I don’t want to write this post…
But… “If you don’t write it down, it never happened.” – Paul Pogue
I created Just Me Jenn B to share my life. My pursuit for health and happiness. Truth is, I won’t always be healthy, and I won’t always be happy, but my pursuit will never stop chasing those two things. Overcoming illnesses, and injuries, experiencing sadness and loss, learning ways to handle anger or defeat…these are just obstacles and life lessons used to teach and mold my spirit to be unbreakable.
This post is dedicated to my beloved Jedi. If I don’t write it down, it never happened…Well Jedi was my old man dog, a wise dog who taught my family important lessons. Lessons that any family who has ever loved a dog knows very well. I’m writing it down, because his life happened, and I’m glad it happened with us.
Jedi lesson #1
A mixed mutt puppy who only cost $25 from a litter on the side of the road is a better investment than any overpriced hybrid or purebred dog available.
We came across Jedi’s litter by accident. The boys were little. Only five and two years old at the time. We had just visited a farm that had two labradors for sale. We had left the farm after being jumped on and covered in mud by two dogs that had apparently lacked training. Bob noticed the puppy for sale sign and asked if I wanted to stop, so we did. The lady who was selling the pups handed me Jedi, the most calm puppy of the group. I will never forget her telling us, “this one here is the most gentle and loving of the bunch.”
On the way home the boys decided his name shall be Jedi. Jedi Master Burnett to be exact. The best 25 bucks we ever spent.
Jedi lesson #2
A dog can destroy a few things you treasure, but it doesn’t matter because your heart treasures the dog more.
Apparently Jedi wasn’t a fan of John Mayor’s CD; Room for Squares. So he chewed through the CD case and left the CD in a million tiny pieces (or should I say million tiny squares) on the floor for me to clean up. I guess he was tired of listening to it.
Also, never take a dog on vacation and leave him in the jeep while you go have a nice dinner for two. You come back to the stuffing of the seats torn out. Again, your heart loves the dog more than things, even if it means driving an hour home without a seat cushion. Bob loved that Jeep, but he loved Jedi more.
Jedi Lesson # 3 Dogs like Christmas too
Every year we decorate the house with Christmas lights, Jedi also enjoyed this tradition. Every year he would chew through a stand of them, always leaving at least one bush without lights.
On Christmas day Jedi and any animal in our house would awake to a stocking filled with bones and treats. Many Christmas mornings Jedi would be just as excited as the kids to be opening his stocking and pulling out a nice bone.
Dogs have family feuds on Christmas day just like any good family. One Christmas morning, Jedi and my mom’s dog Dallas got into a fight over a dog bone. I put Jedi in timeout because I was disappointed in his behavior. So he decided to make me a nice little gift and leave it on my bedroom floor. He wasn’t going to take any shit on Christmas and he let me know it.
Jedi Lesson # 4 Dogs have a better instinct about humans than other humans do
Jedi liked everyone. He didn’t know a stranger. Until one day he growled and lunged at a lady with sunglasses on. Apparently he didn’t like her. He only did this one other time to a man who was doing work in our yard. He was such a loving dog that I trusted his instincts. If Jedi didn’t like them, then there must of been a good reason for it.
Jedi Lesson # 5 Dogs make the best dog trainers
When we got Abby as a puppy 5 years ago, Jedi did a better job training her than we did. He taught her not to jump on small children or women holding babies. He actually reprimanded Abby when she was a puppy for jumping up on a lady holding a baby. Abby never did that again.
Abby was a stubborn puppy. We introduced her to her crate and she refused to get in, so Jedi walked in the crate and walked out. After that Abby went right in the crate without any problem.
Jedi looked after Abby as if she was his very own dog. He trained her in many different ways and continued to until his last day.
Jedi Lesson # 6 Dogs know family members anywhere
When I used to walk the boys to and from elementary school Jedi always looked for them after school. Often times ignoring the sea of other kids until he saw his own boys. Wagging his tail and greeting them with a kiss.
On the five hour drive to grandma’s house, Jedi would sleep the entire trip until we were ten minutes from her house. Then he would dance and wine, somehow knowing we were very close. He was always just as excited, if not more, to see grandma as the kids were. Giving her lot’s of kisses and even hugs. Abandoning our bed at night for hers.
Jedi Lesson # 7 Dogs raise your kids too
Jedi had been in the boys lives for most of their childhood. He went from being bigger than they were to being picked up by them and carried around like a sack of potatoes when the boys became teenagers. He wanted to know who their friends were, he would tolerate them dressing him up with sun glasses or putting a jacket and shoes on him for a laugh. He humored them with their endless selfie pics. He played with them, and protected them just like any good dog. He had to be in front of the pack on most hiking trips. Annoyed if Alex tried to lead the way. He was a wonderful pack leader and looked after them with a kind and very wise heart.
Jedi Lesson # 8 Dogs adapt better than we do
Jedi has been with us through two states, and three houses. From a house with a big yard to a townhouse with barely a yard to an old house without a fenced yard. From kids and their different phases, to new dogs and cats, and many trips to visit family or go camping. Dogs adapt. Jedi never wined or acted out with the different changes to his environment, he just adapted. Went with the flow, just happy to be with us on our journey. He handled moves and kids and other animals much better than we did.
Jedi Lesson # 9 Dogs really do love unconditionally
More than anyone Jedi knew me best. He was my shadow. Always by my side and under my feet. ALWAYS. He knew if I was sad, angry, annoyed, happy, excited and even sick. He has witnessed me at my best and at my worst. Heard me sing when I thought I was alone and was witness to all the silly shit we humans do when we think no one is watching. Not judging me at all. Just smiling at me or listening to my shenanigans.
He loved me when I would get mad because he was on the couch, or if I missed his morning walk because I got busy with other things. He loved me when I got furious at him for puking on the newly steamed carpets. He loved me even when I didn’t deserve to be loved at times.
Dogs don’t hold grudges or remind you of your imperfections. They just love. Jedi showed us so much love over the last 12 years. Along with so much wisdom. Good dogs, loyal dogs like Jedi, don’t come around very often. When they do, they leave an imprint on your heart, and on your spirit. They really do teach us unconditional love.
Jedi Lesson #10 Nothing will prepare you for the final goodbye
Jedi’s passing happened unexpectedly last Sunday night. Mother’s Day. We didn’t know he was sick, but looking back I think he did. He stayed in bed longer than usual. I passed it off as old age. He insisted on sleeping with the kids the last two weeks before he passed. He usually slept with us. He did odd things like pull all the luggage out from under the bed in the guest bedroom to lay under it, and did a few other unusual things too.
The night he passed he refused to go for a walk, one of his favorite things. A few minutes after that he collapsed on the floor. Bob rushed to his side, scooped him up and off to the Vet we went. A tumor had burst in his belly, the odds of him making it out of surgery were heavily against him, and so we were left with the decision to make him comfortable and see him off into his new world.
People often say how sad it is to lose a family pet. I believed them, but I kind of thought yes it will be sad but that’s what pets do. They come into your life for a short time and then they go. It’s the way of life with a pet. I guess because I have human children I kind of thought that it wouldn’t affect me like others have claimed it affected them. After all, nothing is worse than a death of a child. That is still true nothing is worse. However, Jedi really was part of our family. Not just a dog. A friend, and wise old man. He was as much a part of our family as any human family member.
He was very ill. They brought him into the room to say goodbye and as soon as he heard our voices he sat straight up. When he saw that all four of us were there, he laid down and was very calm. We all felt as though he knew it was time. He was very much at peace. I watched my boys say their final goodbyes to their childhood dog, friend, brother. With tears in my eyes I said my goodbye and locked eyes with my old man dog. As usual the wisdom in his eyes let me know that he was ready. He had already known and prepared. I wasn’t prepared. Not prepared to lose him, not prepared for the hurt, or the lack of his presence that is felt every moment of the day, missing his snoring, missing him under my feet everywhere I go. Missing him on our lonely walks with Abby. Not prepared as my husband walks in the house just moments ago with tears in his eyes as he holds Jedi’s ashes in a box. Nothing prepares you for the loss of a great pet. I can’t call him my pet. He was my friend, my family, my old man dog.
So, while I dread having to write this post, it must be written, because Jedi’s life happened. Jedi Master Burnett, full of so much joy, love, and wisdom. ‘Til we meet again old man. ‘Til we meet again.