I Am Jack — On My Knee

Even though he sat upright waiting to lock eyes with me first thing in the morning, I knew. Even though his ears perked up and he made that cute “oh boy she’s bringing me something yummy” face as I made his breakfast , I knew.  He even layed down in a relaxed position and crossed his front paws like he does when he wants to show me he’s a good boy–still, I knew.

Despite being less and less able to hold himself up on all 4 legs, the Vet gave me hope with her examination back on May 12th.  It would be a long haul, but he could recover.  It would mean a minimum of 4 weeks of total bed rest and lots of drugs.  I agreed to try it.  And then my dear friend Lynn convinced me a “go-fund-me” campaign would rally scores of people to help, which would make it possible for Jack to get the surgery he needs so badly.  After only 12 days into the medication program, he has shown a whole new set of serious problems complicating his condition.

I’ve been trying my best to hang onto hope with Jack. I need my boy. But today was clearly different.   As I went to him first thing this morning, I was met with an all too familiar smell.  It brought me back to my beloved Buddy’s final hours.  That sad, familiar smell.  He looked into my eyes and shifted to sit up straighter.  “Yes, Jack, you are a good, good boy!”

I knew.

Still, I pushed the thought away. I called my friend to come over and help me with him. I called the vet for advice on changing his meds.  I reached out in frantic denial and selfish inability to let go, and I did my best to not accept the inevitable.  I needed to be heard and have him be seen.  He has way too much life in his eyes to not get better.   I tore apart our little fenced in yard and was able to drive Paula’s son’s mini-van right up to my camper, close to where Jack lay watching me.

So we took Jack back to the Vet.OnMyKnee1

My friend drove, while I rode in back with Jack. Throughout that long drive into town in the mini-van, I knew.  As he lay trembling on the soft comforter and sheets we placed in the back of the van, he laid his head on my knee. He looked up at me with both apprehension and trust. For a moment I thought that perhaps…he knew, too.

Or he was simply looking at his human with the love and devotion that he’s shown me since the day he came into my life-one and one half years ago.

OnMyKnee2We have so much more to do together. So many more hunts to go on. We’ve only just gotten started.  I filled my mind with scenarios where Lynn would call and announce the go-fund-me campaign exceeded our expectations and Jack would be able to get the surgery.  The Vet would tell me we can get Jack back on track in a matter of days.   She would tell me he was looking better than she expected.  She would tell me his situation looked hopeful. But when she walked into the exam room and looked at him, we all knew.  His original diagnosis of degenerating disk disease was bad enough, but the complications now were insurmountable. Even if we could afford to do surgery today, the recovery potential just wasn’t there.  It wasn’t a matter of making the “right” decision.  It was a matter of admitting the “only” decision to make.

Thank the gods my friend was there with us.

I gave Jack treats, and he laid his head on my knee, looking up at me expectedly. I whispered into his ear “sweet boy” and he nuzzled my cheek.  I kissed and pet his silky soft head and ears as they injected him with the sedative.  OnMyKnee3He relaxed instantly.  Clearly it was the best he’d felt in a very long time.

I told him how important he was to me.  I thanked him for letting me be his human.  I told him I’d see him again soon, and we would go hunt the birds again.

I told him I was sorry……”so sorry my baby boy”…

With his head on my knee, we continued to lock eyes. “I see you, baby.  I’m with you. I love you.”  I could feel the comfort of my friends caring arms around me, holding me tight as I held Jack.

In the quiet exam room of Dr. Nina’s Veterinary Clinic in Sarasota Florida, on Tuesday May 24th at 2:30 pm, my sweet boy Jack took his last breath of life, looking into my heart with his head resting on my knee.



Go find some birds for us, little man. See you again soon.


I am very grateful for all the help that we received from people who stepped up out of nowhere in our most desperate hours. You have no idea what an impact your support made on me. I’m humbled by your kindness.  Even in the midst of the most unlikely and darkest times, somehow new bright friendships can be formed.  So grateful for that, Miss Dixie, Paula, and everyone else who was there for us!

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  1. I am so sorry for your loss.IKnow your heart is breaking but you released Jack from the suffering. My prayers are with you.

  2. Oh noooooo. I am in tears here. I am so sorry. I’ve been there in that position as well. You did the kindest, kindest thing and yet you must be so very sad. Please know I am thinking of you and sending you a jumbo hug.

    • Thanks Kelly, things have been very difficult for some time now, and it’s effected everything. I…just….can’t…………..well, you know…
      I couldn’t even post to the group.

  3. Lynn Aragon says

    very sad to hear about Jack, Patty, but you did all you could have done…you were a good mom to him…L

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