Friday, April 13, 2012

Happy Birthday Jessie!

My post last weekend about Sonia's sweet Flora brought back memories of the dog that stole my heart - Jessie, the German Shepherd that came into my life back in 1991. Oh what grand adventures we had in those days, hiking, camping, canoeing, exploring! She died in 2004, having spent more than 13 years making me a better person and this world a better place. Truly! What an amazing dog she was - gentle and wise. I swear she could read my mind, and her vocabulary comprehension exceeded that of a toddler.

I wasn't as familiar with dog rescue in those days, and I found Jess at a farm out in the country that bred German Shepherds. They just had two adult dogs in addition to the litter of pups, and all looked very well cared for. I had decided ahead of time that the new puppy's name would be either Darcy or Luka (with Sophie a distant 3rd place), but when I met her, all those carefully selected names fell by the wayside. It was "Jessie" that fit.

When I first met baby Jessie, she was annoying the heck out of her dad, a huge black and tan shepherd trying (unsuccessfully) to get some peace and quiet behind patio furniture on the porch. The old farmer reached down, scooped her up and held her out to me. And looking back, I guess that's the moment it all started. When I held that ball of fluff and puppy breath in my arms for the first time, I was smitten. But I had no idea how strong that relationship would be.

Everyone loved Jessie. I joked later that Jessie had friends from one end of this country to the other and received more sympathy cards when she passed than my parents did! The sadness of saying goodbye has receded with time, leaving behind the gift of 13 years of great memories. Today is her birthday, and since she never got to be a part of this blog, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite photos today in her memory.

Far too many of them include me, but it can't be helped! I never could get Jess to "smile" for photos - she would always look so serious and grim when I took her picture. It was as if posing for a photo was a dreadful task to be endured obediently, but certainly not to be enjoyed. But if the two of us were together doing something, with someone else taking the photo, then I could often get her normal happy look.

The photo below is one of my favorites. I'd just raked up a big pile of leaves, and couldn't resist playing with Jessie for a moment in the middle of the pile before doing the responsible thing and getting them all to the curb. It was our last fall together, although I had no way of knowing that at the time. Those days though, I knew she was getting up there in years, and I treasured every moment we had together.

Happy Birthday Jess! I still say you're the greatest dog that ever lived.


  1. ahhh what a lovely post, i know exactly what you mean. my first dog deefa was just as special to me. he's been gone almost a year now and ive finally stopped feeling so sad without him xxx

  2. Wonderful photo essay; thank you for sharing Jessie with those of us who never knew her.

  3. Beautiful tribute to a beautiful dog!
    Thank you for sharing these special memories.
    Happy Weekend,

  4. What a beautiful girl Jessie was. How lucky you both found each other. It is so rewarding to have that kind of relationship with a dog and so wonderful you can remember her and the fun times you had together with great photos like these, you can tell she was a very sweet girl. In a couple of those pictures she kind of looks like my Max!

  5. Jessie was so beautiful! Happy Birthday angel dog xo

  6. Happy Birthday to your Angel Jessie...oh my goodness what a gorgeous girl she was too. The love of a pet is a precious gift. You were both lucky to find each other.

    My annual arrival of hummers is way over due. I'm hoping maybe they are just sneaky and I'm missing their visits. Usual in Spring the are more into flowers than sugar water.
    Hugs Madi and Mom

  7. Happy birthday indeed!
    Jessie looks such a sweet gorgeous dog.
    I especially liked the photo of the cat in her bed!

  8. What a beautiful tribute to your dear and so loved Jessie!
    Happy Birthday gorgeous Jessie! You look so sweet, so adorable. For sure you had a lovely and good life with your dear friend Brenda.
    Thank you Brenda, for sharing these special memories and beautiful photos of you and dear Jessie.

    PS: Since my dear dog Flora died, I have been so heartwarming, so emotive when I read beautiful posts like this one you did. As a blog friend of mine commented on my blog, "dogs are the universal language" and they approximate similar souls too.

  9. Thank you all so much for the kind comments. Yes, Jessie is my "Angel Dog!" I like that. :) It's funny - I still dream about her on occasion, even though she's been gone for 8 years! And Elizabeth, that photo of Jessie with Linus in her bed - I love that one too, because it so captures her personality. Even though she looked ferocious, and people would sometimes cross the street when they saw us coming (!), she was as kind and gentle a soul as there ever was.

    Madi and Mom - our regular summertime hummers showed up on Friday! It was such a surprise. I assumed it was Emmy at the feeder, but then noticed the ruby throat! I think Emmy is gone. Haven't seen her for days, so she is probably either back, or on her way back, to Alaska or Canada. Wish she would have worn a little helmet cam so we could see where she went!

  10. I came here by way of Sonia's blog. I loved reading about Jessie. What a dear sweet dog. They sure do touch our lives in so many ways. Happy Belated Birthday Jessie. You brought much joy to others!

  11. A beautiful post AND blog! I, too, came by way of Sonia. My "Angel dog" is Karl. It has been just a year that he's been gone after 10 years with me from a 7 week old pup. I dream about both he and my "Angel cat", Gus.

    Thank you for sharing some of Jessie and your time. And for your tribute to Sonia's Flora.