Death is part of life.

Slowly picking up the pieces from our internet outage.

The fact that I was sitting in front of my PC at 4:30am yesterday morning writing this says a lot about the inconvenience of losing our internet connection last Friday evening. We love living in this rural part of Southern Oregon surrounded by such dramatic scenery but it does have a couple of downsides, one of which is that we are very limited as to internet service providers.

Anyway, on with the show!

One of the posts that I had in mind for earlier this week was this rather poignant piece from Chris Snuggs. Chris and I go back many years to the time when he was Head of Studies at ISUGA; a French college based in Quimper. I was a visiting teacher at ISUGA covering entrepreneurial topics.

IsugaEnough of me, here is that story from Chris. It was sent to me on the 10th May.

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My sister’s dog died last night. Margaret woke me at 03.00 in the morning saying she needed my help. I found her at the front door, where Jasper was lying motionless, having crawled there in his last moments.

“I think he’s gone,” she said, sobbing quietly.

I knelt down and felt his side; indeed, there was no sign of breathing, though his body was still warm. Jasper had died. He had been ill for a few days, been down to the vet and got some medicine, but it had been to no avail. Maggie said he had been unusually quiet and motionless that last evening, making  strange noises as his lungs failed him. At 12 years old, one cannot say it was a surprise, but until the last few days he had been right as rain, barking senselessly at nothing in particular when let out into the garden, getting under my feet as I did jobs around the house.

But death of any companion – or indeed of any living creature – is moving, shocking. He was not my dog, nor do I see him often or for long, but the one thing about dogs is that once they make friends with you – as Jasper had with me – you are a friend for life.

No matter how depressed you are, no matter how low an opinion you have of yourself, no matter how sheit your day was, whenever you walk through that front door, a dog will greet you with his tail wagging. They have infinite love, devotion and optimism; they take you as you are and love you whatever you are.

And so Jasper will be missed by me, but of course more so by my sister, who had him from a puppy. As anyone who has lost a companion knows, the house seems empty afterwards. There will be no more greetings with the wagging tail, no more forbidden jumping up onto the sofa to be patted, no more barking at the seagulls in the garden.

Death is a part of life, but hard to accept even so.

Chris Snuggs

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Chris also forwarded some photographs of dear Jasper that are offered in memory of the little chap.

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Embracing the reality of death: One of the most important lessons that we learn from our dogs.

9 thoughts on “Death is part of life.

  1. “No matter how depressed you are, no matter how low an opinion you have of yourself, no matter how sheit your day was, whenever you walk through that front door, a dog will greet you with his tail wagging. They have infinite love, devotion and optimism; they take you as you are and love you whatever you are.”
    This says it all. People can be so disappointing, but dogs – never.
    RIP Dear Jasper.

  2. Losing a friend like Jasper is always heartbreaking, I am sorry for your friends loss Paul.. This cycle of Life and Death never gets any easier ..
    Sorry to your internet was down.. Hope all is good again now.
    Sue 🙂

  3. This is so difficult. But such a blessing for Chris and Maggie that Jasper died in his sleep! We’ve only had one dog do this – the others had to be ‘put down,’ and this adds to the heartbreak. Did we do it in time? Did we do the right thing? Did they suffer longer than needed? Were we selfish to keep them around as long as we did? The questions never end, until they do.
    Blessings on this day, Paul,
    Bela

    1. Bela, You put your finger on the agonising questions that so often arise when it’s approaching that time. Jean and I know that we must be very sensitive to Hazel’s needs and make sure that as soon as she has lost the will to live that we don’t prolong matters.
      Lovely, sensitive reply from you. Thank you.

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