Monday, February 15, 2010

Jake...A King of Hearts

Certainly the blog world as we know it is filled with all manner of stories and glowing tributes to Golden Retrievers. Well folks, here is one more that must be told. Jake came to my dear, dear friends Cathy & Paul just over two years ago. He needed a home. He was ten years old then. They had just lost Bailey, a beautiful Irish Setter and Golden mix, whom they had loved for nearly 16 years. In this short time, Jake has given so much comfort, so much loyalty, so much love, and so much joy to so many. He is has become a certified therapy dog visiting the hospice center weekly in addition to his daily duties as the constant companion and personal snuggler to my friends. I had the pleasure of being included on Jake's two vacations to the Gulf Coast. That first summer he was an immediate hit with each person he greeted. People who had met him once, would look for him and pet and talk to him throughout the week. They knew his name. Most memorable was his interaction with a group of children suffering from cancer who were on retreat with their families. He was invited to their talent show and we all went along. He truly held court as one by one the children and parents, would come to pet him and chat with us. Though Cathy and Paul do not have children, they are both teachers. Did I say they did not have children? They have had hundreds, but most especially they have had Jake.

Yesterday morning, Valentine's Day, Jake set off for that great Frisbee game on the beaches of Heaven. I have no doubt that Saint Francis welcomed him as The King of Hearts.

28 comments:

Gaston Studio said...

Jake is so beautiful and I'm sure he's found many, many friends in doggy heaven.

willow said...

No doubt, he and our Ralphy are having the best time in that big frisbee game in the sky.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Cathy and Paul today. xx

maggie's garden said...

Oh...so sorry. What a beautiful dog. They are so our earth angels for such a short time, loyal, and unconditionally loving. I'm sure Jake will be missed.
Hugs,
karen

Alan Burnett said...

Lovely tribute. Jake was lucky to have your friends - and they were lucky to have Jake.

FireLight said...

Gaston Studios, yes I am sure he has. I hope he has found their Bailey, my Fritz, and Willow's Ralphy! Our animals add so much to our lives...impsossible to measure or express in words.

Willow, I am sure there is a special playing field for Frisbee dogs, and one for hunting dogs, and one for terriers for digging holes, fields of sheep for herders, and on and on!

Maggie's Garden, yes indeed our Earth Angels... a very apt description. Please give an extra special hug to your beautiful Maggie girl!

Alan, all three were lucky to have made such a perfect match -- no matter how short lived it may have seemed. To quote Paul, "It was worth it."

Alaine said...

Oh, how sad for Cathy and Paul and all who knew beautiful Jake. These little beings sure grab our heart strings; I have one nestled at my feet right now making snuffly noises...

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

makes me teary...Rest In Peace, Jake...what a sweet beautiful dog...

mine is laying on my lap right now...

they sure do grab your heart strings....

sending sympathy, my friend
kary
xxx

Betsy said...

Hope Jake says hello to my Teddy and Alex cats! :) Lovely tribute to a beautiful dog. What a handsome old man he is in that photo.

FireLight said...

Alaine, I really thrive on those snuffly noises. "A heart beat at my feet" as Edith Wharton said.

My Farmhouse Kitchen, thank you for your kindness. Hold on to that pup!

Betsy, Jake lived with two cats: Healey & Jaguar ....I know he will be looking for your two. And handsome he was...gorgeous face!
Thank you!

Cameron said...

I'm sure if the Pirates of the Mississippi knew my friend Paul as I do which was only a fraction of how Jake did, they would at the very least treat him to a nice dinner. Maybe they'll see this. Godspeed Jake.

maggie's garden said...

Hope you don't mind...linked you at my blog today. Stop by. Hope it cheers you, Cathy and Paul up a bit.
Thinking of you
karen
xo

FireLight said...

Cameron, I am so glad that C&P will get to spend some time with you soon...I think the concert will be uplifting!
I am thrilled to see you stop by here...come in anytime and bring your "pirates" with you!

Jen Chandler said...

Hello Firelight! It's been too long since I"ve stopped by and for that I do apologize.

Such a handsome boy. I do hope your friends are able to find peace soon. It's hard to lose a pet. They become such a part of our lives.

My prayers are with Cathy and Paul.

Jen

cathyb said...

Marnie, thank you for your special tribute to our golden boy. Your pictures capture him perfectly; your words lift my spirits. Thanks, too, to those of you who commented to Marnie's post. I see here fellow animal lovers with whom Paul and I share much. I do hope Jake has found each one of your babies. Tonight when I look at the stars to say good night to Jake, I will include the names I have read here. Thank you, all, for your lovely comments. CathyB

FireLight said...

Karen...of Maggie's Garden,
.. How sweet of you to take the time to tell us about your two pampered pups, Maggie & Sophie! When I first came over this morning, I was at school and the YouTube was a blank space...I have just played the song and ...well, I must say...that could easily be a theme song here at out house! I am still chuckling. All you dog lovers need to get over there!

FireLight said...

Big hugs to cathyb!!!! I hope you found some comfort here...do come back...seems Jake still has his "star power" ....nothing could take that away.

Paul said...

To my friend Marnie,

Thank you so much for this wonderful tribute. It means so much to Cathy and I. And to all the lovely folks who have added comments here; your kind words and understanding go a long way to helping Cathy and I adjust to life without our best friend. I only wish you all could have met our Jake. He surely would have made you feel as special as he did us. I can't remember exactly who said this, but It is certainly true of Jake: "Dogs make us want to be the people they think we are".

Thank you all,

Paul

Paul said...

Thanks Cam. Cathy and I are looking forward to seeing you guys this weekend and to the concert. It will be a great time with great music and great friends.

See you soon,

Paul

tony said...

Beautiful Jake.A Lovely Tribute X

Derrick said...

Hello FireLight,

Just wanted to thank you for the Valentine card. Tried via email but your security cut in and even that wouldn't let me complete its exercise! But know that I liked the card very much. Travelling at the moment so not much blog reading time! Sorry to hear about Jake. Your friends will have enjoyed the fun he brought into their lives.

Electricwitch said...

Animals touch our lives in so many ways I'm sure Jake will continue to touch peoples hearts in Heaven. A very beautiful dog who was obviously loved very much.

Electricwitch.

Michael said...

Hi Marnie...what a problem I have had recently trying to reach your blog...I'm sure the problem lies with my old steam powered laptop!!!
I dont know who said this, but I have found it to be so....dogs are the only creatures that give us unconditional love.

Lyn said...

It's not too late to say thanks and blessings to that wonderful pup..Bon voyage, Jake!

Rowan said...

I've only just seen this post Marnie, it's so sad to lose a beloved friend and member of the family. I've been through this too many times and I feel for your friends. They can take comfort in knowing that they made his final years happy and filled with love.

Poetikat said...

So sorry that Jake is gone, but Yay! St. Francis (my favourite saint). May Francis welcome Jake to his heaven.

Kat

Paul said...

Jake does not walk down the crushed white gravel path leading around the first of two large fields at his favorite park, he prances. His golden feathered tail, held high and wagging slightly right and left as he trots, is like a finely made feather duster, except far too elegant in its natural line and curve to be devised by man. Twenty yards ahead, but always checking back for me; ridiculously colored pink, black and day-glow green soft-bite Frisbee, faded and permanently stained from hundreds of earthly collisions, hanging down from his soft and gentle mouth. Each paw after the next is padding forward, down, back, and then curling up, exaggerated in the most slightly detectable way that instantly differentiates a prance from a mere walk. He does not prance due to pride the way man does, but rather from the transcendent joy he receives from being in this very moment. As I watch him, I pray that I find a joy that pure just once before I pass from this existence. We have walked this path together so many times before. The image plays in my head like a favorite movie; the one I watch once a month forever; yet I never fail to laugh, cry, and pronounce, “What a great movie,” at the end of each viewing.
Jake approaches a bend in the path around a grove of forest trees. He is filled with a sense of mystery about what may lie hidden just around the corner in the same way that all dogs approach every corner. Fighting his natural instinct for adventure, he stops and turns to look back for me, as if to say, “I want to share this with you, my best friend.” The ending until now is always the same, only this showing is different; the ending has been changed. I sense it like a fine mist filtering through the comfortable familiarity of the images, as if someone secretly changed the musical score. This time Jake does not, can not wait. Glancing back one last time, he pauses for an instant, staring straight into my heart, then he turns and proceeds, tail still high and wagging, into the unknown adventure that lies ahead.
I know instantly that this time is different. I know it from the crushing wave of feeling suddenly washing over me and almost knocking me to my knees. It is as sure and real as the ocean waves that Jake and I swam in for the past two summers; anxiety, fear, panic, confusion, and oddly, at the same time, peace. Rounding the corner of trees where Jake had passed only seconds before, I know already that I will never see him again.
In an instant, I am awake and sitting upright in my bed scanning the room frantically for him. The room is dimly lit by the glow of our neighbor’s back porch light, and it takes several moments before I realize where I am. Then, gradually at first, as if someone is stacking bricks directly on my chest, it hits me; Jake is gone. He died some two weeks earlier on Valentine’s Day morning.
Some may say that this is just a dream, a sad memory stored somewhere in the unconscious mind. They may be right, but I choose to believe that my Jake wanted just one more walk with me in his favorite park.

FireLight said...

Happy Birthday-March 7- to our beloved Jake!
We do miss you, Boy!

FireLight said...

My dear, dear Paul- member of The Lost Boys (Cameron's closest friends who seem like my own sons),
I cannot think of anything that conveys a man's love for his dog as this dream/story starring Jake. Try to realize that for a bright and shining time in your life --the story was indeed very REAL. Sadly, because we are merely human, we must learn and remember what the Skin Horse {The Velveteen Rabbit} so wisely observed, "It hurts to be REAL."

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Recreational scholar, former high school and junior college English teacher. Animal lover (especially horses, dogs, and people), live in the South, sometimes poet and essayist... "Ireland, Scotland, Britain, and Wales...I can hear those ancient voices calling..." Van Morrison from Celtic Heartbeat