Pets

Jasmine Blue’s Tails of the Dog Park, Chapter 56: Coming home

Permanent proof of Jazzy’s impact on Susan’s life Photo: susan dyer reynolds

Oh sweet angel of mine
Gone to sail through the night
In my heart you’ll always be
I hope that you’ll remember me
Wherever you are

Goodnight, goodnight,
My sweet love you’re beautiful
Goodnight, goodnight,
The stars up above will be bright …
Goodnight, my beautiful goodbye

— “Beautiful Goodbye,” by Josh Kelley

I opened the door to find the mailman holding a small, rectangular package.

“Sign here,” he said, handing me the electronic pad. The handwritten return address said “Dr. Krista Adamovich, UC Davis,” and from the shape I knew exactly what was inside.

I took the envelope to the dining room and placed it on the table. I stared at it for several minutes and then ripped it open — I figured, like a Band-Aid, it would hurt less if I got it over with quickly. And there it was: the “Mommy’s Little Girl” leash that matched the collar Jazzy was wearing the day Dr. Adamovich put her down — in all of my pain and grief, I had forgotten it. Tears streaming down my face, I clutched the leash to my heart as I read the sympathy card from Dr. Adamovich.

Afterward, I placed it on the mantle with the many other cards I had received, constant reminders of how many lives Jazzy touched. I sat on the living room sofa and ran my fingers over the strands of fur still stuck in the leash. It was still hard to believe she was gone — that I would never see those bright blue eyes sparkling up at me as she waited patiently for her favorite chicken breast treat; that I would never hear her bark with rage at the television whenever Jim Cramer shouted stock tips; that I would never see that big butt wiggle down the hallway as she brought one of her favorite toys as a gift for whoever was visiting — be it Uncle Steve or a burglar.

A few minutes later my phone rang. It was Dr. Kent. “I hope you don’t mind,” he said in his usual soft-spoken voice, “but we went ahead and got the box you had picked out for Jazzy’s ashes. I’d like to bring them to you in person if that would be all right.”

“I’d like that.” I said. “Thank you so much for everything you did for Jazzy.”

A few days later Dr. Kent drove from Davis to San Francisco to bring Jazzy’s ashes. The box was beautiful — etched with a photo of Jazzy, her date of birth and death, and the words I had chosen: “I rescued you, you rescued me.” Dr. Kent’s staff had also chipped in for a memorial brick with the same words; it would be installed in front of the hospital under the big trees that shaded the bench where Jazzy and I often sat together, a welcome respite from the stifling summer heat.

“She was a very special dog, and you had a very special bond,” Dr. Kent said. “You loved her enough to give her all the care she needed, but you also loved her enough to let her go when it was her time.”

“Thank you for bringing her home,” I said.

Little did I know that the same week Jazzy came home, someone else would be coming home, too …

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