Yesterday I had to say good bye to my shadow, my companion, my BEST friend of 11 years, Jill. You see I have never really been a people person but Jill brought out emotions and feelings I cant describe. She wasn't the perfect dog by most standards. She chewed through the dry wall all day when she was a pup while I was at work. She shredded magazines and furniture but was always happy to see me no matter what. She was very vocal and whined a lot but I always figured she was trying to talk to me. She was the most gentle dog I have seen, never even batting an eye when my child jumped on her. She never met a stranger and stole the heart of everyone she met whether they liked it or not.
She was my constant partner in the duck blind and was very good at her job. She was no field champion but she was a true champion in the field. Back issues retired her early but her desire to go never failed. She even put up with a new crazy lab in the house that would eventually take over her duties in the blind. Yet, she never complained. She has been by my side through every significant event in my life including being the best "woman" at my wedding and the birth of my children. It seems unfair to get a dog like this as my first. No other can compare. She always seemed more human than animal.
For the past few weeks her appetite has been slowing, the vet believed it was pancreatitis and treated her accordingly. Jill's second favorite thing in the world after getting attention was to eat. So I was very saddened when she refused to eat all together. Her desire to move about went away and her usual extreme tail wag was harder to get. The trip to the vet hospital on Sunday was very difficult. I could almost feel it was her list ride. An overnight stay and fluid replacement did nothing to help her. The xrays proved that she was riddled with cancer.
She looked so tired but the glow in her big brown eyes still took me back to her earlier years. Her body was failing her. I took her a recent killed duck to the hospital and she made several 5 foot retrieves and I got a glimpse of that famous tail wag. The decision was made to not let my best friend suffer any longer. She passed peacefully in my arms with tears streaming down my face. I only hope she realized I was doing this out of love for her and I would do anything to turn back time. Its just not fair that she is gone so soon. I never wanted to think about it happening and always thought I would get a couple more years.
The little things are what is so hard. I miss her putting her nose under my hand and making you pet her whether you wanted to or not. I miss her walking in the kitchen and flipping open the trash can lid to check for something good. I miss the whining and really I miss absolutely everything. I only pray that all the poems and sayings are true and that there is a rainbow bridge and I will see her again. That is the only faith that can keep me going. I hope she is with me and my family now in spirit. Oh what I would give for just one more day.
Please hug your boys and girls tight and give them an extra treat. They are here only for an instant.
I love you Jill. Please save me a place in the duck blind. I will see you soon.
Southern Firefighter's Flame JH -"Jill"
11/6/02 - 11/25/13