Tuesday, September 17, 2013

J is for Jasmine

J is for Jasmine, or Jazzy as we usually called her.

Years ago while mourning the loss of my son's puppy, I stopped into the local animal shelter. With a hurting heart I wandered the cages of dogs and puppies ruffling fur and scratching ears. I hadn't come to adopt, just to try and fill the void I felt inside. In one cage was a seven or eight week old puppy desperate for a little bit of love. When I slid my hand into the cage she immediately did a doggy somersault into it. Later that evening I told my husband about the silly little puppy who would surely capture someone's heart. Little did I know that he would go back to the shelter and return with a new family member.

We almost lost our new friend to a car on a dark winter night one January when she was a year old. I hadn't even realized she was outside, but there was a knock on the door and a man asked if we had a brown dog. We called her name and she came limping home, one front leg dangling. The surgical option to pin her broken leg was terribly expensive and offered no guarantees, so we made the decision to have her leg amputated instead. "We're going to love her just as much with three legs," I told my husband.

Having three legs didn't slow Jazz down much. Once she was feeling better and saw her chance, she dashed out the door and off into the orchard, her shoulder still full of staples. In days to come she would run circles around us, leap over couches in excitement, and accompany us on long orchard walks.

Being a "people person" Jazz got lonely when we weren't home. Our children began to grow up and orchard walks grew fewer, and the lonely dog learned to wander. She wandered up the hill next door to visit Mike, and one day she wandered across Martin's path. She started disappearing for days at a time. We searched snow covered orchards, relentlessly called her name, and took out an ad in the local PennySaver, but in the end she wandered home on her own, unable, and probably unwilling, to tell us where she had been.

For five years our dog split her time between our house and the little gray tenant house down the road and over the hill. (See how bad she wants to go to her friend's house? How could I tell her no?) By the time we found out where she was going, she was set in her way and I had already come to the conclusion that my dog was on a mission. Last week I found out how true that was.

We don't know Martin well. We've stopped at his house a handful of times, sometimes to pick up our dog, once to drop off some Christmas cookies, and another time to see if Martin would keep an eye on Jazz while we went out of town. In June we lost her to an incurable liver disease. Although my heart ached for our dog, the hurt was multiplied by the realization that someone else was going to be hurting too, maybe even more than us.

While I was gone to Minnesota last week a card arrived in the mail. It was a note from Martin's sister telling us how Jasmine (Tripod, Stumpy...) had saved Martin's life and his family is once again concerned for their brother. I don't know any details, only that my dog loved my neighbor. I think that's pretty incredible. I pray that he would find a new friend, maybe one he doesn't have to share, and that he would be encouraged. And, I think maybe I should bake a pie or a batch of cookies. Jazz would have liked that. :)

PS. I is for Incredible, because she was. 

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  1. What a touching story. Jasmine was a great dog. Carver, ABC Wed. Team

  2. Oh, that is a wonderful story about great friendships.

  3. This is very touching. I always liked Jazz. She was very loving.

  4. ok...this made me cry. What a sweet, sweet dog. Hope Martin is ok....

  5. What a lovely tail, I mean tale.
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  6. Bake that pie Mom. And have Martin over for dinner too.

  7. What a beautiful story of friendship. Jasmine would want you to bake that pie (or cookies) and check in on Martin, heck I want you to!

  8. Such a heart warming story. We had a cat once who had to have the same paw amputated and he got along just fine, lived a nice long life and we too called White Sox 'Tripod' at times.

  9. You should bake that pie and take it over to him asking if he would like to talk about Jasmine. Maybe shedding some tears together would help.

    abcw team

  10. Whenever I read one of your posts..
    It always makes me look inside myself...
    Your words are so captivating, and your writing style superb...
    Jazz was a very lucky dog to have picked you to live with, Martha...
    And James as well...
    Let us know how Martin is doing...

    Linda :o)

  11. Thank you for this lovely story! You write beautifully!
    Wil, ABCW Team.