For those of you have never had a dog, you’re missing out. Dogs are more than just a pet. They are family. We had to put our dog down last week and it had to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I’ll give you a little background so those of you who don’t understand what an impact dogs can have on your life,will understand.

It was 2001 and in the midst of my parents divorce my mom decided to get us a dog. My dad never liked dogs so I think part of the reason why my mom got him was because he could be used as a coping mechanism. We lived in Georgia at the time and had zero family around. But I think the other reason for getting him was probably because she just could now. We were five at the time and that dog was with me for 15 years. 15. That’s pretty good for a dog his age. He was a Labrador Retriever mix but we never found out what he was mixed with.

He was such a sweet dog, especially considering what he endured before we adopted him; he could've been a monster. At the shelter, my mom went in and she said all the other dogs were barking, but not my dog. He was just a small little black puppy wagging away and licking my mom's hand. She says she fell in love instantly. The workers told her that he was found in a dumpster behind Walmart but didn’t seem to have anger, he was just happy to get love and attention. So, she took him home.

We were ecstatic when we brought him home, my sister and I just couldn't get enough. I only remember the first few years with him vaguely. But few memories I do have are forever imprinted in my mind. Just like him. One of my memories was when we got him fixed; he was very fragile and only about 5 months old. Since we were also young, we still did whatever we wanted with him (we didn’t know any better). We would pick him up but he would cry so we would stop. But then he would still try to jump on the bed with us. Of course, we would always forget he was in pain within a days span so the cycle would continue (poor dog). Another memory I have was when we lived in the south in a small yellow house. I shared a room with my sister we had bunk beds (typical). I was on the top bunk if I do remember right and that dog would still whine and I would put him on my bed with me then he would get scared because we were up so high. He was also scared of thunder, he would start shaking and cuddle with us and we would tell him it’s okay it was just rain.

In grade school, my mom and dog would wait outside until we got off the bus. Our bus dropped us off a little further so we had to walk back down to my house and many buses passed my house. But my mom always said he always knew which bus was ours and he would run to where we got dropped off. During the summer my sister and I would spend a month with my dad in Georgia, so we had to leave our dog at home. When my mom would call and check in on us she would say Where’s Hannah, Where’s Sarah? And he would always get excited and start barking and thought we were home. Flash forward my teenage years, of course, they were hard, I don’t know who hasn’t had a time in their teenage years. All the hormones and adjustments to be made makes things really complicated. My first heartbreak. I would come home and cry to my dog. I never really listened to advice about this boy anyway so my motto always was. “Well, he can’t respond he just listens and can't respond so that’s the best way to have it.” As I started to get older I kinda forgot that he was getting older too. I spent less and less time at home and of course, I regret it some of the time now that he’s gone. But I knew I loved my dog I just had a life to live too. When I wasn’t home my mom would tell me he would sleep in my room and try to lay on my clothes just because it was a little piece of me when I wasn’t around. There are so many ways I could describe him in so many special ways. But that would take all day. He never snapped at anyone, he never begged too much, he never growled at us, I mean we literally used to lay next to him and kiss his face while he was eating, most dogs would not be too happy about that, but he would just lick us and continue what he was doing.

I love him and miss him every day. And I may not fully believe in a heaven, but for him I will.

I can honestly say Jake wasn’t like any other dog, he brought sparkle to my life, he picked me up when I was down, he was always there.

R.I.P Jake

2001-2016

Never gone, never forgotten