It was devastatingly sudden, losing him. He still had what I refer to as his bad days, but they were few and far between. He was still a healthy, active, funny Labrador. For nearing twelve years of age, Jake was surprisingly spry yet. His hips didn't cause him any issue and he would still get up on two legs to dance for a treat. He galloped around the yard with his zoomies, wrestled with the younger dogs and still loved learning and clicker work.
The next half an hour is kind of a blur... It was 7pm and I was calling vet after vet trying to find one who was available immediately for an emergency. Jake calmed down to the point that I thought maybe he had just had a seizure or something, as his breathing was slightly labored still, but he was calm again and looking around and at us. He seemed to be snapping out of it. He still wasn't moving his body though and when we found a vet a half hour away, we loaded him into the truck and drove.
Jake did not make it to the vet clinic. We were only minutes away when Josh said he couldn't see him breathing any longer.
That was four days ago.
I am still struggling to accept that he's no longer here with me. Jake is my heart. He's my rock, my anchor, my love. In all the years that I have done dog rescue and in all of the dogs I've ever fostered, I have never found another like Jake.
The night was rough. I sobbed uncontrollably, well into the early morning hours. I woke up looking like I had fought a UFC battle, so I took the day off of work (thanks to my understanding boss). I went to feed everybody and nearly put food down for Jake. And lost it over his bowls.
The rest of the pack and I watched Hallmark channel Christmas movies all day. I tried to do a little cleaning, but when I went to de-hair the couch with the vacuum and found Jake's fur, the flood of grief nearly brought me to my knees.
Yesterday, I got a phone call from the vet. They left me a message to tell me that Jake's ashes were ready to be picked up. When I began listening to the message, I knew why they were calling and was okay with it. I had been eager to get my boy back home where he belongs. But when she actually said the words, 'Jake's ashes', the stab of pain was so overwhelming.
I picked up Jake last night and brought him home. The techs had made an impression in clay of Jake's paw and gave it to me. That was so sweet of them. There is one toe that shows a nail that I'd let grow too long. *sigh* He used to love nail clipping day, because he would get to eat all of the clippings. I know, eew.
I miss my Jacob.
The support I've received has been overwhelming and very much needed. Josh and the rest of my pack are holding me together. My friend Gayla posted this on my Facebook page and even though it makes me tear up, I wanted to share it with you.
Jake will always be my best boy. The unbearable pain of missing him will ease with time, and I know that. But for right now, I welcome the tears, because they make me feel closer to him. I'll never be the same without my Jacob.