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Life With And Without Jessie

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Jessie - poodle

As I typed the title above, it seems like a bad dream that my dog Jessie is gone.

It was November, 2007 and I was about to leave the corporate existence I’d lived for over 30 years.  I’d always loved dogs, but never had one before since I worked all day and traveled with my job. I didn’t think it was fair to bring a dog into that life.

As it got closer to my departure date, I started looking around on I saw some dogs I liked, but when I saw Jessie, I felt I’d found the right dog for me.  She was 8 years old and spent her life to that point in a puppy mill delivering litter after litter of puppies.  Luckily she’d been removed from that terrible life with hopes of finding a permanent home.

I had some concerns about her age, wondering if our time together would be cut short by health issues and general aging.  Once I met her face-to-face, I knew she was the dog for me.  She was at an adoption event, jumping up and down in her kennel ready to get out and explore the world.  Jessie was a little bundle of energy, all 7 pounds of her.

After purchasing all the supplies needed, I filled out the paperwork to adopt Jessie and she headed home with me.  Upon getting home, my cat Bo couldn’t believe I’d brought a dog into the house.  Over time he got used to having her around.  Bo tried to make friends with her, but Jessie liked to be a diva and usually gave Bo a hard time.

Jessie became my sidekick, going to various pet-related charity events with me.  She loved to ride in the car so I took her as often as I could.  Jessie learned that the bank and pharmacy gave out dog treats, so she’d always make a point of standing up enough so the person working at the window knew she was there and provide a treat.

Being a poodle, regular grooming sessions were a must.  Diva that she was, Jessie would get bows in her hair with nail polish to match, often in her signature color red.  She was particular about her nails, if I tried to touch her paws after her “spa day” she would pull them back as if to say “hey, you’ll mess up my polish!”

Because she’d lived in a puppy mill, Jessie didn’t get the medical and dental care she needed, so she had to endure a variety of procedures to get her mouth healthy.  I was amazed at her recuperative powers, although she was small Jessie was mighty.

I had so much respect for Jessie, because she didn’t let the puppy mill life break her spirit as it does to so many dogs.  She was smart, funny, feisty and strong willed, like me in many respects, I think that’s why we connected so well.

The last year or so was difficult for her, her hearing was not very good, her eyesight was gone, but still she hung in there.  She’d always had a good appetite, so when she stopped eating a few days ago I knew something was very wrong.  As it turned out, her spirit was strong but at 16 years old her body was tired and she passed away this weekend.

It’s hard to believe she’s gone, the room where her bed and kennel sat seems so very empty.  The house is quiet, a member of the family is gone.  Right now, I can’t imagine another dog in this house but with time that might change.  If I add another dog to the family, it will be a little poodle girl rescued from a puppy mill as Jessie was, she’d want it that way.

Jessie, I miss you terribly and will never forget you.  Thank you for coming into my life, I’m a better person for having known and loved you.  Say hi to your kitty brother Bo, and know that I will see you again down the line.


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