One Life
by Jordan Dane

This is completely off the subject of publishing, so please forgive my self-indulgence.

My old dog Feliz passed from this life on May 22nd after sixteen years of sharing her love. As I knew it would, her death broke my heart. It's been hard to focus on much else.

Grief manifests itself in many ways. My husband and I still hear the click of her nails on tile, still see her shadow at the door, and we still linger at the garage, waiting for her to show and claim a biscuit. All of these moments are products of our wishful thinking and old habits are hard to deny, but it's amazing how well she trained us.
If Stephen King's story in PET SEMATARY were true, we'd gladly welcome her back to this life, even if she were the spawn of Satan. That's how much we loved her.

Her full name was Feliz Navidog. Yes, she was a Christmas present, but not for us. We had given her to my parents with the caveat that if they truly didn't want a puppy, they could return her to us. And within two weeks, back she came.

In hindsight, she was the best present we ever got. We nearly called her "Boomerang", but in Spanish, the word Feliz translates to "happy" and that suited her just fine. She always had a smile on her face.

When she was a pup, she had a dark muzzle, one ear up and one down, a curled tail and an unfaltering bounce to her step. People often asked us what breed she was. In truth, she was a German Shepherd Chow mix, but we lovingly called her a “Somma Dog”--because she was somma dis, somma dat. But one man's mutt is another man's idea of perfection.

Feliz had many admirable skills, despite her questionable lineage. She was a practitioner of puppy telepathy, transmitting her thoughts to us with a meaningful stare. She spoke the language of human beings with unfailing accuracy, developing an extensive vocabulary. Balancing a biscuit on the end of her nose then tossing it into her mouth had become her signature move. In later years, she mastered sign language when her hearing was failing. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Every morning of her life--without fail--she awoke for the sole purpose of pleasing us. We saw it in her face and felt it on her warm wet tongue. She never tired of the routine or the mundane, even after her joints got stiff and her eyesight grew dim--because in her mind, she was always that puppy with a bounce in her step.

Dogs remind us that love should be unconditional. In their world, friendships begin with a well-placed and unerring sniff--completely devoid of an ulterior motive or personal agenda. If you pass the sniff test, you're in. No cover charge and no membership fee. With a mere wag of a tail, a dog can make you smile and lift your spirits. We can all learn from them--because their love comes from a higher place.

So, in memory of my old dog, I'd love to hear your favorite pet stories--something to lift my spirits, if you feel like sharing. The gift of a smile would be greatly appreciated.


Blogger JennaPetersen said:

I'm so sorry about your puppy, Jordan. Dogs and cats will break your heart, that's what my dad always says. But man, what we get while we still have them is worth it in some way.

The dog of my childhood, long gone now, though it seems like yesterday, was named Lady. She was laid back and sweet, unless my brother and I were home alone. Then she became protector dog. And if I was home sick from school, she'd come lay in the bed with me sigh in my face.

Our current cat, Harley used to sit under the couch and wait for our older cat (also gone now) to walk by then rush out with, I swear to God, jazz hands. Now she hides from our youngest Quinn, who likes to torment her endlessly. They snuggle when we're not looking. Quinn will also wear clothing quite willingly. My favorite is her Christmas elf hat, though she has a sundress that is quite lovely.

10:48 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Jordan, You gave Feliz a wonderful lifetime of love. I have a friend that works for the Texas SPCA, the need and desire to please are in the eyes of the animals that come in broken and dejected. But connected wiht the right person, like your Feliz, A present for another, they grow into wonderful companions, best friends, and sometimes kids.
Feliz is looking down at you proud that she had her brief time with you. And like the show, I like to believe, All Dogs Go To Heaven.
Smile, "Happy" is looking at you. Sadness isn't a trait she enjoyed.

Sassy Sipe

10:56 AM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

Jazz hands...LOL I've got two cats and I know what you mean.

And your story about the childhood dog reminded me of one of my all time favorite pooches--another mutt named Brutus. He protected us when we were kids.

He was the size of a beagle and fathered half the dogs in the neighborhood. Once, he took on 3 German Shepherds and crawled home needing 70 stitches in his little body. He lived to be 15 yrs old and he lives on in our memories--a legend.

10:59 AM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

Thanks, Sassy. Feliz was a rescue animal. And she was the only one of her litter that survived. That sounds like she was blessed with good fortune, but we were the lucky ones.

11:00 AM  

Blogger P.A.Brown said:

I lost my Doberman Slik 6 years ago and still mourn him. He was the sweetest dog I have ever met and he died way too young - at only 5 years old. I held him when the vet put a needle into him and I still cry when I think of it. I'm getting a new puppy next week, another Doberman. I know I can't replace Slik but I look forward to years of love from this guy.

11:22 AM  

Blogger Molly said:

Jordan, my sympathies on your loss. We have a terrier mix, Finnegan, who became my sister's service dog. He is reired now but he was her "pick up" artist for many years. (She has trouble with balance due to MS.) He is a tough little bugger. He sat with her through a 6.8 earthquake and helped "pick up" afterward. It's amazing the amount of love and support these guys give us---and how much it hurts when they're gone.

11:32 AM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

Oh, Pat. Five years old...Wow. That is way too young. And I'm happy to see you taking in a new puppy next week. Congratulations. It gives me the encouragement to risk my heart again. They give back so much more than they ever take. Good for you.

I had a little smoky long haired rescue kitty that only lived for a year. We named him Jackie Chan because he was such a kamikazi cat. He'd FLY everywhere and attack anything.

He had something wrong with his heart and as he got bigger, his heart didn't make the transition. But during his short life, he really grew on us. He was such a little imp. I have a picture in my head of him shimmying up our decorated Christmas tree. We were the only people on the block with a lighted tree on our patio, because the little bugger wouldn't leave it alone. He didn't live long but we still talk and laugh about him.

11:37 AM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

Wow...What a great story, Molly. Thanks for sharing it.

11:39 AM  

Anonymous Jeanne said:

I lost my delightful Clancy a year ago this month and I still can't talk about him without fond memories and tears. I used to raise and show toy poodles, and Clancy was the last survivor of that time in my life. A well-known poodle breeder and judge, Anne Rogers Clark once said: "A Poodle can do everything a Labrador can do, but in the evening a Labrador wants to go lie by the fire and a Poodle wants to be fourth at bridge and tell naughty stories." It was certainly true of Clancy! Some pictures are on my website.

Your Feliz is no doubt romping with Clancy in that special place across the Rainbow Bridge.

11:48 AM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

Ahhh, Jeanne--your Clancy sounds wonderful. I had poodles growing up and it's true about the bridge and naughty stories. LOL And looking into the soulful eyes of a poodle, you can see they know something no one else does.

I'm going to your website to check out those pics.

And your Rainbow bridge reference reminded of an email a dear friend sent to me this week. Joe Collins sent this link to Rainbow Bridge.

Thanks for sharing your story.

11:56 AM  

Anonymous thebaglady said:

aww.. my doggy is named Happy. He is seven now and I think my mom would cry if he dies. We used to have a cat named Pat.. he lived a very long life (14 years), and then he got a brain tumor that grew into his eye and we had to put him to sleep. His little box of ashes is still at home and my mom says she wants to be buried with it.

1:16 PM  

Blogger TinaFerraro said:

I'm so sorry for your loss! I lost two cats in recent years, also of old age, and it broke my heart. Here's my story...

When my first cat, J.T., died, I felt like part of me went, too. We had another cat, Ginger, who I I "liked," but J.T. had been my "baby."

That first night, I couldn't stop crying and snapping at my family...until I looked over at J.T.'s "spot" on the couch, and I saw Ginger, for the first time EVER, sitting there. It seemed to me as if Ginger was telling me that she knew J.T. was gone, that she understood my pain, and wanted to help.

And what do you know...over the next few years, Ginger and I found the same sort of love I had with J.T. She lived long, too, but of course, not long enough.

Anyway, we have a new cat now named Rascal after the louse who dumps the heroine in my book, TOP TEN USES FOR AN UNWORN PROM DRESS,. and he's my baby, too.

Again, my sympathies to you...

1:19 PM  

Blogger Laura said:

What a sweet picture of Senorita Feliz. Such a sad loss for you. I'm so sorry.

My husband is fond of saying that "a big dog will break your heart." And it's so true. They never seem to live long enough, do they?

We had almost fourteen wonderful years with our white Shepherd, T.J. He started out looking like a little polar bear cub--but a few months later he was tall enough to eat a pound of brie off the coffee table when no one was looking! He raised our daughter--in fact, he was great practice for having a baby. She did a great job taking care of him, too, in his last, difficult days before it was time to let him go. We couldn't bear to get another dog for almost three years, he left such a hole in our lives. But then we got Hrothgar, our rescue lab--and now we have Scout, another rescue and terrier mix. I suspect that Scout, though small, will eventually break our hearts, too. But in a good way.

Hroth and Scout send you lots of doggy affection, JD. xo

1:29 PM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

You guys are all helping me get through this. I'm crying and laughing with your stories. I've been in a fog, blocking things out, but my sister sent a wonderful care package, showing Feliz when she was a pup (maybe 6 months old) with my niece who was 3 at the time. She is going into college and it is amazing how time flies.

And thanks for sharing your doggy affection, Laura. You're a sweetie. I'm looking forward to seeing you in NYC for Tfest.

1:43 PM  

Blogger Sandra Robbins said:

Your loss stirs some uneasy feelings in me. My husband and I have a Yorkshire terrier that just celebrated her 13th birthday. In reality I know that she's approaching her life expectancy, but I don't want to think about it.

She's my constant companion, and I can't imagine her not being beside me. Each day as I write she lies at my feet as long as I'm at the computer and only gets up when I do.

Pets have a special hold on our hearts, and she's no exception. To paraphrase a quote I read once--I wish I could be as good a person as Belle thinks I am.

Sandra Robbins

2:09 PM  

Blogger Daisy said:

My sincerest condolences on the loss of Feliz. She looks like she was a very special girl.

2:13 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together…

– Author Unknown

I'm so sorry about your pup. :(

2:19 PM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

Thanks, Daisy & Sandra--Feliz wasn't much for hanging with other dogs. With her being the only on of her litter to survive, she was raised by foster homes & then us--being around small animals and kids along the way. But she really loved her cats--her new pack here with us--Pinot Grigio and Foochie Focker. They miss her too.

And Sandra--I can relate to the dread of how you are going to deal with the inevitable. We did the same, but it kind of makes you appreciate the years that you have with them more.

A friend just sent me a fun slide show and two quotes made me laugh.

"My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up $3 a can. That's almost $21 in dog money." Joe Weinstein

"I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a wierd religious cult." Rita Rudner

2:24 PM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

Thanks for the post of Rainbow Bridge. I only read it recently but it really stirs up the a good way. Thanks for sharing.

2:26 PM  

Blogger Lisa said:

So sorry to read about the loss of your sweet girl. Animals truly do become just like children to us. I believe firmly that our pets will be waiting for us when we get to heaven. How else could it be heaven?

2:58 PM  

Blogger Brooke Taylor said:

Hi Jordan--I couldn't read this or the comments without tearing up again. So I offer you a funny pet death story (if there is such a thing). My old and beloved cat Max (a fat siamese)hated dogs. He'd jump on their backs and everything. Anyway--when he began shutting down, my mom rushed him to the vet to be put down. Max was nearly dead already when a dog came into the waiting room, and old Max sprung up and started hissing. He just couldn't leave this world without telling telling that dog off first. We laugh a lot about that.

4:23 PM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

LOL...Brooke...what a priceless story!!!

It reminds me of Feliz who had trouble getting around with her hip joints but invariably she would make an effort to come to the garage door for a dog biscuit. John & I laughed about that, saying she'd get off her death bed for that tasteless dry chunk. But to her, it must have tasted great.

We used to worry those treats weren't good for her. But during the last few weeks before we had to put her down, we gave them to her any time she wanted one. It became a highlight to her day, believe it or not. And she'd make special effort to score one.

For her, it was probably no less enjoyable than a fat Siamese's pleasure at riding a dog bareback.

Thanks for stopping by for a comment. You're a good friend.

4:31 PM  

Anonymous Karen Dennen said:

Your story brings back memories, Jordan. We rescued our Erika the day she was due to be euthanized at the shelter. She had already been on the table once, but the animal control officer couldn't go through with it, knowing what great promise she had.

Part husky and part shepherd, she had one blue eye and one brown eye. She loved all animals. A big dog, she would lay down to try to make herself look small when she saw other dogs coming her way, knowing her size might intimidate them. She loved all animals. To Erika, everyone was a friend.

She lived to be almost 16, a wonderful age for such a big dog. No matter how much time we have with them, it's never enough. May your happy memories sustain you through this, Jordan. One day those tears will be replaced with fond laughter as you look back on the past.

Karen Dennen

5:29 PM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

Thanks, Karen--I loved hearing your story about Erika. Sounds like she was living on borrowed time, but found a great home with you. What a great story!!!

5:45 PM  

Blogger Julie Compton said:

Hi Jordan, sorry about your puppy. :-( . . . (They're always puppies, no matter how old they get.)
We've had so many animals in our household (and still do), but the one whose death sticks with me the most was my first cat, named Princess of all things, but I called her "Baby Kitty". I'd had her since I was a young girl and she grew up with me. She was very old -- 20 years -- and her health had declined so much that I knew it was time to put her down to alleviate her suffering. I left work early one day so that I could take her to the vet, but I worked in enough time so that I could sit with her for awhile. Wouldn't you know, that in the two or so hours I sat with her, just petting her, talking to her, comforting her, she quietly (and peacefully, I think) passed away. I never had to make that trip to the vet . . . It was almost as if she was just waiting for me to accept it was her time, and once I did, she let go on her own.

6:03 PM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

OMG Julie---Your message really got to me. My husband and I prayed for her to go in her sleep so we wouldn't have to make that decision, but we weren't so fortunate as you. What a wonderful story and how blessed you were to be there in the end. Thanks for sharing your story about Baby Kitty.

I read somewhere that cats have this royal lineage and that they usually end up with more than one name in their lifetime. And so far, I've known this to be true.

6:10 PM  

Anonymous rebecca cantrell said:

I'm so sorry, Jordan. Pets just sneak into our hearts and stay there, don't they? My favorite was a cat named Giza. She was in my second (unpublished)novel. She was the queen of the roost until our son was born, and he started usurping her early, poor thing. When I was pregnant she would sit on what was left of my lap and make a little hot spot until my son would kick there. Then she'd jump down and give me the nastiest look, not believing at all that I didn't do it. She was hit by a car, we rushed her to the vet, and she died in my arms. I still have her picture on the wall.

Now we have a scrappy ex-feral named Captain Amelia who moved in on her own. When the owner is ready, the new pet will appear, and open her heart again.

6:50 PM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

Hey Beckster---Aloha. Thanks for sharing your story. It did make me smile. And Capt Amelia sounds like my kind of cat. I love their independence. It's like they are indeed allowing you to live with them instead of the other way around.

6:58 PM  

Blogger Hank Phillippi Ryan said:

Ah, Jordan. It's a difficult time, no matter what.

Stories, huh?

My dear cat, Lola, was 20 when she got very sick. She was clearly unhappy, and would only eat, well, tuna. Then only ground turkey I would bring home from the deli. Then, only chopped up fresh shrimp and cream, which I was happy to provide.

I knew she would have to be put to sleep, and I knew it was my responsibility. I called the vet, and asked him if he would come do it at my house. He said yes. Then I asked--how will I know when it's time? I can't just--make an appointment.

And he said: you'll know.

One morning I woke up, and Lola was in her usual place on the couch. She didn't get up. She just--looked at me. I said--okay, baby cat.

And called the vet.

He came instantly. And when he arrived, her little eyes closed. (You have to know that she loathed him, and loathed the vet's office. So for her to relax, seeing him, was astonishing.)

I held her while she got her shot. And that was that.

A few days later, I dreamed about her. I'm fine, she said. It's all tuna and cream up here.

I woke up crying. But I knew she was fine. So I have no doubt Feliz is hanging out with Lola, however it all works up there.

7:03 PM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

Oh, wow. That started the old flood gates, Hank. We would have loved a vet with the heart to do house calls too. That Lola really knew what she wanted...and needed.

Loved your story. And thanks for sharing it.

7:14 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Well I was just fine until I read Lola's story.

So sorry about your baby, Jordan. Even if he didn't wear a Buffalo Bills jersey he looks like a great companion.

I personally have hated cats all my life. Until Charlie.

We found her up a tree. 7 month old and in the middle of winter. She was a shelter cat who was let go by her adoptive parents and lived outside for 3 months. In Colorado where there are lots of prey to eat cats that is a miracle.

Charlie won me over with her fiesty yet sweet nature and now she sleeps with me every night. I am very blessed by this little kitty who is now 7 years old.

7:28 PM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

Hey Tina--There were a few show stoppers written in this blog.

And leave it to you to name a female kitty Charlie. I'm glad she adopted you. Shows she has good taste in parents.

Love ya, xx00

7:38 PM  

Blogger Kelli Stanley said:

My heart and hugs (and those of Bertie and Petula) go out to you, my dear.

As a child, I lost horses, cats, dogs, rabbits, goats, guinea pigs, birds and turtles, and I still miss every one.

Paris and Mac are showing Feliz around ... because Heaven belongs to them more than it does to us. We're lucky that they let us share their lives and their incredible, amazing, unconditional love.

Thanks for posting about it ... in typical JD fashion, you're helping a lot of people here.:)



9:12 PM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

Ahh, Kelbo---Thanks so much for stopping by. And for the sweet phone call tonight. You are a dear friend. And I can't wait for your debut book to come out - Nox Dormienda - the first Roman Noir. I'm so proud of you. And I can't wait to see you in NYC for Thrillerfest. We'll share some umbrella drinks & commiserate.

9:26 PM  

Blogger Nancy said:

Jordan, hi,

First, my condolences on Feliz leaving this plane. I would've liked to know her.

These stories have made me misty, and have reinforced how much I still miss my German shepherd, Zeus. He was a stray that came to us by way of a vet we knew. Said vet told us he was part wolf, and everyone warned me that he'd turn on us. But the moment we met, I knew.

Zeus herded and watched over the kiddos. He warned me of an intruder. He jumped off a second story deck to follow me down an alley to protect me. He knew sign language. He learned to say "mama." He used to bring us his bowl when it was time to eat. And, okay, he hogged the bed when he could.

He's been gone more than ten years, and I still dream of him. I've had beloved cats, too, and, though I'd love to have another four-legged friend, I'm waiting for that friend to find me.

Blessings on Feliz's passing, and don't be surprised if she watches over you.


10:04 PM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

Nancy--What a dog Zeus must have been!! You are so fortunate to have him as part of your family. I love hearing about all your memories of him.

Today, with everyone sharing their stories, it has helped me take a solid step toward healing. And from what I've read, we've had the good fortune to share our homes with many beloved creatures who have made our lives richer. If I hadn't risked my heart in the first place, I would never have claimed Feliz as my own, but look what I would have missed.

When I'm ready, I will know when to open my heart and home again. But for the first time since her passing, I finally believe this might be possible.

Thanks to all of you for that.

11:12 PM  

Blogger Gwen said:

Jordan – Know that you will see those shadows and hear the tip-tap of toenails on the floor for a very long time. Eventually, you’ll be able to tell the funny stories and laugh about how wonderful Feliz was, and still is, in your heart.

We lost two dogs within a year of one another, having made the painful decision to put them to sleep. I felt incredibly guilty because I cried more when they put my Labrador down than when my grandfather died. Then again, my grandfather was in his 80s.

I didn’t think I would ever love another dog like I did her. In fact, my pen name—Kelsey—was my dog’s name. Lots of people would think that’s crazy, but that’s my tribute.

Two years ago, my family moved overseas to a country where people don’t care much for dogs so they are often abandoned or abused. My son and I went out to walk the dogs at the animal shelter here and of course, we wanted to bring them all home. One day, we walked by a run and this yellow Lab-mix tried like the devil to get through the door from the inside of the run, but was hampered by a lampshade collars they put on dogs when they are healing from surgery or injury. His tail was going ninety to nothing. We found out later that the shelter folks thought he’d been dragged under a car. He had wounds on his head, on his legs, even inside his ears.

Jacob came to live with us about a week later and as we like to remind him, landed in high cotton. He’s nothing like our other dogs, but he helps remind us how much we loved them, too.

There’s a wonderful book you might find comforting, Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant, if you haven’t read it.

11:30 PM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

OMG Gwen--What a great tribute, to take a pen name for your sweet pet. And from what I can tell of this crowd here today, no one will think this is odd. You are among family here.

It's funny you should mention the Dog Heaven book. My sister sent that to me, along with a pic of my girl when she was a pup. I read that short book cover to cover. It is a great comfort.

11:59 PM  

Anonymous joemedic said:

So sorry to hear about Feliz. A couple of January's ago, we had to put down our beloved greyhound, Paddy. We knew he was ill, but he hung around long enough for us to get home from vacation before telling us that it was time. He was a special greyhound that touched a lot of people and helped find homes for hundreds of other retired racing greyhounds through his attitude towards life and people. I know have two retired racers that have adopted our couches and our hearts, but they can't fill the huge hole that Paddy's leaving us tore into our hearts.

I remember bringing Paddy to a meet and greet at a local pet store. We were mobbed as not many people knew much about such and exotic animal as a retired racing greyhound. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a family pushing a wheel chair. Looking closer as they wheeled up, I noted that there was a profoundly disabled child in the wheel chair. Paddy, who was being adored and petted, walked away from his admirers and put his head in the child's lap. It made that child's day and brought many people almost to tears.

We are blessed by their lives and saddened by their loss. Someday, I believe, we will meet up with them again. That's what heaven will be for me, being able to spend time with those, human and animal alike that I've lost

1:05 AM  

Blogger Barbara Phinney said:

I lost two cats, one after 17 years and one after 19 years. The 17 year old, Desie, was an adult when I got her so we don't know how old she was. But she could open doors. We lived in Germany, where they have handles, and she could jump up, wrap her shoulder around the lever part and slide down it to open it up. I don't know how many unwanted salesmen she let into our small apartment building!
She even opened the door for the other cat, who would sit there and meow once, then she'd come running.
Like you, I still hear them both, and expect to see them at the back door, or on the couch snoozing.
When she died, our other cat really missed her, crying for her, and she declined rapidly after that. They kept each other healthy.
It's hard, but important to mourn the passing of your dog. I consoled myself knowing that if we hadn't picked Desie up in the parking lot that day, where she'd been abandoned, she wouldn't have received the life she got. We gave her lots of love, and got it all back a hundred fold.

6:30 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Hi Jordan,

So very sorry for your loss. I've had dogs all my life, and the worse things is, they just don't live long enough! It never gets easier when you lose a best friend.

I've had the distinct pleasure of working with some amazing animals. I trained detection dogs (search and rescue and drug detection). It was so much fun (and humbling) to see what these dogs can do. And the fact that these dogs work so hard for the opportunity to please their handler gives new meaning to the words, "work ethic".

Take comfort from the wonderful memories Feliz has left you. I hope you can give another rescue pup a home; it would be a wonderful tribute to Feliz Navidad to have a new pup "rescued" in her name. I know a puppy will never truly replace Feliz, but it will help to fill the emptiness in your home.

The worse loss I've suffered was when my search and rescue dog, Niki, died pre-maturely. That was over five years ago, and I'm still not over it. Despite the new dogs in our home, there will never be another one like her. She was smart and b****y, and I loved the way she'd diss my hubby when he tried to give her a command, but invariably would screw it up (God, love him, but he's not a dog person, lol).

Niki lives again as a character in my mystery series (based loosely on my years doing search and rescue). She was so much fun and quirky, and smart. I only hope I can do her justice!

Time will make your loss easier, but it won't take it away. It's an unfortunate part of life that we must love, and then go on when the one we love is no longer with us. That is why we must appreicate who and what we have! Life itself is never guarenteed. That's what makes it so bittersweet.

Best wishes~
Elaine Margarett

8:05 AM  

Blogger Lisa62 said:

Jordan, Again this story is so sweet and dear. I had a Boxer that I delivered and took home at 4 weeks old. I gave her a regal name because she was a regal breed and I absolotuely loved her from the moment I saw her. She loved feet! Her favorite toy was a rubber squeaky foot. She slept by my and husbands bed (often IN it) and was a total lady inside while turning to a ball of fire out doors. Once she stole husband's soda while he was building her a nice big doghouse and I still laugh at the picture I was able to capture that day.
After five years I had to give her to friends because we had not gotten a house with a larger yardas hoped and ours was too small for an energetic big dog. It was best for her. She didn't understand and jumped their 6 foot fence and ran away. We all searched for her for months with no luck and after a year I gave up ever finding her. She was dead in my mind and I grieved for her. when we moved back to my home state and I began watching for my new little one. I just brought Cherokee Rain home a week ago after and endless 6 week wait.
Here's to all the loved pets we all missand smile over their memories.

8:29 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Hi Jordan,

Elaine, again.

You asked for some kids will tell you it wasn't easy growing up with search dogs! We have a large yard (3 acres), perfect for the neighborhood kids to come over for games of baseball and flashlight tag. I would have to "lock up" my dogs who would see my children's friends as people who came to play with "them." An exciting game of flashlight tag (similar to hide and seek) was just up their alley and when they'd see the children scatter and hide, the dogs would join in, showing the person who was "It" where everyone was hiding!

Another time, my son, who was around seven or eight, was mad at me and declared he was running away from home. He packed his bookbag and set off. Momemts later I hear him yelling at one of the dogs who was sitting beneath the tree he had run off to, giving a "bark alert". Now why my son thought a tree was a good place to "live", I'll never know, but Andrew found out that when living with search dogs, you can run; but you cannot hide. LOL!

Elaine Margarett

8:29 AM  

Anonymous Liz M. said:

Jordan, so sorry to hear about your dog. Losing a pet is the hardest thing, no matter how long (or short) they were with us. My old rescue cat passed away suddenly last fall after less than two years with me, and the loss of him still resonates every day. My thoughts are with you.

9:04 AM  

Anonymous Jeaniene Frost said:

So sorry for your loss, Jordan. Here’s hoping this story of The Pet That Almost Was might bring a smile.

When I was around eight, my sister and I discovered that the family cat had caught a chipmunk. We proceeded to explain to the kitty that sadly, he could not keep his new toy (read: we banged him on the head while screeching, “Bad kitty! Bad!” until he spat out the chipmunk). Then, with all of our childish logic, we decided to make a pet out of the chipmunk. We had a problem, however, because we had to leave to catch the bus for school.

So, where to keep a chipmunk until we returned home from school? The laundry room drawer, of course! We popped the chipmunk in the drawer and went to school, sure all would be well until we returned and could find a more suitable cage for our new pet.

Ahem. We came home later to find our parents waiting for us with that cringe-worthy question of, “Do you girls have something you want to tell us?” We said no, of course! Then the question became more specific, “Do you girls have something you want to tell us about a chipmunk??” Busted, we confessed about how we’d hidden away our new pet, wondering how we’d been caught.

We found out the chipmunk didn’t stay hidden. Later that morning, when my father was getting ready for work (read: naked in his bathroom about to pee), our new pet made his appearance – in the form of hopping onto the back of the toilet my father was standing in front of. My father screamed and started to run, thinking this was a rat about to attack. My mother, hearing his screams, came to investigate. She found my father, stark naked and still peeing, hopping around the bathroom shrieking, “Rat! Rat!” My mother, being less excitable, saw it was a chipmunk and calmed my father down. I understand some cleaning of the bathroom followed, as well as muttering about how my sister and I had to STOP trying to make pets out of everything we stumbled across (we had also previously tried to keep a mice, squirrels, snakes, and wild baby birds as pets. None of those worked out, for reasons obvious to me now).

My mother put the chipmunk in a shoe box, so that when we finally came home, we could be the ones to release it back into the wilds of our yard. I found out later that my father took to checking the backs of toilets first before he’d use them. I’m sure the chipmunk had a similar traumatic story to tell his/her buddies, about the day he/she had almost been eaten by a cat, then ended up being peed on by a screaming fur-less monster.

9:19 AM  

Blogger Elle James said:

One of my favorite pets growing up was a silver toy poodle named Tippy. This dog was special, he would have half the neighborhood stopping by to watch the fabulous trick he would do. Because, you see, he was a trick dog with only one trick. Like most male dogs, Tippy liked to hike his back leg to pee. Only he took it one STEP farther. He hiked BOTH back legs when he peed, performing a handstand across the yard as he trickled pee down his chin. Everyone loved to watch Tippy pee, but no one wanted to hold him afterward. Go figure!

9:58 AM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

Joe---Thanks for posting a message here, bud. Your friendship through this has meant a lot to me.

And to Elaine, Liz, Barbara & Lisa---thanks so much for commenting. I loved hearing from you.

And Elle--Your Tippy story was GREAT. Don't have to explain why you called that dog TIPPY either.

Jeaniene--Your chipmunk story was hilarious. It reminded me of all the crazy stuff we did with animals when we were kids.

We had a chicken who would come peck on our bedroom window every afternoon. We'd let her in and she would proceed to the nearest bathroom, pry open the cabinet beneath the sink where she would lay her eggs every day. Then she'd leave, coming out the same way. She'd never poop or mess up anything--only lay her one egg--then she was good to go.

My Dad rescued a small goat from being Cabrito (in Spanish, that's another word for DINNER). And of course, what respectable goat would not come with a friend. Of course, my mom had no idea we had done this with my dad. And when she came home, she heard a kid screaming in the backyard. (Goats sound like a child screaming.) She came out to see all of us washing the goats, shook her head, and went back inside.

Thanks for the memories.

10:11 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

So sorry about your pooch, Jordan. They are hard to give up aren't they? We live in the woods and have outside dogs. They sing.

Yep. Sing. Sometimes they harmonize--Ah, ooooo. Often someone keeps time--woof, woof, woof. Morning Star is the contralto. Golightly sings alto, and Racer does the tenor. He is just learning.

Patricia Frances Rowell

11:36 AM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

Patti---I always wanted to know what people did out in the country.

Thanks for the smile...and the blessings. Right back at you.

11:49 AM  

Anonymous Ellen Breen said:

Jordan, major hugs on the loss of your 16 year old Feliz. I feel what you are feeling. On May 27, I had to take my sweet 16 year old cat Avery to my vet and have her put to sleep. I rescued her in the woods when she was 5 - 6 months old. Avery was a long-haired Siamese, with SIX toes on every paw. She talked , trilled and sounded like Chewbacca a lot of the time. And every morning she claimed my lap as I read the paper, and when I had coffee, she demanded hers-- a little fat free half and half in a saucer.

My vet has pulled off some major miracles with problems she had, and always told me she wasn't ready to go. He called me back that morning and said it was time. So I went in to say goodbye, and hold her, on her back, looking like my little sea otter with her huge paws, and she just whimpered. We put her on the table and that was the end. My daughter wouldn't let me go alone, bless her. I wouldn't have been able to drive home. Getting out 3 bowls the next morning hurt-- I forgot I only needed 2. Such a great cat, so affectionate and playful-- and a big heart who always welcomed a new rescue to the house. And always ran to meet my husband when he came home, and never met a stranger. I, like you with your dog, loved her too much to be selfish and let her suffer.


1:22 PM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

What a sweet cat story, Ellen. And I had to chuckle when you mentioned the Chewbacca sound. I had one like that too. And she had a squeak to her purr. When we adopted her, the previous owners called her Squeaky, which I always thought was undignified for a cat. And since these people left her behind, not realizing the gem they had, we changed her name to Sister Sweetpea. She liked that much better.

3:18 PM  

Blogger Kristina Wright said:

I'm so sorry for your loss. It's heartbreaking, no matter when we lose our beloved furbabies. I have 4 cats (18,16, 9 and 6) and a lovable 12 year old mutt and I know I'll have to deal with the inevitable soon. The 18 year old cat is blind and has a thyroid problem, the 16 year old cat has diabetes, has problems walking due to muscle deterioration and has a cataract in one eye-- but she is still a feisty kitty!

I lost one of my kitties 5 years ago (his brother is the one who is 18 now!) and for the longest time, I could "feel" him sleeping on my pillow above my head. It was his spot for the year or so before he died-- he'd gone completely blind and only felt safe when he was close to me. I think they stay with us in some way, their spirits lingering long after their bodies have worn out. It's a comforting thought...

4:09 PM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

Ah, Kristina--What a wonderful home & life you have given your furbabies. Taking care of the sick ones takes a special heart. Thanks for sharing your story.

You really make me want to take in a stray again.

4:15 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Oh, Jordan. I understand completely. Our little Spider, she walked like one and as a puppy she must have resembled a little peppy spider, came to us an abused child. We already had a pomeranian so we felt guilty taking another but like Feliz Navidog, she came back to us.

At night my husband would call her and she'd run low and bast like a furry black bullet into his neck where she loved him. She was a love ball. We only had her five years due to her continuing problems with congestive heart failure and liver failure.

It's been almost three years now and I can't think about her without crying. Not much comfort I know. But I wouldn't have traded a single second with our little love ball.

Remember the love!

7:08 PM  

Blogger Peggy B said:

Hi, Jordan:

I had a blue heeler named Mick Dundee (Yes, he was from Austrailia) and he was the best. I bought him for my husband to run the cattle (we team roped and dogs really help with the work) My husband worked in the car business and worked long hours so Mick naturally became attached to me. That dog did everything with me ande I mean everything. He rode in the back seat of the pickup behind the driver's seat and would look down the highway between the truck window and the driver's seat. He would wait until a passing car was just about to pass and he would reach out to "heel" that car. It was hilarious. He rode on horseback with me, he rode on the fender of the tractor while I disked the arena and I never made a step without him. One time, a very close friend of ours was standing in the yard talking and reached over to slap me on the back because he thought he said something funny, and Mick latched onto his calf and wouldn't let go until he movedd away from me. He was the best. One day, we were working in the arena and noticed he wasn't there. That was extremely unusual because he never left my side. So, we started looking and the more we looked the more nervous we became. Then, we decided to get into the truck and drive around the section line to the pond on the twenty acres behind our property. We had heard some dogs earlier and thought he might have gone off to find a girlfriend. But, to our horror, we found Mick, laying on the side of the highway. We have no idea how he got there as our house was more than a half a mile away from the highway and, as I said, he NEVER left my side. Whatever the reason, he died that day and my heart was broken. I jumped out of the truck onto the side of the highway and ran to his side. I never once considered the condition he may be in. I didn't care. I just had to get to him. I picked him up as best I could. He was heavy but not too heavy. He was, thank the lord, "intact" and we really couldn't see any marks on him so we have only guesses as to how he died. I mourned that little guy for close to 10 years and as I write this, I am still reduced to sobs. I hung his collar on my rear view mirror for 6 years until I finally retired it to the "trophy room" I still miss him. I have a little "princess" now. Her name is Libby and she is now deeply rooted in our hearts. She will never take Micks place but she has earned her own place. I am a better person for having known Mick and I will always treasure the fond memories we shared with him. Another Mother.

8:23 PM  

Anonymous Brenda Wallace said:

Hey Jordan*
You're brave to read all these stories because I had to stop reading before I started bawling my eyes out. When I was a kid, we had a mostly terrier mutt named Ginger, who was one of the smartest dogs that ever lived (of course.) She had one litter before her ummm female surgery so we kept Chigger, her son. Well, female surgery held dire psychological consequences for Ginger and she refused even hand-feeding for three days so my Mom was afraid she was about to starve herself to death. While my Mom, sister and I were worrying over and staring at Ginger, we observed Chigger, who was just a few months old, take his piece of chicken to his mother and put it right under her nose . . . and she ate it. After that, Ginger was fine. It was an amazing sight. Brenda Wallace (Current Mom of a smart but ornery 1 yo Yorkiepoo and 6 yo panther-sized Cat)

8:54 PM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

Thanks so much for your story, Marley. It reminded me that when Feliz was a pup, she used to curl under my neck on long road trips. I loved that feeling, but of course she grew quickly into a 50 lb girl. But I think someone needs to bottle the smell of puppy breath and doggie feet. For some reason, those smells always remind me of all who came before.

And Peg--Thanks so much for sharing your story on this blog. You've been such a dear friend through all this for me. And from your signature "Another Mother", I think the mystery of who sent me flowers is finally solved. Your sunny gift really lifted my spirits and I thank you. My husband and I keep collars too. And we've retired Feliz's bowls, but who knows. After all the love on this blog today, I can see sharing those momentos with another needy pup who could use a good home. And Feliz always did like to share.

Thanks again for sharing Mick with us.

8:56 PM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

Hey Brenda--Nice of you to stop by. At first, it wasn't easy to read these but if you'll notice, many of these generous people have opened their homes to rescue animals. And although some of these stories will definitely make you cry, the underlying message is about love and opening your heart to it. Today, I am feeling stronger and see potential in being a Mom day. So keep reading. You'll find some real gems.

9:00 PM  

Blogger Shinade said:

Oh my I am so so sorry to hear about this.

We know how it feels. Our dughter lost her sweet Misty this year.

She lived to be 19 and our daughter had her since she was 18 years old.

She cannot have children so Misty was truly her child and a frandchild to us.

We are still very sad and miss her very much.

I shall keep you in my thoughts.:-)

9:42 PM  

Blogger Dina said:

I am very sorry for your loss of Feliz. I dread that day for myself.

9:47 PM  

Blogger Jordan Dane said:

Thank you so much, Shinade & Dina, for posting your thoughts. It meant a lot to hear from you.

This blog has done a lot to lift my spirits and I thank everyone who took the time to post. What a great group of pet lovers!!

10:42 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Sorry to hear about the loss of a special someone in your life. I am enriched by the loving affection you had with Feliz.

1:46 AM  

Blogger Jackie said:

Sorry to hear about Feliz. I still miss mine but at least we can take comfort in the fact they were loved and hopefully when we pass on they will be there waiting for us.

4:18 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Jordan, I was so touched by your tribute to Feliz and that same day after commenting I found mine to my sweet, Spider. You can read the tribute to Feliz and Spider on my blog


1:54 PM  

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