This is a letter from Jake's Foster Mom to Jake:
Mere words can never express the overwhelming loss I am feeling right now. You were such a vital part of my day that I keep looking around for you and listening for that little bell I sewed on your collar. The bell helped me keep up with you since you could not hear me call you; I could always find you. There are so many things that I miss about you but the ones that quickly come to mind are the ones that make me smile. I miss your warm little body curled in the bend of my knees at night. I miss the way you would sleep on my side during nap time on the sofa. I miss the little barks and growls that you made while sleeping and dreaming of adventures. I miss having you sleep behind me on your HRI orthopedic bed while I worked at the computer. I can’t count the number of times I have reached back to scratch behind your ears only to find the bed empty. I could go on and on with the things that I miss but will just smile and remember them all very fondly.
Little did I know when I left my house to drive all of those miles on that hot summer day to get you from Susan Weeks that the temporary foster would turn into a wonderful permanent situation. I still remember how horrified I was when I saw your pitiful little skinny body. Little to no hair was to be seen. Your scaly red skin and squinty eyes did not help your appearance at all. Your nails were long and yellow. Your tail looked like an opossum’s tail for it had no hair on it. You had been in 5 or 6 different homes over the last week and because of your age (14), your very limited hearing and limited vision you had to be so very scared! My best friend had ridden with me to get you so you could have a cozy lap to sleep in. I remember I put a pillow and small baby blanket in her lap and placed you there. For the longest you just stood, staring off into space but after a while you finally relaxed enough to go to sleep on your new bed.
I took you straight to the vet to see how I could help you. I will never forget her expression and her comment when she saw you. She was as angry as I at your pitiful state. Once your vet records arrived it was actually even worse. Your owner had boarded you a LOT but even worse had not provided the necessary medications for your arthritis, thyroid condition, heart condition or dry eye for several years. When HRI agreed to take you her ultimatum had been you take him or I am taking him to the shelter. At 14 and looking like you did your days there would have been definitely numbered. I will forever be grateful to HRI and Jill Brecher (the state contact at that time) for snatching you up! I will be forever grateful to our loving God for sending you my way!
The very slow process of your healing began after numerous tests and new meds. I was always so thrilled when I saw new hairs on your little body, even though in the beginning they were slow to appear. I practically counted the new hairs as I saw them! I remember when your little toes no longer had that crusty, yellow skin around your nails. I know my friends thought I was crazy because I would call them and tell them of your progress in such an excited voice. Each tiny step in your recovery is branded on my brain.
In the beginning I would not post photos of you on the HRI site for fear that no one would want you. However, the longer you stayed with me I did not post them for fear that someone would want to adopt you. I truly did not think I could stand to let you go. However God again intervened and HRI developed the wonderful Golden Paws program. This allowed you to stay with me! What a truly happy day that was when I knew you would live with me for the remainder of your life.
I can’t believe you were with me only 19 months. It truly seemed as if you had always been a part of my life. There were ups and downs, good days and not so good days but through it all you were such a trooper.
I remember how much you cried in the early days and how I held you to allow you to go to sleep. I remember purchasing a dog sling to let you sleep in so I could type on the computer. You just snuggled down in it and snoozed away, content to be close. I remember when you stopped needing to be right next to me every minute. I remember all of your special vocalizations. I regret that I was never able to record them. Each one had a special meaning; whether you were begging for my food, wanting to be picked up, wanting on the bed, just letting me know that you were in the room! Although you never wagged your tail, you did wag your little butt and I will never forget the day you met me at the door, with a wiggling butt and yet again a different vocalization! You put your sweet paws up on my leg and let me know that you were happy to have me home. I had only been gone about 2 hours but still you welcomed me home, to your home! I did cry tears of joy at the moment and many moments after.
I could go on and on with all of the special memories that fill my heart where you are concerned but mainly just want to say that you will always have a special place in my heart. I can’t begin to express how grateful I am that you came into my life. I am at such peace that the right decision was made and that you were ready to cross the bridge. I will forever be grateful that your last full day with me, Tuesday February 17, was such a wonderful day for you. You ate both of your meals of chicken and rice (with gusto I might add), you wandered around and drank water from your bowl, you begged for my food, you went to the door to go out to potty, you put your little paws on my leg to let me know you wanted to be held, you snuggled in the bend in my knees that night as you slept and gave me blessed memories of your last hours.
I know you are running (no more arthritis), jumping and chasing birds and squirrels. Your cough is gone. Your eyes are clear. I know you are playing with all of the other wonderful dogs who have crossed the bridge over the years. I know you can see and hear everything that is there. I know that your precious body is not only free of any pain and disease but that you have a beautiful flowing coat that blows in the breeze! But best of all I know you are waiting for me!
Enjoy these days Jake. Run to your heart’s content. Play all day and sleep well at night. I will see you when I get there my dear, dear Jake. Thank you for letting me love you.
Fourteen year old Jake is a “real cuddle bug”, says his foster mom. He is a pure joy to be around and gets along with everyone, canine and human. It took Jake some time to learn to adjust to his foster home, but his foster mom also learned something important – she became so devoted to him that she will keep Jake as her forever foster!
Everyone was pleased at this news. The HRI Board of Directors decided it was best for Jake to stay with his foster mom, as she has the experience and caring touch to attend to his quirks and needs. She guides him when necessary because of his limited vision and hearing, and she gives him loving medicated baths to soothe his skin condition. The vet was happy that sweet little Jake would stay put and not bear the stress of another move.
Thanks to HRI and his wonderful foster, this “dear little old man” who will be 15 years old in March, is settled, safe and secure for the rest of his life. Darling, little Jake will have no more worries, except to figure out which lap to cuddle in.
Jake is being fostered in AL