I was pleased to see that the German Shepherd Jake my husband and I adopted in 2006 was still on your website and wanted to write you to let you know that I just today gave him to the angels. He was almost 15 years old which is pretty spectacular for a German Shepherd—let alone one with severe osteoarthritis. Jake was, as you advertised on the Overwaitea Billboard, A Gentle Soul.
I always thought Jake would be my husband’s dog, but when Bob passed away in 2007, it became clear he was a gift for me, sent during a very difficult time. Knowing he had such severe arthritis, when we took him we promised each other, even if he didn’t last too long, we would make every day as good as possible for him.
I did my best to live up to that promise for the seven years Jake and I were together.
My brother, who has raised and trained more than 25 German Shepherds in his lifetime pretty much summed it up when he said: “When I die I want to come back as my sister’s dog.”
I expect this refers to the way Jake inspired in me the desire to give back just a little of what I received from him: undying loyalty, protection, respect and always— that which dogs give best: unconditional love.
For Jake, nothing surpassed the time we spent in Nakusp. He loved to swim and chase sticks in the Arrow Lake and couldn’t wait for his daily walks along the waterfront. He willingly submitted to a regime that combatted the ravages of his arthritis and became a poster boy for holistic vet care.
When it was finally time for him to go, I brought the vet to the house where by candlelight, with soft music and wisps of aromatherapy in the air, I held him in my arms as he went to Rainbow Ridge.
The last words I said to him were: “Thank You.”
I wanted all of you at PALS to know that the work you all do is so wonderful and for me at least, it was life changing. We were never told about Jake’s previous existence, but I think one of the previous owners’ relatives—a man—surrendered him because Jake’s owner was mistreating him. I think this man must have driven a large truck because for years, whenever Jake saw one of these vehicles he would stop and watch hopefully to see if it was his old friend. It would be nice, if you ever see this fellow around, if you could tell him that his act of courage gave Jake a pretty good life and that he was playing with his tennis ball and riding in the back of my truck right up to the day he died. Jake never forgot him.