Ten years ago when Alfie was 3 months old and a very naughty Boxer puppy ( see ‘To Alfie with love’..February) another little Boxer puppy came into my life and his name is Jack.
Alfie was bought for my daughter Molly- Isabella and Jack was bought for my eldest daughter Shelley-Marie.
He was a surprise for her, the day I brought him home I put this tiny 8 week old puppy on the sofa on a blanket and waited to see her face…she never noticed him at first when she came home from school despite me saying ”what’s that on the settee?” ..then she spotted him…at there at nearly 13 years years old my little girl fell in love at first sight, she adored this bundle of loveliness, she named him Jack after the guy in ‘Will and Grace’ the TV series she loved at the time, although I suspect had Jack been a girl she would have named him ‘Buffy’ !
Jack was always pushed around by the bigger more pushy Alfie so it was always a case of quickly ”pick up the baby, or watch the baby until baby became baby Jack and baby Jack he has remained all his life)
Jack was a bugger, a bloody little swine… the two of them together meant holes in the garden lawn that would break my neck if I wasn’t looking where I was going, A full sofa eaten to the springs, a bed collapsed in the middle ( my bed) 2 bean bags destroyed so the lounge looked like a snowfall had hit the place, those tiny balls everywhere, they kept appearing for months later, how they didn’t kill themselves I do not know!
They were the best guard dogs together, no one would dare enter the garden and the postman made us..no sorry.. ‘Royal Mail’ made us put the post box outside the garden cause they were terrified of these bouncing as if they were on springs Boxer dogs ( little did they know had they ventured into the garden they would have been kissed to bits!)
Alfie looked after Jack, although not blood brothers they were soul brothers and devoted to each other ( after Alfie stopped trampling all over Jack as he grew bigger)
Later as they grew into their Autumn years and Jacks eyes started to get worse, Alfie would wake him for meals he would kiss his face as if to say ‘wake up bro its munchie time’ and grumpily Jack would wake up and toddle after him. When Alfie suddenly passed away in February it was heartbreaking and I was so scared Jack would pine for his brother and so I became even more obsessive with him…I never left his side we walked in our favourite woods just behind my house twice a day ‘our special time ‘ I called it. Poor old boy could not run fast with his old arthritic legs but he still had moments of shooting off thinking he was a youngster again and return panting like hell so we would have to sit down to get his breath back.
He followed me everywhere like my shadow, he would lie beside me as I got ready for work, he knew which coat meant a walk or which one meant mum was going somewhere..so I would put my jumper on my bed because he liked to sleep on mummy’s things whilst I was not there.
He was my boy.My little nooo nooo ( we don’t know what a ‘noooo nooo’ is but its a silly pet name which he responded too !)
Shelley who now lives 2 hours away drove home regularly to see Baby Jack and he always would turn his back and snub her for a few hours..it was hilarious, he let her know by being grumpy he was mad she had gone away for a while, but a few hours later he would forgive her.
Last week I wrote here how we had just discovered he had terminal cancer but with meds was going to have a pain free few more months with us all.
Shelley and I take him to the vets for a check up..all is good…great news.
P.M…Suddenly Jack starts panting and pacing back and forth and not lying down.
5.00 p.m.. I phone the vets they tell me to give a bigger dose of medication and to take him in next morning ( yesterday) to be checked.
Evening and Nightime..
I never slept and nor did baby Jack, he could not lie down, he would try for a few minutes then get back up, it was exhausting to watch.
I watched the sunrise with him and on the floor my arms around him, he locked his eyes on mine and stared at me never unlocking…
”what Jack? what are you asking mummy”?
I knew…..mummy is the only one who can help.
Telephone vets..they tell me to bring him in at 11.00 a.m.
Shelley drives 2 hours back to be with him
Jack spends the morning stood in the garden, strange he was there a long time just wandering around the place, looking over the gates, sniffing old places, then he just stood ( unable to sit for long) on the path.
Shelley walks through the gate and for the first time in hours his tail wags and he slowly very slowly walks to greet her. Shelley spends private time alone with him, grooming him, for some reason she felt he needed a nice brush and he enjoyed the feeling.
We take him to the car and and drive sadly…knowing.
Lisa the vet ( the one vet who knows Jack the best) re looks at his x rays and scans and we spend a long time examining Jack and the tests results.
The Cancer is confirmed as lung cancer. One lung was fully compacted with a mass. the other working lung was drowning in fluid. the cancer had spread.
Jack could not lie down because when he did the fluid was drowning his lung.
The only option was….every week general anaesthetic and drain the fluid away but it would have to be done weekly and that was risky because a general every week was risk itself but very often as soon as they lie the dog down the fluid pours into the lungs anyway…to put a dog through that weekly, a terminal animal was cruel and selfish..who was I doing it for? me or Jack?
Lisa looks at me
” Ceri if it were you would you want me to prop you up and make you keep breathing painfully or say lets go to sleep peacefully now?”
My heart broke
Shelley Marie my darling daughter was in bits.
I asked for a blanket a new vet fluffy blanket for him to go onto and be snuggled into afterwards.
The stent was put in
My brave brave little dog who had endured hours of pain and exhaustion by standing god knows how many hours, who’s eyes were closing with sleep deprivation whilst stood, my brave little soldier, who never once complained or snapped or got nasty and he would have every right to as he was feeling so bad. His sweet nature and bravery will never leave me.
He stood on the blanket and Shelley and I got on the floor her arms gently around his neck talking to him and kissing him, the nurse holding his back and I took his face gently in my hands.
”Jack my little nooo nooo, look at me Jack”
He looked into my eyes
I kissed his face
‘Jack be a brave boy now, mummy’s good boy, go and play with Alfie, and play ball with him, mummy will see you soon and I love you, my best friend, mummy’s baby boy….forgive me…..”
With my words in his ears and Shelley’s ’I love you’ in his other ear he slumped gently sideways, his chin onto Shelley’s shoulder, his face into the nook of my arm, gently lowered into my lap and finally he rested into peaceful sleep, his beautiful little face in my lap.
We stayed a long time, just holding him and gently stroking his little ears..talking to him.
This year my heart has been broken..exactly 4 months to the week I lost both my 10 year old boys..my family, my best friends…My Alfie bear and my Baby Jack.
Shelley Marie has endured losing her childhood soul mate…I worry for her as she sobs into his collar in work and grieves so badly for the one constant in her life…her first true love and as we know first true loves last forever.
Baby Jack, my little ‘nooo noooo’… you were like Alfie bear, my north and south, my east and west, my constant companion, my best friend, my shadow. I loved your smelly ears, your bad eyes, your grumpy sulks, the way you hid your chewie jumbones and only ate them if I was in the room. How you loved your quilt on the settee and had your side to sit on and if a human dared sit there you would stare at them. I loved how we walked side by side in the woods and you would stop if you went ahead to look for me, always needing to hear my voice. The sound of your snore, of your heavy breathing coming up the stairs, the way you ‘tappy’ danced with excitement at walk time and how you loved to eat your favourite Bourbon biscuits with a nice cup of tea.
Your with Alfie now and your playing in heaven with your balls and toys and waiting for mummy and your human family so one day we will all be together again.
I miss you so much the ache is crucifying, my guilt is awful, tearing at me..I can not get the sad moment out of my mind… I did what I thought was best, unconditional love means knowing when to let go and to keep you from pain and suffering…please forgive me my darling old friend…your my family, by brave little soldier….Mummy’s baby boy.
Sleep peacefully my Jack, my nooo nooo, Mummy loves you and will do forever with all my heart and soul….sweet dreams..until we are together once more and your in mummy’s arms again xxxxx