After 2 weeks of being ill, the time came when we had to say goodbye to our beloved Jemma. A 12-year-old black lab, she’d been part of the family since she was just over a year. Our DS #1 adopted her from a young man who had found he didn’t have time to spend with her, and she had started spending her alone time chewing furniture and shoes and anything else she could find. We built her a run and a dog house that she resisted staying in with all her efforts, and we soon learned that a 6-foot fence was only high enough if she couldn’t find a launching pad to get over it!! She was energetic and enthusiastic, could bounce straight up about 3 feet off the ground, would do just about anything to please her master. She and DS #1 bonded immediately, and went just about everywhere together. Her only fear was loud noises, like fireworks or cannons – but out on the fields hunting, she didn’t even flinch at the sound of guns. She was more than proud to bring back a duck or goose – and even once a muskrat squirming in her mouth.
This picture was taken just last fall.
DD and DS #2 both loved her dearly, and took many opportunities to take her to a lake or river just for the sheer joy of watching her love of life. We all were available at any time to take her for a few days when DS#1 had to be away.
She got into a couple of scrapes, once with a car, in her youth, with subsequent visits to the vet to get fixed, but she bounced back quickly from those setbacks. She developed a thyroid condition at about 8 years, and before we got the diagnosis, we were wondering if she was approaching the end of her life. But those little purple pills were marvelous and gave her back her youthfulness.
When DS #1 got a job in NWT, and could be home only 2 weeks out of every 4, we had long discussions about where it was best for Jemma to live. So on January 29, she became part of our household. She was slowing down somewhat, but still bounced when she heard the work ‘walk’. She settled in quite nicely, not pining too much for her master.
When she started to vomit during the night, we wasted little time getting her checked. It took another week before we had the diagnosis – an infiltrating tumor of stomach/small intestine. In that 2 weeks, she lost 2 pounds. Over the next 2 days, we found she struggled to make it home at the end of her walks, even when we cut it in half. Then she started vomiting blood, and we knew we couldn’t let her go on like that.
We said goodbye to Jemma last Saturday, knowing she’s now not hurting or confused any longer, and hopefully getting to know her former buddies again.
Below is a picture taken a few years ago of the dogs in our lives at the time – none of them are with us any longer, but remain dear in all of our hearts.
Jemma you’ll recognize. Coda, the golden retriever, passed away last year with a lymphoma – she was 12. Eby, the chocolate puppy was about a year old in this picture – a few months later she escaped the yard (jumped the fence) and was hit by a car. Sophie, the basset suddenly suffered kidney failure at 4 years old and went within 24 hours.
So to all of you with beloved pets – wishing long lives and fond memories.