For Jasper, With Love.

On Sunday we had to say goodbye to our perfect little Jasper Bear. I can’t quite believe he has gone. We love and miss him so very much:cry:

~ We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.

We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan. ~ Irving Townsend

Jasper, Oldies Club, pet photographer, dog photography UK

Jasper ~ I fell in love with those beautiful big eyes and that gorgeous white paw and every other little bit of him.

I just wish I could reach into the photo for a moment and give him one more last hug.

As those who have followed his story will know, Jasper came to us one New Year’s Eve, about 20 months ago, aged 12 years old. He was meant to be an Oldies Club emergency foster, just for a few days, but it turned out that we were as rubbish at fostering as we suspected, and we fell for him about as soon as we put him in our car. So he stayed. He fitted into our little family perfectly. He was meant to come here, we truly believe that. Things conspired to send him to us and we are so thankful:)If you are new to Jasper’s story, you can put Jasper into the Search box and read previous posts about him.

Jasper had a wonderful almost-first-year with us and then suffered his first stroke about a week before Christmas. We rushed him to the vet and seriously thought we were going to lose him. Thankfully he was a determined soul and with vet advice, Reiki, homeopathy and much love he made a great recovery. Sadly that was to be the first of several episodes and then more recently he started to suffer heart problems too. He had a heart murmur when he came to us, but hadn’t required any treatment initially, but we did put him on a number of heart meds within the last few months. Then he was diagnosed with a tumour:(In agreement with several vets, we decided it was not in Jasper’s best interest to put him through surgery.

On Saturday evening, after the sunny weather had cooled a little, I took Jasper for a stroll around our village. We walked more slowly than we once did, but he was very keen to go out and did a little jump at the door. He enjoyed some tuna cake as we walked around and we stopped to say hello to the chickens and then some sheep. I remember saying to him that walking just before Dr Who started, was obviously a good time for some peace and quiet. I talked to him a lot on our walks – and in general – as I have done all my dogs.

We had a nice evening and the dogs enjoyed some free range chicken. Jasper had lost his appetite at times and so we had tried all sorts of things to encourage him to eat. Mackerel in tomato sauce was a strong favourite – as was free range, freshly cooked chicken. Oh and chips, but he didn’t get quite so many of those!

On Sunday, my husband had to go out for a few hours. I opted to stay at home with the dogs. Jasper had seemed ok in the morning. He had got out of bed when I came down and taken himself outside to toilet, then come in and lay on the dog duvet in the kitchen, like he always did when he hoped for food. He had had a few bits of free range chicken, but when I offered him his breakfast, he didn’t want it. We have been through a fair bit of this over the past months but generally over the course of the day he would eat enough. We would just offer him food at different times and quite often I had ended up feeding him by teaspoon.

He later fell asleep on the rug by the front door while I was at the computer. He seemed peaceful. Sadly he later suffered what appeared to be another stroke and I helped him into bed and my husband arrived home not long after. I’m not sure what was different this time, but we both felt he had had enough and we made that horrible, devastating decision to make that final call to the vet. Our wonderful vet was on duty and knew if we had decided it was time, that we had made the right call. He said he would be with us as soon as he could.

Not so long after that, Jasper started slipping away. Jasper passed away peacefully, with my husband and I by his side, as I gave him Reiki, before the vet arrived. Then my husband and I cried. A lot. I have never seen a dog pass naturally before. For the first time, when losing a beloved member of our little family, we don’t have to worry about whether we made the right call at the right time. We just know that it hurts like hell that he has gone.

Yesterday we went to the local pet crematorium to make “arrangements”. We are having a special Oak box made up with our own message on and hope to pick up Jasper’s ashes this week. A strange thing happened at the crematorium. As we were leaving, I got into the front passenger seat of our car (having traveled on the back seat on the way over). I looked into the footwell and noticed the logo of the pet crematorium looking up at me. I thought my husband must have dropped one of their business cards into the footwell and went to pick it up. Then I realised it was an invoice. From the pet crematorium. For the service they had provided over a year ago when we lost our beloved Cassie. That invoice can not possibly have been sat there all that time, because a) my husband does (infrequently) clear out the car and b) I would have noticed it during one of the many times I’ve sat in that seat in the past year. And yet there it was, peering up at me, right outside the pet crematorium. I do believe it was a message from Cassie to say Mum, don’t worry, I’ve got him now.

So Jasper, my darling boy, you are now at peace. No more worry about your heart, it’s ours which are suffering now. I have stayed up late with you so many nights, I’m not sure how I have managed to stay awake during the day, yet now I struggle to sleep. No more needing to remember to give you your heart medication, though of course I keep reminding myself anyway. No more sitting with you in the kitchen and trying to tempt you with all sorts of goodies – you were very good at staring at the fridge to let me know what you wanted was in there. No more changing your bedding each morning to make sure you were all fresh for the day. Everytime I open the cupboard your medication and supplements jump out at me and you’re not here to take them.

I can’t bring myself to walk to the post box yet because that was our little walk. I will have to choose another of the dogs to accompany me now. I can’t do it alone. You loved your little walks through the village, didn’t you. You were a great sniffer, which was a blessing when you weren’t able to do the long walks in the fields, because we could make a stroll around the village a fulfilling experience for you.

Now we have to remember to cut the leftovers of our meals for one less dog. A simple act which can reduce me to tears. I will always be reminded of your higgledy piggledy bottom, front teeth (goodness knows what had happened to them) because you bent my favourite fork taking a chip. Your bowl is still out, because I can’t bear to put it away. Your harness reminds me of all the wonderful walks we shared – and the canvas photo on the wall shows you at your very happiest and healthiest, running through the fields with a big grin on your face.

Oh Jasper our sweet, perfect, wonderful boy. How thankful we are that you came into our lives. We wish you could have stayed longer, but we feel so incredibly blessed that you became a part of our family. Our brave and cheeky little boy. Run free, my love – and give Cassie a big kiss from us. We love you. We miss you. Always. Thank you.

Jasper, Oldies Club, pet photographer, dog photography UK

Jasper and his Daddy, on our last walk in the woods with him, about a week before Jasper passed away.

My sincere thanks to the vet who was asked to put Jasper down just before NYE 2009, but instead contacted Oldies Club for help; to Lynne, who very kindly drove Jasper up the motorway to meet us on NYE 2009; to Oldies Club for agreeing to help Jasper and for all the wonderful work for oldies; to our lovely conventional vets and the wonderful Nick T; to Jo, the Distant Healing Network and each kind person who has sent good thoughts to Jasper; to everyone who has followed Jasper’s story; and most of all, to my wonderful husband who embraces my devotion to dogs and does all he can to support it and be the best Daddy ever, which has included the recent shopping for and cooking of much free-range chicken. Thank you all.

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Jo - September 13, 2011 - 9:36 pm

Reading this through tears for you all, Ange. Jasper was a boy SO adored. It’s true,”You can’t beat a black and tan”. Run free with your gorgeous big sis, Jasper. You are loved.

Den - September 13, 2011 - 9:46 pm

We have a perfect little doggy, almost identical to yours, also called Jasper, also a rescue… I have followed this blog for several months and I am so sad tonight. Of course, our Jasper will live forever…

Deepest condolences, he is running free now, and will always be loved.

Trudy - September 13, 2011 - 10:25 pm

Always the hardest part of loving a pet, losing them. But Jasper had a wondeful time with you, and I hope you both feel comforted in being able to be together with him when his time came. Every pet owner feels the pain on hearing another has lost a much loved pet, and member of their family. Just as Jasper was special to you, you were as special to them and just as loved.

Colleen - September 14, 2011 - 6:42 am

This is a beautiful tribute to your beloved Jasper. I hope you can take some comfort in knowing that those last 20 months were likely the best months of his life; he knew he was loved, cherished and cared for. It is a special thing and a special person who can take these “oldies” in and love them, knowing the time together may be short. Bless you for loving him and caring for him during his battle. There is no easy way to say goodbye but I am certain that he was at peace when he died. Run free, little Jasper!

sproggie - September 14, 2011 - 11:02 am

A beautiful tribute Ange and what a lovely message from dear Cassie x

Mango - September 14, 2011 - 11:23 am

What a wonderful story. Jasper must have been so happy to be part of your family, however briefly. It sounds like he was game and then his little body just gave out. It is always so heartbreaking to say goodbye.

Mango Momma

Charlotte Hartung Nolsøe - September 14, 2011 - 12:58 pm

A Beautiful tribute – tears streaming down my face, you were so lucky to meet, but my God, I know: goodbye is heart wrenching.
- All our love

Molly, Taffy, Monty and Winnie - September 14, 2011 - 2:38 pm

We are so sorry to hear that your handsome boy Jasper has gone to the Rainbow Bridge. What a wonderful 20 months you had with him, he must have loved being with you for his twilight years.

Run free Jasper.

Molly, Taffy, Monty and Winnie

Lisa - September 14, 2011 - 2:38 pm

I’m so glad that the person that linked me to your blog on twitter mentioned tissues, crying my eyes out here!…what a beautiful tribute to darling Jasper. So glad he had Cassie waiting for him the other side of the Rainbow Bridge and so glad he had such a loving home before he had to leave :)

Janice - September 14, 2011 - 9:38 pm

So sorry to hear of your very sad loss but pleased that Jasper left you so peacefully.A truly loved boy.So lucky that you found each other.Hope you find comfort in your lovely memories but also shedding a few tears for all of you now.All best wishes.

Kate MacAndrew - September 15, 2011 - 11:43 am

Such a beautiful tribute to your beautiful Jasper, this post has brought tears to my eyes. I’m sure Jasper felt as lucky to have found you as you felt to find him. Sending you lots of love x

Lyndsey and Alfie (lab forums) - September 15, 2011 - 1:53 pm

What a lovely tribute to a beautiful boy, although we never had the pleasure of meeting jasper, it was clear from the photos that he loved life and was very happy.
Run free at the bridge Jasper <3

with love

Lyndsey and Alfie
(lab forums)

Anne Grose - September 15, 2011 - 4:45 pm

Jasper was a very special boy and life will never be the same again that was a wonderful tribute Ange and brought tears to my eyes.

Run free Jasper. Loved to the end.

Vicky - September 15, 2011 - 6:37 pm

Bless you and bless Jasper.

I’m in tears typing this, with memories of how terribly sad you feel in mind. I know that pain and it’s horrible, but Jasper knew that he was loved and you did a wonderful thing for him. I hope you can take comfort from that.


Belinda Harvey - September 15, 2011 - 10:34 pm

So sorry to hear of your loss of such a lovely dog.

Kharina - September 16, 2011 - 11:10 pm

It is so heartbreaking when you lose a four-legged family member. They hold your heart hostage and it hurts so bad when they are gone.
I remember I found out about the passing of my dog, the devastation – my family live in Sweden and I had to find out via a phone call. I don’t think I have ever heard my brother cry as an adult. I still hear him in the house or the garden where my mum lives, and it has been 5 years.
Jasper is beautiful with his smiley face. You gave him so much love and comfort in his last years. Run free and fast, ole boy and may you never grow tired. xxx

Leslie - September 17, 2011 - 1:47 pm

I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful dog. How lucky he was to have had such a wonderful, loving family in his final years. :hug:

Sheree - September 18, 2011 - 10:01 pm

It is quite obvious that Jasper was a beautiful soul with a beautiful family.

I came to read Jasper’s story after I saw your comment to my blog tribute to my beautiful old Labrador retriever, Bama. I said goodbye to Bama on August 3. She was probably about 12 years old when I had to put her to sleep, due to a variety of health issues but mainly because she lost her mobility. Surgery wasn’t a possibility.

I can totally relate to what you’re going through right now, but every bit of the pain and heartbreak is worth the companionship of these beautiful animals.

I love your photos, as well. You really capture the heart and spirit of these special friends.

A few weeks after I lost Bama, I adopted a new dog from a nearby shelter. I named her Penny. She’s a survivor of the April 27 tornadoes that devastated the southern US that day. Her family lost their home and she delivered puppies two days later. After a few months with a foster family to nurse the pups, she was spayed and placed for adoption.

Everyone who’s meet Penny has commented on her beautiful eyes. So I know what you mean about Jasper’s eyes


poochiefreak - September 21, 2011 - 4:01 pm

Thank you all so much for your kind messages. We are missing Jasper hugely but feel so blessed to have had him join our family.


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