and that I had done the right thing. I kissed his big beautiful paws and said goodbye ... until next week when I'll go back to pick up his ashes.

We're so sad, Winnie Dixon and I ... we just can't believe he's gone.

I'm so happy that you have all gotten to know Jake, he is an exceptional dog and my absolute best friend.


  1. Bonjour,
    as every early morning, I start by reading your blog. This morning, I "knew" what would be written. Just knew. I am sad and at the same time I am grateful that he was bathing in your love for the passing. Same as with my beloved cat last August. I feel your sadness. I feel your sorrow. I feel your love. He has felt it too.
    I hope you "feel" my affection for you.
    Louise (near Montreal)
    P.S. why I read you every morning? you are like a twin sister.

  2. I'm so sorry to read about Jake. It was time and you did do the right thing.
    Our companion animals come into our lives and during their all too short lives give us such unconditional love and joy. They break our hearts when they must leave us.
    Hold the memories of your Jake close to your heart.
    Hug Winnie and Bleet, as they will feel miss him too.

    Pandora, Harlequin, Jellicle, Robin and I send a hug to you all.

    I’m sorry for your loss.

  3. Oh dear, I was afraid of this. I am so sorry that Jake is gone. I know you will miss him terribly. I went back and read your post about Em and Winnie, such uplifting stories. Any companion animal that you adopt is very lucky.
    Your post today reminded me of when we had to take our cat on her final trip to the vet. She had been through a lot of cancer treatment and I knew she wanted to just let go and be in peace. That day, my husband drove and I sat in the back seat with her in my lap. It's very, very difficult. I felt horrible at deciding this for her, but all these years later I know it was the right thing to do.
    I wish you strength and solace. We will remember all your stories and photos of Jake. I also am glad that we got to know him through you.

  4. Oh Susan, I'm so, so sorry to hear this. I've almost been afraid to read your blog every morning lately, knowing what was coming. But your stories about Jake were just too beautiful, and I felt like I needed to read them, and participate in the strange way our blogs allow us to do. Jake, and all your animals, are blessed, as are you. You gave him a good live, and a good death. There will be a hole in your life now, for a while. I hope your memories of Jake, and the love of your other dear pets, and the love of your human companions will comfort you and fill that hole as you grieve. Bugsy and I are thinking of you.

  5. Awwww Susan... it took a long time for me to get through today's words...the tears were making it all blurry. I can't believe how attached I have become to old Jake just through your pictures and your stories. I know the feel of his velvety ears just by reading your words...
    I didn't comment yesterday; One of the few times I seemed a bit stumped .. cuz all I wanted to do was swear too. Today I wanted to somehow say that I thought he was getting very tired and maybe it was time.. but, you already knew that. How I wish I were closer just to give you a real live hug.
    Jake was such a lovely boy and you had him for such a long, long time. I am glad that you have so many wonderful memories; and all those amazing pictures of him and of the two of you...
    The perfect 10 last minutes of snuggling and talking at the end... so fitting that it should end so peacefully and seem so much the same as it does each day....almost as though it was just another of the little chat sessions you always had.

    Love and hugs to you and Winnie and the kitties...
    Veronica xxx

  6. thank you all so much for your kind & thoughtful comments means so much to us, to Winnie & Bleet (Bleet lost his mama) and to me. There is nothing in this world that prepares you for this terrible ache. Today's been difficult, he had such a larger than life personality, he always needed to be smack in the thick of things and today as we go abut our business, every little thing I do, every turn I make ...he should be there, right behind me and he's not.

    You know how you have conversations with your animals and you do both the voices ... he would often say, as he followed me around " I think I better follow her, cause she might need my help"

    I miss him so much.

  7. Susan, I just had a feeling about what I would read this morning. I, too, read you each early morning with tea and it has been lovely getting to know Jake. It has taken me all day to write because every time the tears blind me and I just can't finish your beautiful description of Jake's last hour...and yet, I knew I must. As I told you this has hit me so close to home. You did everything right and that will give you some comfort in the coming months. You and Winnie rest easy is Jake. Enormous hug to you. Good night.

  8. It's been a true pleasure getting to know Jake and yourself over the past few months. I was hoping to read this post a long time from now, but that's not how life goes. Many warm thoughts to you, Bleet, Winnie, Lulu, Oliver and Gus.

  9. Your news brought me to tears.
    Know that there are alot of people out there who want you to be ok. Hugs to you, and I propose a toast to the memory of your dear Jake.

  10. So here it is, several years on and I am reading of your fresh pain. I have such a lump in my throat and tears standing in my eyes. Your loss of Jake reminds us all of dogs we have loved and lost and tears for Jake and you, mingle with our own losses.

    I'm glad you had a wonderful time together and when the time for the end came, you did not selfishly back away.



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