I wasn't going to say anything until it was over, but then realized that's not fair. Jake has been part of this blog since the beginning and I know from the emails you send, there's a lot of love out there for this big, big dog. So here goes:
A few weeks ago, Jake refused his breakfast. If you've ever met a Lab, you know how wrong that is. I figured it was something he did eat, namely the stuff that exits a horse (see how I tried to spare you the visual?), which is plentiful on some of the mountain trails we've been exploring lately.
But when the vet touched Jake's stomach, right away he wanted to do an X-ray. And when I explained that as a writer, things are a little tight right now and was this really necessary, he said yes. And then he did an ultrasound at no charge, which is when I knew we were in trouble.
So it turns out that Jake has cancer, fast-growing and inoperable. He was OK for a while, and now suddenly he's not. You pet owners know, you can never tell with these things. He may surprise us and rally. (We've already shocked the hell out of him by serving him chicken and steak and letting him watch soap operas in his PJs. (You know I'm making that part up, right, about the PJs?)
We're keeping him comfortable, keeping a close eye on him, trying not to kiss him too much. And the instant he tells us (you pet owners who have been through this, you know, they really do tell you), he'll get a gentle and loving and dignified assist to wherever it is he's headed, to be joyfully welcomed by whoever it is has decided that it's time for him to go.
I'm going to ask a huge favor -- please don't email me. I just don't think I could bear it right now. Hug your dog or tickle your cat or have a chat with your bird or reptile. Be extra sweet to someone in your life. It'll lighten the universe a bit and I know we'll all feel the good of that.
I'll let you know when he goes. And then we can talk about all the animals we've had the great honor to love, and to be loved by, and about the baffling fact that we humans are forced to outlive them.