Thursday, 24 February 2011


I’ve always wanted a dog. Don’t get me wrong, I love my cats, but a dog has always been the holy grail. Unfortunately it was never going to happen – with all of us being out of the house all day, it was no environment to bring a dog into so I grew up settling for draping myself all over friends’ dogs and running after random dogs on the street.

I know a few people with dogs now. My sister has Rowan the Irish Setter who is totally nuts. I love her but she isn’t half a handful at times.There’s Frank, my Auntie’s Dachshund, who is very lovely but kind of yappy and a little too small for me. I don’t particularly mind small dogs but I need them to be bigger than the size of Fred and Lily.

Jess in January this year

And then there was Jess. Jess arrived in my life at a kind of awkward moment. After 4 years of not speaking to my father, we were attempting to cobble together some kind of relationship. And as well as fashioning a father/daughter bond, I also had to find a way to make room for the woman my father was in a relationship with. Although none of this was easy, I can’t deny that the transition was made a little smoother after I was introduced to Jess, my future Step-Mum’s dog.

Jess was the perfect combination – she was not too big and not too small. Not too excitable but puppy-ish in a way that belied her 14 years. She was the most obedient dog I’ve ever come across, no need for the lead, she would pad along beside you and stop at the road and wait for you to tell her to cross.

Jess in France 2010

Her absolute, ultimate, best of the best, favourite pastime was playing fetch – she would run and run and run for a ball until you gave in and begged for peace, I never knew her to tire before the person who was throwing the ball for her did.

I have dog-sat for her on many occasion when Dad and Step-Mum have been away in France at their house and I was actually kind of sad when they eventually sorted out a doggy passport for her to come away with them.
Jess models the patchwork blanket, France 2010

I feel like she’s been around forever – she has played fetch with The Americans when they came to over to Hull for a visit when we were all at uni. She was there when I finally worked out how to crochet. She was there when I was in France last summer and she was there (literally beside me) when I woke up from my blackout last Christmas.

It really never occurred to me that there might come a point when she wasn’t there.

Dad's back garden, summer 2009 (taken with Fisheye)

So when I got a call last Thursday to say that she had suddenly died, playing fetch in the park with my Step-Mum I found it hard to keep a grip on things. My voice was wobbling when I spoke to my Dad and I shed more than a few tears that evening as I sat on the settee. I felt thankful that I had gone round on the Sunday before and been greeted at the front door by her as usual. I felt thankful that she hadn’t suffered a long and drawn out illness like some animals. I felt thankful that she died literally doing what she loved.

But mostly I just felt beyond sad. The hugest of holes has been left. I won’t get to laugh at her holding a yoghurt pot between her front paws as she licks out the dregs. I won’t have her trying to get in the bath with me because a firework has gone off and I happen to be in her usual hiding spot. I won’t get to sit on the floor and give her tummy a good ol’ scratch.

Sometimes I love that I love animals so much and other times I wish I could be a little more heartless because this royally sucks.

RIP J-dog.

Me and the J-dog, 2007


  1. Oh no I'm sorry to hear about Jess, she sounds like a lovely dog.
    *big hugs*
    Em xxxxx

  2. Oh no, I am so sorry. Jess looks like a lovely, lovely dog. As you say, at least she died doing what she loved and she didn't have to go through a long, drawn out illness. It sucks that dogs' lives are so short in comparison to ours. I love dogs, but I can't have one atm. So, I sponsor a dog at The Dogs Trust instead.

  3. So sorry to hear that - it's always so sad when we lose our four legged friends. I cried buckets at work when I first heard that our cat had died.

    Hope you can hold onto your beautiful memories of this lovely looking dog. xxx

  4. *HUGS* She sounds very cute.

  5. Oh no how awful. It really is so sad when an animal you loved dies. I know what you mean about wishing to be a bit more heartless - sometimes I don't know how I'll cope when one of my lot pass away :( Jess looked a lovely doggy :)

  6. Oh that's so sad. Thinking about Oscar dying is a surefire way to make me cry - the grip they get on your heart is unbelievable.

    Who wants to be heartless though? That would just mean not loving pets as much when they're alive and I know my life would be much poorer with the moggies in it.

  7. She sounds and looks like an amazing dog. I too live digs but couldn't look after one. I borrow my friends' recently rescued lab. He always has special happy wags when he seed me cos I cone bearing wool and he does live to steal my wool!

    I'm so sorry you gave lost this special dig from your life. But like you said she went quick, which is better for her but more of a shock for you.

    This post was a lovely tribute to an animal who brought you joy and comfort.

  8. Oh bless you...and poor Jess! But at least she had a good life... There are so many dogs and cats out there wanting love...and not getting it... I know it is cliche what I just said but it is true...

    I think it is great you can love - it makes life all that more special and Jess would be happy knowing you loved her... xxx

  9. So sorry to hear this sad news. It looks and sounds as though Jess was a lovely, lovely dog. Big hugs.

  10. I cried reading that :(
    So sorry that you've lost your lovely

  11. I'm so sorry. I know how you feel. Huge holes suck big time. You miss them a long time. Especially if you've had them a long time.

  12. Oh dear, so sorry for you hun. It's a real bugger when this happens isn't it. She really looked a little sweetie didn't she. Big hugs. S x x x x

  13. Oh hon the biggest tightest (((((((Squeezes))))))) I'm so sorry

  14. Oh sorry for you, our furry friends become truly part of our families and they are often much less judgemental than the humans. I've lost a few pets over the years and they do always leave a big hole. Just have to think of the fun things you did with her - sounds like she was a happy dog x

  15. Awwwww poor Jess. It sounds like she had a lovely home and a lot of love.

    I hope she's met up with my dog in puppy heaven. I'd tell her to look for a dog called Lucky and play with her but that probably wouldn't help - I should have thought of a more imaginative name...

    It is good to hear that she went while playing fetch in the park. I don't think it gets any better than that. (((Jess)))

  16. Awww :( I'm very sorry. I love animals too, but live in rented accommodation where the landlord forbids pets of any kind. Luckily, he hasn't found out about my hamster, but to get a cat or dog would definitely be pushing it. So, instead, I get ridiculously attached to friends' pets and the local mogs. My best friend's cat died recently, which was very upsetting, but if we didn't love animals so much then they wouldn't bring as much joy into our lives, and I think that they deserve all the appreciation we can give them. Unfortunately, the downside of it is that times like this (as you said) royally suck :(

  17. So sad - and the main reason we have never had a dog! When I go - I want to go like Jess though. xxxx

  18. What a beautiful dog she was. Sounds like she had a fun packed life, filled with lots of people who loved all her mad, quirky ways.
    I'm so sorry :0(

  19. :( Don't know how I missed this yesterday. So sorry to hear about the beautiful Jess. Pets really do get under your skin though and I think it's agood thing, I still cry when I think of my cat who died 59ve years ago :(

  20. Oh poor you. I know how some animals can just leave such a hole in your heart that you never think the sadness will go. I still get upset when I think about our English cat who moved to Ireland with us and died unexpectedly in 2009. Animals with bags of personality do that to you.


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