Goodbye to an Old Friend

by Mike Shea on 8 May 2018

Eleven years ago Michelle and I found Jebu at the Friends of Homeless Animals. We were told to confine him to try to keep in him our kitchen that first night so he didn't get too weirded out by a new house. So we bought a baby gate and put him in the kitchen. We went out to dinner and came back and the gate was on the floor. He was standing at the front door smiling at us and wagging his tail. We soon discovered that he knew exactly how to batter down the gate and get wherever he wanted.

Over the past eleven years we've taken Jebu on more than seven thousand walks in the park behind our house. We went to the beach together. We went to the mountains together. He was the third member of our family and a constant pillar of joy and stability in our lives. We loved him very much.

About four years ago Jebu had a mast cell tumor in one of his rear legs. The surgery was big and his recovery was painful but thankfully short. He fully recovered and was a happy healthy guy again for another wonderful four years. Last December another tumor developed on his belly and seem to grow bigger in a very short time. We had this one removed as well. This past weekend, on Sunday, he was fine. Slower than he was in his youth but kept up on our two mile-and-a-half walks in the morning and evening.

Monday he wouldn't get up. We took him for a short walk and he couldn't walk very well. We then noticed that another tumor had grown on his front-right leg by the armpit and had grown alarmingly big overnight. We brought him to the vet right away and started medications to try to shrink the tumor. But Jebu went downhill every hour. This morning we made the decision to end his pain. They say such a choice is one of the hardest to make. They aren't wrong.

It's hard to focus on the eleven years we had our wonderful guy but we're trying. We remembr throwing tennis balls in the park. We'll always remember him barking at the same friends who have been coming to play D&D at our house for ten years—less of a threat and more of an announcement like a town crier. We remember the two times Jebu waded into lakes to see what swimming was like. He decided it wasn't for him. He was his own dog making his own choices. He loved his routines. I couldn't sit and enjoy an afternoon snack without him pestering me to throw my socks at him so he could bury them somewhere in the living room.

He was a wonderful friend to Michelle and I for many years. The pain we feel now isn't nearly as bad as the joy we felt for so long having him in our lives. It's hard to feel that now but we know it's true.

If you wish to remember Jebu or send well wishes, please consider donating to the Friends of Homeless Animals where we got Jebu. You can also donate to your local animal shelter or to Best Friends. When I think about how much joy we had with Jebu, I am heartened to think about how much joy is out there with every dog who has found a good and loving home. If you have the means and if this has touched you at all, consider helping more dogs find great homes.