by Susan Bandy
JEB was a good boy. This is important to understand – that he was good; that he was sweet and brave; and that he maintained a great attitude right up until cancer took him away from us.
Sixteen-year-old Jeb first arrived at the sanctuary last September with his friends Brodie and Tig. They were from a neglect case; former working dogs at a local hunt club who had been left in a condemned house after their owners moved out due to a fire. They arrived covered in fleas with not much training but plenty of personality.
Jeb distinguished himself by being the loudest with a talent for knocking over the water bowl. He made a “woo-woo-wooo” sound that registered somewhere between a whine and a yodel. Jeb loved to be told that he was a good boy. If you said “I love you, love you, love you!” to him, he would show his delight by turning in circles while singing his “woo-woo-wooo” song.
In May, Jeb developed a limp that was diagnosed as bone cancer. He had a tumor in his left shoulder that grew at devastating speed. We kept him on daily medication to manage the pain. By July, his vitals were beginning to shut down until finally he could no longer stand and refused to eat or drink. We all hoped that his soul would peacefully pass while while he was asleep, but he continued to hang on against all odds. I like to think that he didn’t want to leave his happy family. But his refusal to eat made it difficult to administer pain medication and we could see that he was suffering. We finally made the very difficult decision to call the veterinarian for an in-home euthanization.
The evening of July 22nd, caregiver Brenda Izzo and volunteer Ollie Westfall brought flowers to honor this beautiful dog and support his transition. Brenda cooked Jeb a steak dinner and hand-fed him small pieces, which he ate with enjoyment. Jeb received lots of hugs and cuddles. We played soothing music and sang to him as Dr. Danielle St. Pierre gently helped him depart his broken, pain-riddled body.
The phrase “dog days of summer” is a familiar expression for the hottest days of July and August in the Northern Hemisphere. The expression actually originated during Roman times as a reference to the heliacal rising of the star system Sirius, the Dog Star. It was during the ascension of the constellation Canis Major that Jeb crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I don’t believe this was a coincidence. It was clearly an auspicious time for Jeb to make an important transition to the next phase of his soul’s journey.
We all miss Jeb every day. I like to remember him during his carefree days here at The Lily Pond, chasing a ball and playing with his buddies. Perhaps some starry night I’ll hear his “woo-woo-wooo” echo across the sky.
Jeb, we love you and thank you for the gift of your time with us. May your beautiful soul dance with the great Dog Star across the heavens. Jeb’s a good boy. Always.