Today, the matriarch of all of the dogs in my family, has gone to be with Jesus. Though she was elderly, and it was not a surprise to hear that she had passed away, it still stung my heart.
Jig was her name. I never knew why they named her that. I only assumed it was because they thought that she was a missing piece to their jigsaw puzzle….The puzzle we call life. This beautiful dog entered this family about 15 years ago, when my mom got her as their family pet. My sister was still a young girl living at home at the time, and though the rest of us had moved out, that little dog has given our family enough memories to last a life time.
Earlier today, knowing my sister was mourning the most, I told her I would love to write a tribute to this small dog. A dog that may not always remain in our hearts, but that will most definately live on, in our minds. I asked her to send a few pictures, and a story or two, to sum up her early life with this precious dog. Due to her overwhelming grief, she was unable to provide a story at the time, but sent a few photos. So today, I will tell the stories I know from memory. I hope the entire family, but mostly my Mom and my sister, will find peace in the memory of the majestic beauty that this sweet dog provided, in her short life.
First, I will describe the environment where she grew up. My mom and my tougher than nails step father, live on a large farm…. One that has cows, horses, full gardens, and fields surrounding it. However, their house is directly in front of a highway, that divides them from the livestock. This means that they have to cross this road frequently. Needless to say, they had several dogs before Jig came along…many of which died on this very road. It just didnt seem meant to be…..until JIG!
Some of my earliest memories of Jig, start with the horrible diet she was on. Chuck, my more than accomodating second father, always refused to buy a large bag of dog food, in case the dog died on the road, leaving him stuck with $10 of unused dog food, that he would be incapable of getting full resale value for in return. Also, Jig got the food that was on sale. Many of times this left her with Kibbles and bits. While she enjoyed the kibbles, she hated the bits. So, every day, after they went to work, Jig took her bits, one by one down to the basement, where she would fill my mothers shoes.
She was a smart dog…one that made her message clear.
After a couple of years, my mom found Jig a companion, named Bob. They always seemed to travel in pairs. Upon one of my visits to see them, I was amazed when my mom had told me that the dogs were trained not to cross the road without 1. looking both ways and 2. Without being in the arms of a grown adult. Then, as we were getting ready to cross the street, she told me to try it.
Well, I dont particularly LOVE dogs, and I didnt want to hold it. Still, she persisted. She told me to pat my leg, and then Jig would jump in my arms. IT WAS DUMB, but I grew tired of arguing. That dog stayed at the edge of the road, until I called it. Though she got my good capri pants dirty, she did jump into my arms.
She was a smart dog….one that listened to all commands.
Every time that one my siblings or I needed to move, Jig would tag along. My mom and Chuck would always volunteer to help move our things with their horse trailer. Chuck never felt comfortable with letting this miniature dog stay in the main cab area of the truck. Instead, this dog was required to stay in the back of the empty horse trailer, sliding side to side with every major turn. When they would stop for a burger, they would let Jig out to use the bathroom. I loved watching the other customers watch that tiny dog run out the back of that giant empty horse trailer, wondering what was happening.
The thing is…Jig had to endure a lot in her years.
…Her baths consisted of her being placed in a tub with the drain stopped. Tepid water would surround her, while her master smoked a couple of cigarettes to relax. Though she knew she wasnt allowed to get out without permission, each time she would silently whimper, wondering if this would be her last breath and her last bath….Poor Chuck…he had never given a dog a bath in a tub!
…Mouse traps were set to ensure she didnt get on the furniture, when they were gone.
…When she had a tumor so large that all of us knew she would surely die, my mom and sister in law took drastic measures to keep it from happening. Chuck didnt believe in large dog food bags or veterinarians, so they settled for a friend of theirs, that just so happend to be a gynecologist. While she didnt give Jig a pap smear, she was able to get rid of the tumor, suture her up, and give her a few extra years of life. She is a miracle worker….One my family wont soon forget.
Over time, Jig got so old and senile, that my mom may/or may not have purposely planted plants in her yard that were poisonous to dogs. Still, she lived. She lived longer than we all expected, but died in a manner that surprised us all.
She was hit by a car early this morning….
Knowing she knew the rules, and that she always followed them, it could only mean one thing…
Im glad she was able to go quickly, without any more suffering than she had already endured. Though Jig gave our family a lot of laughs, and though I joke in part to her passing, she will be very missed. Each one of us have a memory of this silly dog….
Im sending a giant hug to the ones that are mourning Jigs passing, and wish you peace knowing she is in much better hands now.