12.19.2008 | By: Alisa Callos

The Late Great Jacob 'Big Dumb'



I hadn’t intended to post this week…my heart just wasn’t in it. Even when I saw the prompt it didn’t hit me for a moment how appropriate it was…I don’t know how they did it but many thanks to Laini and Megg for posting it. I have been working on this tribute for a few days never getting very far because it was just too painful…

I wanted a dog. I had just taken the entrance examination for medical school and while awaiting the admission process, I’d decided to move to Eastern Oregon where my parents now lived and had a rental house. The house had a big, fenced back yard with plenty of room for a puppy to run and I rationalize that I needed a friend. I agonized over ads in the paper. What I really wanted was a mastiff—big, gentle, and playful. Unfortunately, my budget didn’t run to the nine-hundred dollars that a mastiff would cost so in the end I got Jacob. Half-German Sheppard, Half Rottweiler. His parents, both purebred, had somehow gotten together accidentally and at one-hundred dollars, he was within my budgetary means. Easily the friendliest and most energetic of all his littermates, he immediately caught my attention. Before long, I was in love.

When I left Portland for my parents place, he rode in the car beside me, gleefully sticking his nose out the window feeling the warm air across his muzzle. He was the happiest dog I had ever met—a goofy attitude toward life reflected always in his eyes. A conscientious ‘mama’, immediately upon our arrival, I found a veterinarian and he had a checkup and vaccinations. I listened carefully to the portly elderly doctor extol the dangers of ‘people’ food and promised never to feed it to my ‘baby’.

Jake was an easy-going dog. He happily adopted the two stray kittens I took in a few weeks later, grooming them as if they were his own puppies. We went to dog training school and while he may not have been the smartest dog in his class, he was the most enthusiastic. Our lives settled into a lovely routine. In February of the following year, I met and started dating a handsome young man who also had a dog and together we had fabulous adventures. In the spring I started getting letters back from medical schools and found that my college guidance councilor was an idiot as all of the schools to which I applied except three, only accepted students from Montana, Idaho, Washington or Alaska. However, by this time I was seriously infatuated with the young man and considering changing my plans to go to medical school (there is a very high rate of divorce in med school).

In October, Jake and I moved back to Portland and bought a house with a nice yard in the suburbs. The nice young man and his dog soon followed and before long, we were a family. Jake was no longer a puppy now. He had grown tall and taken the body of his German Sheppard mother, with the coloring of his Rottweiler father. It was a lovely combination. I had kept my promise to the doctor and as an adult, Jake wouldn’t eat table scraps. You could give him the choicest piece of steak and he would daintily take it in his mouth, walk a few feet and drop it on the floor. Our friends and family remarked that he was the strangest dog.

Despite the fact that he had grown and was no longer a puppy, Jake couldn’t settle down. He was still a puppy at heart. He never walked sedately; he bounded and bounced—a goofy grin on his face. Kevin, the nice young man, jokingly called him ‘big dumb’ because he was such a silly idiot at times.

A few years later, a beautiful baby girl joined our family. Jake adopted her and became her greatest protector while at the same time, gracefully and a little sadly taking a back seat to the baby. He never lost his puppy like demeanor throughout his 13 years with me. He was ever loving and loyal—the bestest of friends.

We had known for months that he wouldn’t last the winter…he was an old man—91 in human years and his hips had bothered him greatly this past year. He could no longer go for walks or climb the stairs into the house. The past two weeks brought a progressive worsening as winter started to set in. He was incontinent and embarrassed about it, unable to get outside through the doggy door. Worst of all, he finally lost his bounce.

He died on Monday and I miss him horribly! I miss him coming to greet me no matter what time I got home. I miss his goofy grin and the way his tail would wag like crazy at anything you said as if he knew exactly what you were saying. I miss his bounce. There is a hole in my heart that I know will heal in time but for now, I’m just sad and I miss my dog.

16 comments:

"Sunshine" said...

Awww, I can tell by the photo that he was a sweet dog! This was a really sad story, Alisa. I remember when we lost our cat, Mary earlier this year--it sucks to lose a pet. This was a nice tribute to Jake, though.

Alisa said...

Thanks Sunshine...I never thought I could miss him this much. You're right...it sucks!

Tumblewords: said...

Losing a pet is always so much harder than a person anticipates. Sorry...

Marguerite said...

What a lovely tribute to a very special friend. So sorry for your loss.

keith hillman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
keith hillman said...

A sad story told with such feeling and emotion. Writing this was such a good thing to do.

BJ Roan said...

This is a very nice tribute to your good friend Jake. My dog Willie is getting older and his health isn't like it once was, thus the tears shed while reading this amazing story of love for an animal.

Rachel said...

A beautiful tribute. Jack would be pleased, especially if you scratched him behind the ears while reading it to him.

I'm sorry he's missing from your family now.

Sweet Talking Guy.. said...

The ending brought tears to my eyes!

Alisa said...

Thank-you everyone for your kind words. I cried throughout the whole writing of this but I know time will will help me heal. Keith, I think you're right. It was a good thing to do. Pets bring an amazing amount of love to your life and already my daughter is asking for a puppy. I'm not ready yet but I predict it will not be long before I'll be writing of puppy antics.

Happy Holiday's to all!

Patois said...

I'm so sorry for you and yours for the loss of Jake. Dogs have been such a big part of my life, and I'm really sorry you've got a hole in your heart now. He sounds like a great dog. How wonderful that you got to be with him such a long time. I'm sorry you have to go through this sadness.

gel said...

Oh, sweet one, this tears at my heart.
Our dog was our first child and now many years later, with our beloved dog gone, I still dream of her. I relished reading your memories of your Jake.

Hugs,
gel

Amanda said...

That was a lovely post. I sympathize - my dog died four years ago now and it sometimes still hurts to think of. But these days, in a good way.

Jules said...

What a beautiful eulogy to a much loved furbaby. They truly become a part of the family and it's sad to say goodbye. I truly enjoyed ready about Jake.

present said...

I'm sure that Jake knew he was so loved!
He was your friend and companion who loved you uncondtionally, as beloved family members do.

missalister said...

I have no idea where I was on 12/19. Maybe I couldn’t have taken this piece of yours without coming completely unglued and fate was merciful. Maybe you didn’t need to hear the blather that would’ve spewed out of me then, and fate was merciful to you! Who would have guessed that a little more than a month after I thought it was the end for my boy, that you’d lose Jake? I don’t know what it’s like yet—my Nova’s still going and pretty strongly, too—but I can imagine. And you said it well here. Jacob the cool dog, the bouncy Big Dumb! So sweet : )

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