In my 19 years of existence, I’ve always had a dog in the house. I was greeted after my birth by our Yellow Lab Sundance, my parents’ “first child” so to speak, and now our home is defined by the presence of our 9-year-old Chocolate Lab. It is only when I am away at college that I don’t have the convenience of seeing Jasper’s wagging tail every day. I am in no way an extreme dog lover who lets her four-legged companion regularly lick her face or sit next to her on the couch. But, I know that a dog is an irreplaceable being in anyone’s life, and I am exceedingly grateful to have had parents that encourage the inclusion of a pet as a part of the family. Jasper has been there to act as a comforting force, both for myself and for the other members of my family, and I don’t want to think about what it will be like when he is gone.
Yesterday brought these thoughts of losing Jasper to the front of my mind. My cousin, aunt, and uncle had to put their beloved 9-year-old Golden Retriever Daisy to sleep after years of helping her combat kidney disease. Nine years is too short of a time to enjoy with a dog, especially a dog like Daisy who most certainly did have free reign of the couch and who always greeted my cousin with a kiss. Daisy was a prominent part of my cousin’s life, and her Instagram made us aware of that. My cousin Abbey is the definition of a proud dog owner, and she provided Daisy with the most comfortable and loving environment a dog could ask for. I wonder if Jasper was secretly jealous of the life Daisy lived. We don’t let him up on the couch – unless my mother sneaks it past my father and I. When our families got together, Daisy and Jasper were inseparable. The realization that Daisy is now gone makes this even more heartbreaking. Jasper lost his partner in crime, his lover, and his playmate. We said goodbye too soon.
I checked my email earlier today, and I saw that my mother had sent me a link to an advertisement for Cesar dog food. The video’s campaign message is “Love them back,” which defines my cousin’s relationship with Daisy. She loved her back. She loved her back in more ways than I’ve ever done with Jasper, and Daisy’s passing has reminded me to hug my dog a little bit tighter when I go home this weekend.
I may be writing about slightly off-topic content with this post, but it serves as a harsh reminder to all pet owners. Do what you can to show your pet you love them. Go on walks with them, feed them food under the table, let them get up on the couch, travel with them. The time will come all too quickly for you to say goodbye, so don’t forget to “love them back.”