I recently lost Jake. My soul-mate. He never judged me. Never minded if I ate too much, didn’t brush my hair or wear pyjamas all day. He snuggled up with me at night but also knew when to give me some space and I loved him with all my heart.
He had surgery for prostate cancer. At first he seemed to be recovering well, although perhaps a little subdued when he got out of hospital. His appetite began to pick up and we were so happy to be back together at home.
But it didn’t last. He went downhill and in a frighteningly short space of time he lost the use of his legs and was back in hospital, only one week after he had come home. I was at work when I got the call. Jake had suffered a stroke and there was no hope for him.
We went to the vets and were given fifteen minutes to be on our own with him. He wasn’t breathing properly. His eyes weren’t focussed and he showed no signs of knowing us. We consoled ourselves with the belief that he could hear us, smell us, that he just couldn’t show us that he knew we were there.
And then it was all over. And we cried. The pain was lacerating. Our hearts hurt, our guts filled with a huge cannon ball that we carried around with us – a burden to heavy to bear but that couldn’t be put down.
An endless series of triggers had to be navigated in the weeks that followed, all capable of leaving us in a gasping tear-filled sadness that would immobilise us as we relived our loss. My soul-mate and my husband’s ‘little mate’, gone forever.
How hard it had been to lose Jake and yet, it still feels awkward to tell someone, because there’s always the fear that they might be thinking, “It’s only a dog.” The fear that they may say something gut-wrenchingly horrible like, “will you get another one?”
Because make no mistake, if you’ve lost your doggy soul-mate, it hurts like a bitch and only overt and heart-felt sympathy will be acceptable.
VALE Jake, our Labradoodle.