Last Wednesday, I had to say goodbye to a dear friend. Jacques, my French Bulldog, began having seizures three weeks ago. By 3:00 a.m. on that morning, he’d had four fits in a single day and hadn’t recovered between them. We’ll never know for certain, but his breed, age and symptoms all point towards a brain tumor. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life. I got Jacques when he was one from a family that couldn’t (or wouldn’t) keep him. He was chubby, enthusiastic and fun. He saw me through the highest and lowest moments of my 20s, acting as a constant companion through a turbulent decade. For plenty of people, a dog is “just a dog”. I can’t understand that; Jacques enriched my life beyond measure and there are no words that can convey how much I miss him.
Jacques loved life.
He loved sprawling out when he was hot:
And he especially liked being curled up and comfy:
He didn’t like playing Santa Claus:I wanted Jacques to be close to us in death, as he preferred. Just outside the door to the kitchen used to be a green thing, half wisteria, half rotten tree. It was ugly and had to go:This thing was brutal to get rid of. It took two solid days of digging, cutting, hacking, chopping and cursing before it was gone. But in its place lives Jacques’ tree, a crape myrtle that’s red like he was:
We sprinkled his ashes around the root ball as we planted it. It was a cool, sunny Carolina day, the kind Jacques loved. He never got to take full advantage of this amazing yard, but it gives me comfort that he’ll rest here eternally.
Life doesn’t feel right without him. I hope that we’re shouldering the suffering he might have been subjected to if we had kept him going. I hope that he somehow knows that I did what I did because I loved him.
Oh, Reid….what a great tribute to your buddy. Every dog should be blessed with such a loving master. He’ll be with you forever.
Your blog is delightful and fun to read. We too have an old house (tho not as old as the Ordinary) and have suffered old toilets, barely workable kitchens, and clanking radiators.On the other hand, we enjoy a beautifully tiled fireplace, exquisite crown moulding, and hardwood floors throughout.
And we too have had dogs that were loved and are missed.
As I write this my English Setter is asleep with his head resting on my right foot. The basset and the miniature wire haired dachshund are sound asleep on the human bed. They are my near constant companions. I grew up in two different late 18th century houses in New Hampshire. I know a great deal about houses that don’t function like a newer, I.e. built with indoor plumbing, house would. Old houses are an addiction. A hard one to satisfy in Charlotte. Keep up the blogging. At least I can get a contact high from your writing.
There are days when I question the sanity of the old house addiction, but it’s a difficult one to shake. The history, the patina, and the challenge of maintaining an older home makes the occasional frustration worthwhile.
My wife would be delighted to hear that your dogs are on the human bed, where she insists they belong (*especially* a Basset Hound). Thanks for reading – there’s plenty more in store, so I hope you’ll continue to follow our progress.