Jasmine. That is her name. Named after Princess Jasmine from Aladdin, thank you very much. The first day we saw her, Matthew and I knew she was our puppy…“Puppers” is actually what we began calling her. The previous owners had been calling her Taz because they said she was wild like the Tasmanian devil (Looney Tunes fame). That name just wouldn’t do. So Jasmine is what she became.
We loved her. She is Matthew’s first pet. Matt was just three years old when we brought Jasmine home. He has no memories without her. And now he is 20 and she is almost 17 and she is struggling to move, to eat, to live. And all I can think of is that puppy who kept hitting her head on the couch as she attempted to jump on it time and again until she was finally big enough to accomplish this feat. All I think of is this puppy and her boy Matthew tucking her in before he himself fell asleep each night.
I think of Nicholas, who began crawling at just about 18 months, and one of the first things he crawled to was Jasmine’s food dish. And as Jasmine stood guard over her food, this little boy reached in and began taking food right out from under her nose. Had anyone else done that, they would have lost a hand. But it was Nick, and I think Jasmine knew he was special, because she just sat patiently and waited for me to retrieve Nick before attempting to eat again.
Jasmine survived Parvo, being struck by a car (after which, she chased said car down the street, barking the entire way), and most of all, she survived not 1 but 3 boys picking her up, carrying her around incessantly, stumbling over her, and loving her.
But Jasmine has grown tired. And that little boy who once pushed her around in his Little Tykes shopping cart for hours on end has grown up, and this precious dog has grown old and weary. She has cataracts and can scarcely see. Her hearing has been diminished to the point of deafness. Her back legs just don’t work anymore. Now, she has begun to stop eating and she barely drinks. She has even stopped wagging her tail. And while she still perks up when I enter the room, and I know she would (if still able) wag her tail when Matt walks in, I don’t think we can wait for her to see Matt just one last time.
I know it is time. My head knows it is time we let her go. But I am just not ready to say goodbye yet. I know I have to. But my heart is hurting at the thought of watching her breathe her last. I have been praying that she will just go in the middle of the night while we are all asleep, that I won’t have to take her to the vet for them to do what they must. And so I hang on to every little indication that she is not in pain, that she can tolerate this life for just a bit longer.
I am torn.
Her boy, my boy, Matt, is playing baseball right now in Wisconsin. Before he left, he basically said his goodbyes to her already, knowing she was failing. But he also said that if the time comes while he is away, he didn’t want to know about it until after he gets back two months from now.
Why does the love of pets affect us so? I know she is “just a dog.” But to us, she is truly much more than that.
As I am crying writing this, Nick is hugging on Jasmine and petting her and kissing her. Nick, like Jasmine, loves unconditionally. Totally. Whole-heartedly.