Jake and Cody

Being raised on a farm in North Dakota, I grew up with all kinds of animals, and we always had a dog. My dad preferred a German Shepard. I preferred Black Labs when I grew up, and adopted a male lab puppy that was to be put down because he had been stepped on by a cow and had a broken back. He was timid, and of course in pain the day I took him home. I named him Jake at the request of my oldest son who was then 7 years old.

Jake recovered from his mishap with the cow, and became the most loving, hard working hunting dog any outdoorsman could ask for. At the sight of any of us, he would wag his tail so hard he would almost fall over.

Jake loved to hunt with me, both waterfowl and upland birds. He would work himself to exhaustion to find a bird that was down, but still be ready to hunt some more. He was more than a hunting dog, he was my hunting companion.

My lovely wife, Sharee, preferred small dogs, which I thought were a waste of flesh. She wanted a poodle, a breed which I totally disliked. I rescued a lost Yorkie one afternoon at our lake cabin, and found the owner. I didn’t have a clue what breed of dog he was, but I thought it would be much better than a poodle. I searched the classified the next two weeks, and found someone with Yorkie puppies for sale, picked out a male, and surprised Sharee with him. He was so tiny I thought Jake might have him for breakfast, but they became the best of buddies.

Our first night with “Cody” was sleepless as he cried most of the night, but to hear Sharee laugh at him when she took him outside in the morning to “do his nature call” was worth the sleepless night. Cody would try to squat and roll down the little hill he was on. She would pick him up and let him try again.

Cody would play the watchdog, both indoors and outdoors. He thought he was as big as Jake, and would love to run along the beach and on the dock when I would throw the dummy into the lake for Jake to retrieve, then swim out and meet Jake as he brought the dummy back to me.

Jake was with us for 13 years, and his last two had an inoperable stomach tumor. The last hunt we went on together, I had to lift him into the vehicle, but he tried to work as hard as he had when he was a younger dog. His last days with us were hard to take, and as badly as I wanted to not have him put to sleep, I knew that his suffering was getting even more than he could take. Then one morning when I took Cody and him out for their “dump,” Jake fell over and couldn’t get back up on his own. I knew what I had to do, and I cried like a baby when I carried him into our vet.

When I came home afterwards, Cody was there with my wife to meet me, he tried so hard to make me smile as Sharee and I embraced each other.

When summer came, Jake’s retrieving dummy was hanging on a tree by the beach. I picked it up to pack it away, and Cody started barking and jumping wanting me to throw it for him. The dummy was as large as Cody, but I threw it across the yard, and he ran and retrieved it. Sharee and I watched him in laughter as he struggled to bring it back to me. I threw it into the water knowing that I would have to walk out and get it, but Cody ran into the water and swam out to get it. Sharee said he would drown and to go get him, but Cody grabbed onto it, and swam back to shore, dragging to me and begging for more! He did his best to become the “big dog” he thought he was.

Six weeks ago, Sharee called me at my office crying that Cody was dying. She had taken him out to do his “dump” and he had a massive stroke, paralyzing one side and blinding him. I hurried home to find them on the sofa, and Cody wanting to meet me at the door, but unable to do so. We knew what we had to do, but prayed that God would spare us the pain and take him. We called our vet, and took Cody on his last ride. He seemed relieved that he was going to be going to meet his buddy Jake. He peacefully went to sleep, Sharee petting him as he passed. He blessed us for 12 years.

We gave our daughter a female Yorkie two years ago, and she has been the blessing of our lives since Cody has been gone. Keely greets me at the door when I come home, waiting for her hug. God has truly blessed us bringing these dogs into our lives. His love for us shines through them, both in life and in memory.

Vern from North Dakota