She was not my child or husband or even my best friend, but she was my beloved dog. A golden retriever through and through, who dropped whatever she was doing whenever we walked through the door, grabbing her toy/sock/our favorite shoe/whatever and presented it to us as her way of welcoming us home.
That along with her infamous vocal greeting- grunt which reminded us of Chewbacca from Star Wars.
For those who have had the privilege of owning a dog, you know of all the joy they can bring. Like many who were able to work from home for the last year +, Jasmine was thrilled to be able to be by my side. Now I won’t have to worry about her separation anxiety as we anticipate going back to life as we knew it. I only have to worry about our loss – life without Jasmine.
But even now, when the loss is so raw, I am so grateful for the time we had together. Such is the joy and heartbreak of owning a dog. A lifelong companion, whose life is much shorter than ours.
I am not the first or last to pay tribute to a beloved dog. The following is the memorialized closing argument in a 1869-1870 lawsuit, Old Drum – Burden vs. Hornsby, avenging the death of a beloved dog who killed a neighbor’s sheep.
“Gentlemen of the Jury, the best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it the most. A man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.
Gentleman of the Jury, a man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and the sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert he remains.
When riches take wings and reputation fall to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens. If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight against his enemies, and when the last scene of all comes, and death takes the master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death.”
Jasmine, we will miss you.