I just finished reading Mark’s story about Sprite and the story touched me so much. Much of Mark’s story of his grief at losing Sprite made me think, not think really but feel, of my own loss when my best buddy Jake passed away in June 2006.

Jake was the most gorgeous and sweet long haired dachshund and I loved that dog with all my heart. He really ruled my world – and for those of you who are familiar with doxies – he sometime ruled with an iron paw. he was the most special, amazing, loving and demanding dog on the planet and I would have given my left arm to have given him more time, or more accurately to have given more time to myself to be with him. When I lost him he was 15 years old and I kept thinking to myself that I don’t even know who I am without my Jacob. Jake was a rough and tumble character but he was also an incredible mama’s dog. People who met him, including the boyfriend’s I dated (some for years), would try to get close to him and win him over and he was always friendly, but it was obvious to all that I was his special love. And he was mine too.

Looking at Jake filled my heart with such love that i often thought to myself it was like looking at my own heart walking around outside my body. When Jake was 15 he developed a bone tumor that grew at such a rapid rate. About 2 months after its discovery it had grown to a size larger than a softball and it was effecting his ability to walk. He was tired and panting all the time and we had to make a decision — let it continue to grow or operate.

To this day I question my decision almost daily. I just couldn’t bear witness to this awful disfiguring lump taking over Jake’s body and destroying his vitality. Jake seemed so full of life and such an incredible, special dog. I took him to two specialists to get their opinion and it was always the same – he certainly only had a few painful, medically-complicated months ahead, but the surgery was risky and could kill him. In the end, I opted for the surgery. I guess I was hoping for a miracle that would restore my Jake to who he was before this awful tumor found him. Jake did make it through surgery and they removed the tumor – it was a total of 3 lbs. I stayed with him in the hospital during his recovery as much as I could – much to the annoyance I think of the night nurses who could not understand why this crazy lady was sleeping in the waiting room. After 3 days of recovery he was ready to come how, but the morning I called the hospital to arrange his release, I was told that they had just ‘lost’ Jake a few minutes before my call. I had been so excited about having him with me at home again, I just fell apart. I thanked the kind doctor and got off the phone quickly so that I could spare her my breakdown and cried and called my fiance to let him know I had lost my little man – our little man.

My god, how I beat myself up for my decision over the next few weeks. But I did the best I could for him. Life is not perfect and I am not perfect, but my consolation is that whenever I was given a choice between what was right for Jake and anything else, I chose Jake. He probably deserved better than what I gave him in this life, but I gave him all I could and we loved each other very much. In the end I find what solace I can in that.

Thank you, Mark, for your wonderful heartfelt sappy emotional loving story. We spend so much of our public time being strong and clever and focused, its incredibly touching to get a glimpse into the humanity that we all share ‘behind the scenes’. My best to your family, human and canine alike.

Julie from AZ