Under the catalpa


Jack last week

Jack died on Monday.  After a month of being pretty chipper with a good appetite, he really declined on Sunday.  He could hardly walk.  We knew it was time. The prednisone prescribed for the lymphoma really gave us another entire month with him.  He came on two trips with us (Wellfleet and the White Mountains) — trips that we would have hired a dog sitter for and left him home, had he been well. Those were wonderful trips, with so much quiet time together.

last-supperOn Monday, after I cooked up about a pound and a half of bacon, I brought him to the vet. Actually, I scheduled a home visit first but when I heard the price ($500), decided we would do the best we could to make one last trip to the vet tolerable. And, they were wonderful. I brought a big bag of bacon – which meant no muzzle was required. He growled and snapped once, but then put his head in my lap and let himself be ministered to.  It went so fast. I think he was gone before the needle was even retracted.  After awhile, we bundled him in his blanket and some pink shot silk that I had brought along and brought him home.  We buried him under the catalpa.


emptyEven though we used this quilt in the car for the ride to the vet, I put it back. It helps me somehow, for it to be there, even though he isn’t.

Jack was born in Puerto Rico and abandoned at the age of two. He was left tied to a fence for a couple of weeks. Someone took pity on him and brought him food now and then until a shelter on the North Shore rescued him and we were lucky enough to find him. He weighed 17 pounds and was a nervous wreck.

jack-17-pounds It took me a while to understand that he was terrified of cameras.  Eventually, I think because I invested in a decent camera and learned to use a manual setting where no flash was required, he got over that.  And, I’m not sure he ever figured out that phones have cameras (I’ve barely figured it out).  But because of that, we have very few pictures of his ‘middle years’ with us.

jack-early-daysHe wouldn’t let anyone touch him for a long while, and then only on the top of the head for a long time after that. Finally, his haunches were allowed.  I loved the fact that he eventually let me rub his belly.  At first, too, he made no sounds at all. For a couple of months, we actually thought he might be mute. But he came along.

april-2006 He was a hefty 32 pounds for most of the last several years. He groaned when my husband gave him the special neck scratch. And he was so devoted to me. Followed me from couch to chair to bathroom and back again. In fact, I didn’t close the downstairs bathroom pocket door all the way, because he wanted to be able to poke his head in. Whenever I left the house, his primary occupation was waiting for my return.

morningThis past Christmas.

is-that-a-cameraAt a time he was still afraid of cameras.


relaxingWe are missing him.

27 thoughts on “Under the catalpa

  1. deedeemallon

    Hi Michelle and thank you. It’s not that a physical reminder is necessary to tell me he’s gone… I just don’t want it put away yet. I wonder how long it will be before I stop checking to make sure I don’t step on him when I stand up from the couch?

  2. deedeemallon

    Grace. yes. And funny thing, I was on Julie Question Part 2 when this comment came in. Back to it!

  3. deedeemallon

    thank you Julierose. Maybe the desire to make a little picture book of his life will finally get me to figure out the Album feature of my updated graphics package (PSE 11) — it has a way of appearing/disappearing mysteriously on the sidebar.

  4. handstories.typepad.com

    I’m so sorry. It’s wonderful that you were able to have these last trips and times with Jack. Take care.

  5. Anonymous

    I’m so sorry to hear of Jack’s passing. Your notes above show just how wonderful and loving home you made for him. Some horrible person tossed him aside but you knew his value as a sweet soul. You valued him and he you in return. Our animals are just such bundles of endless unconditional love. They just love us for being who we are. It hurts when they leave us behind. I feel for you. My deepest sympathy for your and your family’s loss. Take care.

  6. deedeemallon

    thanks some more… Mo,of course you would mention flying! I’ve been lying under the catalpa and watching the light in the leaves ‘with him’…. And thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment, Brenda.

  7. deedeemallon

    Hi Minka, he was cute, neurotic, committed to treats, fairly solitary, and smelled really bad a good amount of the time. We miss him.

  8. Sandy

    May dear Jack rest in peace. Your love for that sweet dog will always be remembered. Sending big HUGS to you and your family.

  9. julie

    got teary reading and smiled at a bacon send-off. I had an extra six weeks with a dog because of pred and it almost makes it like the diagnosis never happened. Until. What a good little dog life he had with you all.

  10. beth

    Goodbye Jack. So glad you had that special time with him, Dee, and that you were both ready at the end. Thinking of you–hugs.

  11. Sweetpea

    May all the doGs above take good care of your sweet furry one. Bless you for knowing when the time was nigh. And peace to all the human hearts who shall miss him so ….

  12. saskia

    oh my Dee, I am so sorry for your loss. He was a great dog and how lucky you were in sharing your lives with him.for a while…..
    (my comment from yesterday seems to have evaporated)

  13. Jan

    Oh Dee, I’m so sorry about Jack. They leave such a big gap in our lives when they die, don’t they? I know what you mean about the feeling that he’ll be under your feet…..it takes a long while for that to fade. Big love to you and all yours. Tough times; but the world was a better place for him being here; and your life has been enriched for knowing him. x jan

  14. Julie Mackinder

    You gave Jack a very special life where he was safe and loved and he returned so much love and trust to you. I am so sorry for your loss but glad that you had those last trips together. Special memories and I hope they comfort you. x


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