Ode to Jackson: See You In Heaven, My Love
Jackson, my 14 year old Dobie-Coonhound passed yesterday. He had surgery to remove a cancerous growth on his arm on Thursday, and Saturday evening, became very ill.
I found out he had gastric torsion, an acute disorder that causes the stomach to twist. It’s most common in large breed, deep-chested dogs, and they are even more at risk following surgery. I suppose the “what-ifs” will always be with me. Of course, the thought of him suffering caused me physical pain, so I allowed him to rest peacefully – a difficult decision, but peace, to me, is always the best option.
If you’ve ever seen the movie, “All Dogs Go To Heaven,” you know exactly what I mean by this post title. I believe our beloved pets will be awaiting our arrival, happy to see us as always.
Let me tell you a bit about Jackson. He was a rescue, dumped from someone’s car as a puppy, so when he showed up at my workplace, my students immediately asked me to come see him. They told me he looked just like my female Dobie-Coonhound who’d passed just months before, and he did – almost the spitting image of her, but he definitely had a personality all his own.
Vets were able to determine his breed and approximate age since he was still a puppy, and raising him has been a journey mostly filled with laughs. He was an ornery, demanding, loveable boy. I always said if he’d been a human male he would have been a great dom. He’d eat half his food and leave the rest for my girl dogs, a Rottie mix and a broadhead Lab.
One day, the three dogs had been outside most of the day so I peeped out of the kitchen window and caught him on the roof of my car – not the hood, but the roof! Of course, being the enlightened doggie-Mom that I am, I opened the back door and yelled for him to get off my damn car.
Moments later, he was back on the roof of the car (soon as I closed the door), and I noticed he was picking pears from our pear tree and laying them at the feet of the girls before picking his own – how chivalrous! It was the most adorable thing, and I never yelled at him about it again. He weighed over 70 pounds, but it’s not like that would actually damage my car. Jackson was like a hero from one of my novels.
He did things like that all the time. He was my athlete, able to jump straight over a six-foot fence without a running start. As he aged, his back legs became increasingly weak and his reddish tan started to gray, so now I’m sure he's looking out for his sisters again, youthful, and jumping fences in Heaven just waiting for me to yell at him about it – not that he’ll stop just because I yell J
I’m hurt, angry because they don’t live long enough, sad, and I see him in every room of the house, watching over me, chasing away unwanted possums and raccoons, killing moles and rats, quietly standing guard between me and any perceived danger, glaring at me when I wouldn’t do what he wanted, and bouncing and smiling happily (yes, he actually smiled) over an unexpected ride.
So long, my willful, funny, unforgettable, exceedingly lovable friend. I’ll see you in heaven, Jackson. Now, if I can just make it there before doing too many bad things…