On 6th January 2001 a little dog puppy dog was born. A yellow Labrador with a pink nose. At about 6 weeks we went to choose him. He was the one out of the litter who was sat at the back on his own, quiet & shy. First impressions can be misleading! He was the only one with a pink nose so I had to have him. The breeder asked me my name so she could distinguish between which pups were taken & feltipped two J’s, one on either side of his belly & he got his name JayJay. 2 weeks later we brought him home to his forever home.
Jay was poorly to start off with, had worming problems & at one point thought we might loose him. I was finishing off Uni when I first got him, so would come home from Liverpool every weekend & midweek if I could so I could see him. Every time he would either lie in the grove of my legs or in between my legs curled up. That was his place to sit, even when he got older & struggled to fit. I’d also been away travelling for 6months & that’s the first thing he did when I got back & I was so worried he’d have forgotten me! He even had a pre warning trick to my parents to let them know I was home. I drove an old 1973 VW Beetle at the time & he could hear my car from the other end of the estate, his ears would prick up & he’d run to the door & wait for me to get home.
He was the typical boisterous lab. Energetic, strong, pulled on the lead, was a brilliant guard dog who barked at the window man, only to lick him to death when he got down off the ladder, such an affectionate boy. He was adventurous too, doing a Houdini escape through the garage door, off on his own little walk up the road to the roundabout to find 2 lovely ladies who promptly phoned us asking if we were missing a dog!
As he got older he developed selective hearing, especially when we were out, off lead at the beach he would just be off wandering in his own little world.
He loved the beach, looking back we didn’t taken him anywhere near as often as we should have. For an old boy he came alive there, climbing the sand dunes like he was a pup with no chance of any kind of recall coming into play!
In the last few years I was superseded by my nephew Elliot as Jay’s number 1 play mate. Elliot was his best friend. They would sit together on the floor, fall asleep together & near the end Elliot would hand feed Jay his breakfast & tea to make sure he was keeping up his strength!
Now the average age for a Labrador is 10-12yrs old and when out walking we would see other labs with their owners explaining that their 8-9yr old labs were old whilst Jay was still acting like a pup most of the time. As he reached his 14th birthday we tried to work out his age in human years. It’s a little more complicated than the traditionally known 1 dog year to 7 human years & 14yr old dog was off the chart! It just didn’t exist in the age calculation! So with every passing birthday I foolishly believed Jay would be with us forever.
But about 5 weeks ago now he started to become ill. He had trouble controlling his bowels & quickly lost weight. Blood tests, antibiotics, binding paste & ultrasounds eventually found our worse fear, a tumour on his spleen. At 14.5yrs old it was unfair to do invasive surgery in order to find out what we all already thought, that whatever was found wouldn’t be treatable. So with all avenues tried, on the 10th July at 10:30am we made the decision to let him go. The 2 vets Clare & Ellen at Regan’s vets in Radcliffe were amazing. Ellen had treated Jay for probably the last 7yrs of his life, her emotions were evident as she sat on the floor with us & cried. That’s exactly what you want from your vet. Someone who knows exactly what you’re going through & how hard yet easy that final decision is once all options have been tested & failed.
So on that day he lay between my legs like he had done so many times before & slipped away to run free at rainbow bridge.
Now many peopl may think I’m soft, he was ‘just a dog’! But those who are fortunate enough to have animals in their lives will know that they are part of the family.