Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Jake: 2001-2009

Today, I lost an old friend. Rabbi Jake, one of the elders of Pug Life Ministries, passed away after falling ill last week. I first met Jake when I was a puppy. He, too, was a youngster, and although we were about the same age, he always seemed like an older dog. Health problems plagued the schnauzer throughout his too-short life. He struggled to stand up on his own in recent years, but once he was upright, he still derived great pleasure from taking long, leisurely walks around the neighborhood. It was my distinct privilege to accompany him on some of those excursions. The sights and smells he'd encounter on those Oklahoma sidewalks always made Jake's day, and he would often give a grateful nip on the nose to his humans to show his appreciation.

Jake made his first appearance on this blog in the ministry's early days, back in 2005. And since then, I was honored to have Jake at my side for numerous momentous occasions. Our efforts for Mideast peace frequently left us exhausted, yet always hopeful. Jake was there to help me through the enriched rawhide crisis of 2006, and he helped me celebrate at the inaugural Ayatollah Mugsy Scouts spring cotillion last year. Jake also introduced me to the brand of canine freedom that only a doggy door can provide. We shared toys, bones and an appreciation for a good belly rub or a scratch behind the ears. You know, the finer things in life.

I am saddened that I will have no more adventures with Rabbi Jake, either on this blog or in his living room. Like all dogs, he was taken from us too soon. But I know that Jake was always loved by his family, and that he returned that love unconditionally. This, ultimately, makes the grief that we are now experiencing worthwhile.

Goodbye, my friend. We'll miss you.


Joe Shippert said...

I always enjoyed hearing about your adventures with Jake. He taught me the value of diversity within the ministry. May Rabbi Jake rest in peace.

Lucy said...

Jake's contributions to the ministry and service over the years will be missed. I hope the little guy is taking long, slow walks up in doggie heaven now - where it is never too hot or too cold and the rawhide flows like the salmon of the capistranos.

Nevis said...

Goodbye and many blessings.

sarah s. said...

So very sorry you lost your dear friend - although happy at the thought of him running like the wind through heaven.

Beautiful eulogy.

Boomer and his mom Carol said...

Goodbye dear Rabbi, you will be missed.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your kind remarks about our dear Jake. There is a hole in our hearts and a very empty house, but we will always remember this funny, intelligent little creature that entered our lives almost nine years ago. We thank you for your friendship. I know he enjoyed your meetings. Here is a few quotes about dogs that express my feelings. Hope you like them.

"Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really. ~Agnes Sligh Turnbull

My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet. ~Edith Wharton

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive. ~Gilda Radner

Jake's Mom


Shmoo said...

I'm so sorry for your loss


Lucy said...

Forgive me if this is ad naseum but someone sent me this recently and it captures the sentiment perfectly:
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dogs owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldnt do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience. The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belkers family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belkers transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belkers death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, I know why. Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. Id never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right? The 6-year-old continued, Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they dont have to stay as long. [...] Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like: When loved ones come home, always run to greet them. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy-ride. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy. Take naps. Stretch before rising. Run, romp, and play daily. Thrive on attention and let people touch you. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do. On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree. When youre happy, dance around and wag your entire body. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk. Be loyal. Never pretend to be something youre not. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

JMG said...

I feel your loss. May your precious memories comfort you.

Gus Pug said...

I am shocked. I felt as if I'd known Jake( and you also) through your blog. Our canine friends time on earth is too short. My heart goes out to his family and to you Mugsy.

LemonySarah said...

I am so sorry. Although I never met the Rabbi, I too am saddened by his passing. He is already missed.