You Are My Sunshine.


This will be my first personal post on this blog, and although I, as a reader, would probably deem it too soon, I feel it necessary to write. I'm a strong believer in voicing your story, the good and bad. And that words can often help. Written or spoken, either or. If you think personal struggles are not something meant for a blog, then please don't continue reading. Come back in a few days for a post about Autumn. For those who are choosing to continue, stick with me. This will be a difficult one.

19 days ago, on September 21st, I lost a best friend.  Her name was Jess. And she had spent the final 12 years of her precious life honouring myself and my mother with her company, care, and unwavering love. She was a collie cross. She had a sweet tooth, hated flies, and was a real minx when it came to just about anything. She had a smile that resembled a growl, a bark that was monotone and drove us all nuts, and a butt that would sway if you told her she was sexy. She was original. She was.. well, Jess.

The tumours had been there for awhile, and we all knew what the outcome would be. But as a friend said "You can never be prepared.". I don't want to write about her passing, as I deem it unnecessary and prefer to remember the good. But I will say this, if you feel a lump on your dog's body -- get it checked out. Even if you're stricken with fear or think it's nothing, check it. You'll be in undeniable pain if you don't. We did, the news was terrible, and that wasn't even the reason for her leaving us in the end. But still.. get your dogs checked. If we hadn't, I can't imagine the turmoil we'd put ourselves through. Okay, now for the good memories.

I'm not going to lie, when I first met her, she terrified me. Which is laughable now, as she was the softest soul you could ever meet. But boy, when you're a seven year old girl who has this skinny black dog running to you.. Well, you think you're going to be eaten. Especially if you've just watched Dog Soldiers. (Yeah, my movie game was strong at a young age.).

Jess was a rescue dog. She was roughly 4 years old when we had her. Her last home had resulted in many cigarette burns, ribs poking out each side, and a fear of humans. She refused to eat unless I hand fed her, only me. My mother? She'd have non of it. I spent hours feeding her dog biscuits - one at a time. That was... fun. It took roughly 2 weeks to get her comfortable enough to sit in the living room with my mother and I. Another 3 weeks to talk her into coming upstairs. And countless months to help her no longer feel terrified at a knock at the door. It was a long process but she soon settled in her home. And that was the start of our happy little family.

I know fully well that dogs shouldn't be allowed sugar, but a vet in future years said she had probably grown an intolerance to it. And it was fine in small doses. So please don't butcher me in the comments/twitter for saying this, but the girl's dream would of been the chocolate factory in Willy Wonka. She loved her sweet treats. Especially cakes. Every year I would bake her some cupcakes, made with doggy chocolate and yumminess. Whenever she heard the song "Happy Birthday" she would lick her lips, expecting cake. It was hilarious.

Exhibit A:
The girl loved cake. And was much more of a queen than princess. Such a modest lady.

Now, my mother and her friend gave Jess one hell of a name. Take a breath.. Jessica Margaret Tooloola Thrombosis In-Da-House J.D Sports Margaret Roberts.

Yeah, safe to say we didn't put her full name on the ashes plaque. But alas, she learnt it. If we called her Tooloola she'd know we were teasing, say Jessica Roberts and her ears would go flat knowing she was in trouble. The girl had brains. And a lot of names.

She'd often run into the school yard and tackle me down as soon as I stepped out. About a 1/3 of the school knew her. She was a socialite. Also a little... friendly. She once ran away for a good 4 hours and we found her in the middle a group of 5 boy dogs, getting a little jiggy. Which reminds me.. Please neuter your dogs. The fact we never got her done caused so many issues with age, problems we never even knew. Lung worm, urine infections, bleeding.. Just get them done. Please.

Her song was You Are My Sunshine. That is why I've titled this post just that. Me and my mother sang it to her so often. She'd smother you in kisses. If my mum actually tried to sing, she'd bark. If I sang, she'd lay down and fall asleep. Talk about good taste.

We'd had Jess for, golly, 7 years(?) when the option came about to get a second dog. We weren't even thinking of it, but a friend had a pup who needed to be re-homed and well, the rest as they say, is history. Jess usually hated other dogs (and cats, and men. She was just picky, okay?), but Sally eventually grew on her. Kind of. The cat, Bruno, not so much. But that's another story for another time.

I think she appreciated Sally's company. It was rare for her to show enthusiasm when it wasn't about food, but maybe Sally brought that out of her during walks. Maybe it was too much. I guess we'll never know. The most important thing was that she appeared to be happy, and not in pain. She had had too much pain in her life, we swore we'd never add to it. 

Saying goodbye is never easy, and to be honest I didn't. I couldn't. I watched, I was a shoulder to cry on for others, I did daily chores, and I just.. existed. Felt numb. I did for days. To many it would seem daft, but she wasn't just a pet. She truly was a part of the family. The trio. Me, my mother, and her. That's how our little life began, and it feels like a large chunk of my childhood passed along with her. We'll never get those moments back. Build new memories. It's just.. in the past. I couldn't fathom that, and I still can't to a certain point. But I'm learning to accept it. It hits me sometimes, like a sudden shower of rain. It's constantly like something is missing when we all sit in a room, and I still find myself looking for her during walks. I don't know when or even if that'll change. 

I hadn't intended to write this blog post when I sat down, it just seemed to flow in this direction. What's the point of it all? I don't think there is one. I just need other people on this planet to know of this dog who filled my life with such blissful happiness. To remember her. She deserves that much.

I'll always miss you, dear friend. 
God bless,
Sweet dreams, 
I love you, 
and I will see you soon. 

- Anne x

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