This is Jasmine. She was euthanized yesterday at 12 years of age.

It hurt. Boy did it cut a piece of my heart right off and shred it to pieces.

Jasmine is the end of an era for us; she is the last dog we will have for a long, long time. We got our first dog about 15 years ago and yesterday was the last day for a dog. It is easy to love an animal but so very, very hard when it comes time to say good-bye. It is difficult to know when old age deteriorates into a place where you decide “it is time” for your 4 legged friend.

Jasmine came to us as a frightened, starving young dog who was rescued after being attacked by what we believe were coyotes. A good Samaritan came across her after she’d been attacked and realized she was about to have puppies. A local animal rescue then retrieved her which is where we met her. Her name was Ghost and she became a part of the family because I asked the Owner of the rescue what animal would fit best into our lives at that time. I wanted a quieter dog and one that was happy to be a couch potato but also loves walks.

She led me to the saddest creature I’d ever seen; a frightened dog hiding in the corner. I thought she was crazy but given my disastrous choices in the past I decided to rely on her expertise.

At first I thought the lady was NUTS. This skinny, starving and filthy dog whose puppies had just been weaned off was surely a mistake. She didn’t know how to climb stairs, she was terrified of the house, the floors and everything else. We bathed the dirt off of her and fed her for 2 months before she filled out enough to no longer look like a skeletal version of a normal sized dog. She made some terrific messes on the carpets and floors until we sorted out her eating requirements…apparently being a stray dog and eating garbage made her allergic to cheaper food of any sort. She ate allergy-specific food for her life with us and it was strictly controlled because any deviation ALWAYS led to a huge, smelly mess.

Jasmine gradually learned to walk over floors and to climb stairs. She learned that going out for a walk on a leash meant a joyful time and not one where she cowered and pulled us home as soon as she could as if to make sure we weren’t taking her permanently away from this newfound heaven. She soon had a brother dog and together the two of them romped and ran and enjoyed life.

Jasmine loved our cats too…but a little too much. She would get over-excited and jump on them and appear as to attack them. She never hurt them ~ I think she just liked to “mouth them” in zealous fun. She went nuts over squirrels and would root out field mice. It was a few years before we heard her make a sound; when she finally barked for the first time she scared herself and us because it was such a deep, loud voice.

Jasmine was a scaredy-dog but managed her fears well. The only thing that petrified her beyond rational thinking was the sound of coyotes. She would panic whenever she heard them while we lived in Alberta. Honestly they did sound spooky and haunting. Once we moved to New Brunswick we never did hear them again.

Jasmine loved the couch as much as her walks and play time. Over the years the scars on her face from the attack while she was a stray blended in with the gray in her fur from age. She was friendly with everyone and in particular loved children. She was a smart girl, who snuck away from our property if she thought we weren’t watching her…she couldn’t help herself, she wanted to see who was out to say hi to!

I’m not sure when she went deaf but I do know her eyesight was failing her now as well. She was falling up and down the stairs; it was brutal listening to her struggle then cry when I tried to help her. Her legs often gave out on our main floor and she started not being able to get up on the couch to snooze. She developed growths…warts?…all over her body as she aged. Her bowels let go more in the house and she wasn’t able to notify us. It always mortified her when she couldn’t make it outside in time.

In the end she turned out to be the perfect family pet. We were her family and that was all she wanted. She was a quiet girl, happy to hang out on the couch or in her favourite sleeping places. She loved playing in the snow and rolling on the grass (which she was allergic to).

Even though she was quiet she filled a big space in our home and in our lives. The silence left behind is so overwhelming and it feels wrong. I know the sadness will lessen with time and my memories will fill up with all the wonderful, happy times and the years she enjoyed with us and us with her. I knew our animals were all aging at the same time and losing them within short periods of time was a likely occurrence. But here we are and I’m not quite ready for “Don’t cry because it’s over ~ smile because it happened”.

Soon Jasmine I will smile and remember fondly.

Today all of us weep in remembrance of the great family pet you were for us.

Love from us all and I sure hope you, Bosco and George are frolicking in a wonderful green meadow with grass, flowers and water under a sunny sky (but not too hot; you prefer it cooler). What a joyful reunion that would be!