Monday, December 10, 2012


People have been asking on Jazz, my 14-year-old Siberian. He's not doing well, not at all. He has been in and out of the vet this past year, dealing with hair loss, infections in his ear, tumors, and losing his role as dominant dog in the house to Gibson. He took the slide down the canine social ladder hard, and slinks past Gibson life a medieval serf. This is the way of dogs though. Age and infirmity are natural reasons to lose your spot as pack leader. But lately, something far more complicated than dog politics has been bothering him. He rarely moves, sleeping the entire day if you let him. He seems to have loss all interest in life, and a walk to the mailbox requires an hour rest. The vet and I are consulting.


Blogger sash said...

Beautiful dog. Thoughts are with you for sure!

December 10, 2012 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger Lelainia N. Lloyd said...

It's so hard to watch someone or something you love start to fail. It may be the natural order of things, but that doesn't make it any less heartbreaking and nothing can prepare you for the loss. *hugs* for the difficult decisions and sad days ahead.

December 10, 2012 at 1:43 PM  
Blogger WillowBrookFarm said...

I feel ya, we lost our senior beagle earlier this year, and we have a beagle/lab who is 16, with lumps & growths, sleeps a lot but when he's up he acts like a puppy. Now he can only sleep 5 hours at night without waking us up by barking to go out to pee. We will wait til he seems to be in pain when he's up, so far he has surprised us that he's still here.

December 10, 2012 at 1:56 PM  
Blogger PansWife said...

Fourteen is a mighty age for a dog that size. Just love him up and give him some extra nice treats when the other dogs aren't around. You've already given him a good life.

December 10, 2012 at 1:59 PM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

As busy as you are, would it be possible to have some one-on-one time with him every day or at least most days? Maybe he's afraid that being ousted as Alpha means losing Mama too? (okay--maybe I'm making him too human)

December 10, 2012 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Dee Winters said...

Love to you and your pup from me and my Pip. You are in our thoughts Jenna.

December 10, 2012 at 2:18 PM  
Blogger Karen L. said...

These are the hard times when you have a dog or any pet really. We are pretty sure we will outlive them but we invite them into our lives anyway. Then we enjoy the heck out of them while we have them. But the "end days" are so hard on the heart that sometimes I wonder how we decide to keep doing that inviting. Well, guess it is because of all the other days that came before. Do what you need to do to make Jazz comfy. I am sure you will know when it is time to let go for his sake.

December 10, 2012 at 2:29 PM  
Blogger Rich With Life said...

Good luck dear. 14 is pretty old for a dog, and it may just be that he is tired, and the cold this year is hitting him hard. I know you will do the best for him that you can, as always. He is a beautiful boy, and he has been well-loved.

December 10, 2012 at 2:30 PM  
Blogger The Village Queen said...

Its the worse part of pet love, we lose them too soon. Nothing makes it better, be gentle with yourself as this time of grief approches. Hugs, Kate

December 10, 2012 at 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's a beauty. Such a difficult time for you, I'm sure you'll do the right thing.

December 10, 2012 at 2:49 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Such a beautiful dog, you will do what is best for him. All the best, love your thoughts each day!

December 10, 2012 at 2:57 PM  
Blogger Melanie J. said...

Sending hugs...

December 10, 2012 at 3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thinking about Jazz. These animals are amazing creatures.

December 10, 2012 at 3:19 PM  
Blogger shrlckhlms said...

I'm sorry, Jenna. This is very hard.

December 10, 2012 at 3:27 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

Sorry to hear of his failing health, but knowing the kind of love and care you have given him, he has had a wonderful life with you. He really is a beautiful creature.

Carol Bailey

December 10, 2012 at 3:30 PM  
Blogger jules said...

I'm sorry to hear this. Sounds like you have a hard decision to make in the near future. I know you will do the right thing by Jazz. Being a responsible adult sucks sometimes.

((Hugs)) to you and Jazz.

December 10, 2012 at 3:37 PM  
Blogger Pit Stop Farm said...

This is the hardest part of sharing life with dogs. We had to put down our youngest Pit Bull earlier this year at 3 years old due to cancer.
Thoughts and prayers are coming your way. Jazz is a majestic looking animal. May you both find peace as things become more difficult.

December 10, 2012 at 3:40 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

aw Jazzy. Feel better good boy. Gibson, you be nice to your brother, even if he isn't pack leader he is still the elder statesman of the group.

December 10, 2012 at 3:41 PM  
Blogger Megan, a farmer at heart said...

I'll hope for snow! When my husky girl was sick we were blessed to have that great blizzardy winter. It made her SO HAPPY and snapped her out her funk.

December 10, 2012 at 3:43 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Jenna, you can post this, or choose not to. Whatever. IT's for you. Sometimes doing what is best for your dog is the hardest, most hurtful decision in the world. Our Great Dane Bo is also geriatric, sleeps most of the time and has...uh...tummy issues. But as long as he still gets excited for treats and can get enough energy to take a jump at the chickens to make them scatter (he doesn't chase, but loves the scatter effect), then he will be with us. When he loses that enthusiasm we will know he is ready to leave us. My heart aches for you. I know how hard these decisions are.

December 10, 2012 at 4:01 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I'm sorry for your necessity to consult with the vet :(

Even at 14, it might not just be because he's 14. It could also be some kind of dealable medical thing (thyroid?)

December 10, 2012 at 4:13 PM  
Blogger Ab said...

Thanks very much for the update Jenna. It might be silly but I feel like I know Jazz and Annie after reading your blog so long. He's a beautiful boy.

December 10, 2012 at 4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever the outcome of the consultation, I've read much of your blogs, books, and seen the videos where Jazz was mentioned within. Much has been said about "a dog's life" but Jazz has been blessed, as far as dogs go, to have shared in so many grand adventures with his master. He's had a darn good run in this world, thanks to you, Jenna.

It's painful to be the one in charge in such a situation, tho. Always a tough decision, one I truly wished I could hand off to someone else when our beloved English setter fell ill.

(BIG hug)

You'll do right by him as you always have.

December 10, 2012 at 4:36 PM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

Oh that beautiful boy! My thoughts go out to you as you take care of him.

December 10, 2012 at 5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jazz will always rank #2 on the list (my old dog growing up is #1) as one of my favorite dogs I've ever met. Give him and extra big hug and scratch behind the ears for me. My heart hurts for you whenever that last day comes, but am so happy for the life he's led. It's been a great and long (and hopefully a bit longer) one!

December 10, 2012 at 6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jazz will always rank #2 on the list (my old dog growing up is #1) as one of my favorite dogs I've ever met. Give him and extra big hug and scratch behind the ears for me. My heart hurts for you whenever that last day comes, but am so happy for the life he's led. It's been a great and long (and hopefully a bit longer) one!

December 10, 2012 at 6:16 PM  
Blogger daisy g said...

Peace be yours (and his) during this difficult time.

December 10, 2012 at 7:27 PM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

Sorry Jenna, this is the hardest part about having pets. I had to put down my best boy last year, after 15.5 wonderful years together. I got him when I was 15, so adjusting to life without my best friend (that I had for half my life) was hard to do. I still miss him terribly, but it gets easier every day.

December 10, 2012 at 8:23 PM  
Blogger marilyn said...

I am thinking of you and keeping you and dear, beautiful Jazz in my prayers.

December 10, 2012 at 8:29 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Jazz is such a beautiful dog! My heart goes out to both of you.

December 10, 2012 at 8:48 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Jazz is such a beautiful dog! My heart goes out to both of you.

December 10, 2012 at 8:49 PM  
Blogger mdoe37 said...

Buck, a pound mix, is now 16. I've had him for about 11 years. He's the same way. Up days and down days. No pain though. He sleeps tons on the couch, going for walks when he wants to. His time clock is a little off. The morning walk is now after supper. He gets up in the middle of the night to go pee, although I think its more just to go out. Sometimes its 3 a.m. for a couple of days and sometimes 9 a.m. He had a spell a few months back where he seemed dizzy, lost his appetite. .. but it seems to have passed. The weight loss did show a large growth on his chest, a little bigger than a baseball.

My thoughts are with you, its hard. We're opting to ride it out and see.

December 10, 2012 at 9:14 PM  
Blogger Jenny Glen said...

What does his lab work say Jenna? Understandable though if you don't want to put too much $ into him. 14 is old for any breed. Hard to let them go though.

December 10, 2012 at 11:58 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Did you read Fiona Apple's recent letter to her fans explaining that she was canceling her tour to care for her dying 14-year-old dog? It is a beautifully written love letter to her best friend and constant companion. It made me cry. I think you will like it, some of what she writes reminds me of how you talk about your dogs. The full text of her letter is here:

December 11, 2012 at 12:07 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Don't feel rushed into making any decisions. Thinking of you during this challenging season.

December 11, 2012 at 12:10 AM  
Blogger English sheep gal said...

HI Jenna, this one touched a nerve, we had to take our border collie Zak in for euthanasia a week ago today.

We got him as a puppy from a working sheep farm in Wales at 2 months old, & brought him home to Worcestershire in a cat carrier! He had a fun life doing agility and long walks all over the UK, mountains in Wales, beaches in Devon, directing his 'working' enthusiasm to a love affair with playing frisbee. We flew him out to the USA when we moved here in 2006, he would have been 15 next March.

We have had many discussions about quality of life in the last few weeks, determined to be good owners and make a decision with him in mind, not the heartbreak we would feel. The build up to the decision was terrible, we had tried anti inflammatories, pain meds, joint meds, still he gradually declined, stopped eating (despite appetite stimulants) and got so weak in his back legs we had to lift him up every time he wanted to go anywhere. He hadn't played frisbee for months.

He was our only dog, although it has been terrible adjusting to life without him (sobbing when I set aside a Subway bag for poop scoop then realising I wouldnt need it, automatically going to where his bed used to be to let him out before work) the thing that we have both been suprised about is a sense of relief and a huge conviction we absolutely did the right thing, at the right time. Doesn't stop the tears and memories, commenting everyday about how we will ever get used to not having him around.

Working on our "Goodbye Zak' email to let friends and family all over the USA & UK know the news, summarising his life story and picking our favorite pictures was a terrible and wonderful experience, and the responses we recived brought more tears and smiles as people shared memories and their photos.

It is very brave of you to share such personal areas of your life, I admire you greatly, and love reading your blog and books. Hope whatever time you have left with Jazz is special, and the invisible wall of support coming your way from your readers helps you. Maybe you could make one of your fabulous photo videos set to music based on all the dogs of CAF.

Thinking of you, Hannah, NY State

December 11, 2012 at 6:53 AM  
Blogger jules said...

Hannah (English Sheep gal): We had to make the same decision with my old dog this year, whom I've had since 10 weeks old. When was the time for HIM, not us. We had all the same conversations and lead-ups. It was hard, but he told us when it was time, and we listened. I miss his big old white face. (Hugs) to you. I completely understand how hard it is.

December 11, 2012 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger Patsy from Illinois said...

God bless. You will know when it is time.

December 11, 2012 at 12:15 PM  
Blogger Moose Hollow Farm said...

My cousin just had her 32 year old horse put down (she owned Spider since he was a colt). She took it hard but is dealing with the loss. The week before, her son had his 15 year old German Shepherd put down (he had her since she was a pup). So seems that we all have such sadness when our wonderful animals pass on. I'm praying for Jazz's recovery. Best wishes to you, Jenna. Remember, we're here for you.

December 11, 2012 at 1:01 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Awww, loves to Jazz. It's so hard watching our doggy friends age. I said goodbye to two old Labs this past summer myself. May his remaining days be peaceful and content, Jenna.

December 13, 2012 at 11:38 AM  

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