Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Writing Contest

Marley & Me Finalist 1: My Girl Jenny

In January, The Friendly Book Nook had a fun contest for a couple of Marley and Me books. We were asked to write a story about a favorite pet. I didn't win but I was one of five finalists and it was lots of fun! I miss my dog but it was nice to remember what a great friend she was.

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Among our many, many pets over the years, Jenny was the dog who touched my heart the most with her devotion. We got her when she was one and we had her for 13 more years. As with most of our animals, she was with a family who couldn’t keep her anymore. We took her sight unseen and when they arrived we saw a beautiful, long-haired, pure white, German Shepherd climb out of their car. She was so pretty and so large! We fell in love instantly. Even our cocker spaniel Boo accepted her. She was so gentle to our young children and to our smaller dog. All of them climbed on her and used her for a pillow. She attached to me immediately and became my girl. She followed me everywhere, wagging her tail. Every night she waited for me to go upstairs and slept on the floor next to my bed.

It seemed so sudden when she began to slow down. Her soft hair became more brittle, she started to lose teeth and her eyesight began to fade. She became more skittish and was afraid of loud noises and thunderstorms. Perhaps the hardest ailment was when her back legs began to weaken from arthritis. She still insisted on coming upstairs with me every night even when I knew it caused her pain. Eventually I tried to make her a bed in my son’s room on the first floor. She wouldn’t have to climb and she would still be close to someone at night. She refused and continued to follow me. Before too long it became so bad that she could only do the stairs one at a time. That wasn’t easy for her, especially with the bend in our staircase. I followed behind with my hand on her back so she wouldn’t slide backwards. She made it every time still wagging her tail. While it was hard going up it wasn’t easy coming down either. After the curve, her size and momentum would make her speed down the last 8 steps. Fearing an injury, I would walk backward down the stairs in front of her with my hands on her soft chest. After she made the turn I would use my weight to hold her back and slow her down. Together we made it down every morning.

When she developed a large tumor we knew it was bad. Knowing this was probably our last trip I had my kids and my husband say goodbye. I took her to the animal hospital and we sat in the waiting room, me petting her head and she wagging her tail. The vet told me that it was probably cancer and it was likely that she had more tumors. He could do tests and surgery but she was old. He didn’t recommend it and I didn’t want it. I told him that I knew it was time. He left the room so I could say goodbye. I wasn’t allowed to be with her at the end. I sat on the floor and hugged her close, rubbing her ears. I told her I loved her and would miss her terribly. I thanked her for coming to us and joining our family and I apologized to her for not being with her when she left. When the vet returned he let me say more good-byes and then he slipped off her collar and put on his leash. I hugged her again and I cried. As he took her away she was wagging her tail.

We have three dogs now - a cocker spaniel, golden retriever and chocolate lab. We adore them all and spoil them rotten. Allie and Cassie are young and Boo is now old. He is losing his sight and can’t hear well. He follows me everywhere and waits for me at night. He sleeps by my side of the bed. He doesn’t have a tail but he wags that little stump. Although I dread what is coming that’s part of the package. As much as it hurts it’s worth the love and everything good that we gain. I will always have a pet and they will always have me.


  1. Big blots of smiles through tears. What a beautiful girl. I loved to hear of her and your other dogs. :)

  2. What a wonderful, wonderful tribute to a great family pet. I love reading pet stories; they are always so full of joy and love - even through the sadness. I wrote about the loss of our pet last summer, if you would care to read:

  3. Our dog is 13 now, so your story really made me cry. Our little Milou is the same way - always wagging her tail and making us feel good.

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. It brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful dog.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  5. Another beautiful story, Wrighty. I am sure Jenny loved you and your family as much as you all loved her.

  6. Thank you everyone. She was a sweet girl and I miss her.

  7. Aw, what a lovely post for a dear dog.


Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I hope you keep coming back!