Today we said goodbye to little Jade and released her from her pain and suffering. Jade was 13 years old and had been with us since she was two. Lynn and I got Jade soon after we met. Along with our other two dogs, Dallas and Riley, she shared the bulk of our adult lives together. It’s hard to put into words what Jade meant to me – though we had family pets as a child, Jade was my first pet as an adult and taught me so much.
Little Jade, Witch, muffin head or just Jade – she answered to all these names with a cocked head, prick ears, smile (yes, dogs really do smile) and her deep brown eyes. She was a mischievous little thing, a tri-color Border Collie of 40lbs when in her prime. Soon after arriving home with her, Lynn called her a "prissy little thing" and boy did she live to eat those words. I’ve been around a lot of dogs over the years due to our involvement in foster care. Jade was one of the sweetest, prettiest and toughest dogs I’ve known.
We first found Jade while looking for a companion for Lynn’s dog Riley. At the time Riley was 70lb 3 yr old Border Collie German Shepherd cross with boundless amounts of energy. Having grown up in the UK, I was fond of Border Collies so we decided to explore the possibility of finding a "rescue Collie". Jade turned out to be a sheep herding flunk out who wasn’t making the grade from a successful sheep trialer in Washington. When we first met, Jade was more interested in a batch of puppies and was being herded off by the mother Annie. Though she’d never had pups of her own she was always very gentle when we had other dogs in our home and felt like the true matriarch of the house. After petting her, she smiled at me and I saw she had some missing teeth. Apparently this mishap occurred when she chased a tennis ball into a mailbox!
As it turned out Jade wasn’t the ideal companion for Riley since they played very differently. Jade was more into fetch while Riley liked the wrestle. Still, they got along famously. Soon after getting Jade, Lynn and I fostered for Border Collie Rescue and met Dallas. Intending to adopt him out, we kept him instead as a companion for Jade. They really turned out to be inseparable.
Jade was always a core part of our lives and we did so much with her. We spent years on the Flyball circuit with Jade in the Puget Hounds Flyball team. She also flew with me to Cleveland for a flyball half-time show at the Cleveland Cavaliers. As a young dog when I traveled for work, I’d leave a smelly gym shirt with her which seemed to help with her little chewing episodes when I was away. We later bought property on Orcas Island reasoning that it was cheaper and more convenient to travel with the dogs than to drop them in a kennel.
Over the years, Jade’s body suffered as she pushed herself; always having to be 1st, never giving up and forever the alpha bitch in the house. Never content to just lie around, she was always pushing a ball, stick, toy or (sigh) even bark chip at you. She worked every single day of her too short life and gave so much to us asking little in return.
As she grew older, Jade started to experience a bunch of bio-mechanical issues; joint pain, bone spurs, hip dysplasia to name a few. The hip dysplasia had bothered her for several years and only developed as she became an adult. We’d had her on Metacam for years knowing this would put strain on his kidneys. As she moved into her geriatric years the list of herbal medications grew – we tried all kinds of things to help knowing that it was ultimately a losing battle and would one day have to say our goodbyes.
Jade’s condition had taken a turn for the worse over the past month. We’d known she was having kidney problems as a side effect of her medication. Her appetite had reduced (in some cases she wouldn’t eat all day) and she was anxious to always been in the same room with Lynn. Earlier this week she stopped eating and wasn’t sleeping well. We took her to the vet and found out she was in the final stages of kidney failure. Knowing the right time to end your pet’s life is hard – Lynn and I had always discussed it, and felt we’d always do the right thing.
The day finally came today and we arranged for a vet to come to our home and put our little girl to sleep. We’d had wonderful weather over the weekend and spent time with Jade in the yard throwing sticks and keeping her smiley and occupied. The procedure was peaceful and took place in our front yard. We’d been playing with a toy all afternoon and she was very relaxed and happy. She later led down and our girl peacefully departed this life on Tuesday afternoon, November 23rd 2008.
Rest in peace Little Jade, we miss you sweet girl.