Jenna, my beloved Golden Retriever, after valiantly battling a slow-growing brain tumor for 14 months, finally succumbed on Thursday, August 18, 2012. At age 15, the tumor ruptured a few days earlier. Sweet and loving companion to the end, it was only in her last 48 hours that she became completely immobile and disoriented, and ultimately, just ... tired. It was her time, much as it broke my heart.
Jenna was a devoted member of my family, providing unconditional love, sweet retriever smiles, wagging tail, and soft warm eyes that glowed with affection and kindness. She played with my children as they grew from being toddlers to college-bound young adults, ran steadily with my husband on 5-mile jaunts until she was 11, stayed by my side as multiple sclerosis stole my mobility and shoved me into a wheelchair shortly after her rescue.
I adopted her, sight unseen, at 11 months of age, in May 1998 -- the best Internet purchase I ever made, the best money I ever spent. Jenna came into this world with a proud lineage that included Topbrass Kennels in her background, surrendered by some fool who had no clue about the treasure s/he had. Thank goodness, because that's how she entered our lives.
While I had always been an avid advocate for neglected and abandoned animals (my kitty is a rescue also), Jenna proved even more strongly that rescuing a dog not only provides the gift of a new life to the dog, but provides a treasured addition to the recipient family. She even rescued me, when an adverse reaction to one of many (ineffective) MS drugs caused me to go into a seizure - she barked frantically, racing up and down the stairs to summon help. Little did I know that 9 years later, I would be nurturing her through her own seizures as a brain tumor silently and slowly wrecked havoc on her brain.
Incredible dog, more human than most humans.
I was lucky to have her -- happy, healthy and wonderful -- for so long. Even in her last year of life, when she was presented with so many struggles, she faced them with the valor and intelligence of her breed, and with the love and trust for us, her family, that makes her passing so unbearably sad. There is a huge void in my life now.
I just got a puppy: a Golden Retriever/Great Pyrenees rescued from a Georgia kill shelter when she was maybe a few weeks old. The peepee poopy accidents and constant chewing are distracting me from my writing, but the breath of babyhood is wonderful.