Today is World Pet Memorial Day and I’m remembering a very special dog through art and story. Jack, the very loved rescue dog snuck his way into the hearts of my aunt and uncle. (Aren’t our pets so good at that?!) Towards the end of this post, I’ll share my favorite 3 resources to help prepare and work through grief when saying goodbye to a pet, but first I remember Jack and his story…
Remembering Jack and His Story
My aunt couldn’t resist Jack’s loving demeanor and welcomed him into their home. My uncle was a bit hesitant, however Jack knew they would become best buddies fast. Over the years, they have the best stories of days strolling the trails together on Table Bluff, high above the Northern California ocean.
I have enjoyed reading all about their adventures together, even adventures through Mexico and the Sierras.
I listened as they got closer and closer to saying goodbye to a companion that had become attached at the hip.
You know the feeling.
My uncle shared these words in a few emails over the course of the last month or so. “When I look on Jackie’s arthritic declining gait, I’m stricken with melancholy. Soon enough I will lose my constant friend. But the idea that we sat together…at (Table Bluff) has given me a feeling of connection that transcends this current and finite manifestation of life or the passage of time. It has provided an abiding sense that we are connected, have always been and always will be…”
“So I put Jack in the car for a final look at Table Bluff. And he fell asleep on the way! We love Jack so much it’s tempting to say hey he’s better now, he’s napping. But we decided to quit Russian roulette with his well-being and set him free.”
“…in the final few weeks I’d carry him to our lookout after the degenerative myelopothy made walking just too difficult…..I’d developed the habit of taking the brush along and brushing Jack’s beautiful ever-shedding coat. And I’d leave the tufts where they lay.
One day…I realized the trail has become littered with Jack’s fur. Lyn thought I should clean it up, but I reckoned the birds might feather their nests quite cozily with Jack’s feathers…I joked that Jack’s DNA would forever be married to Table Bluff.”
Remembering Dog, Jack, Through Art
I had asked my aunt to send along their favorite photo of Jack. She sent me this one of him in the park, pretty flowers surrounding him and wind in his hair.
I cropped and fine tuned Jack’s photo a bit. Then I etched it to a metal plate and carefully inked and wiped off the excess…
(You can see HERE how my Grammy and I craft an etched dog portrait.) The etched and inked plate was pressed in my Grammy’s printing press along with dampened cotton paper. It was then dried overnight. The next morning, I hand drew a bit of color on Jack’s etched intaglio print and then signed and matted the artwork gift.
So, we now remember the gentle soul, Jack, through etched artwork and stories of Table Bluff days (and Jack’s fur forever mingled with his favorite lookout).
Here are some helpful rescources for my aunt and uncle and anyone facing the loss of a pet companion.
– Lap of Love: nationwide hospice and euthanasia vets with a very helpful resource section “Quality of Life” and even an app to help determine quality of life. They also offer TeleDoc appointments: no diagnosis or prescriptions but great option for extra support. I did a TeleAdvice appt. for our kitty in renal failture and found out about a supplement I was not aware of which is helping her arthritis greatly! They have a great Facebook page for helping our senior pets.
– Greyboy Pet Prints: A meaningful, artistic, sophisticated way to memorialize your best friend through handmade art. 10% of all June artwork orders are donated to RedRover.org helping pet parents affected by COVID.
I truly believe pets are therapy that make our lives so much better. May we enjoy each one forever through art and story. Goodbye, Jack. You were so loved. Thank you for loving us back.