Farewell to my best buddy, my shadow, Jasmine the Beagle
I have been struggling over the past 10 days on coming to terms with the passing of my best friend, Jasmine the beagle. I felt it fitting to share the story of Jasmine in my life, how she chose me, and her final few minutes with me last Monday.
In early November 2006, Victor and I were casually walking along Mag Mile. We entered the shopping center to visit Nordstrom, along the path we ran into a baby beagle rescue available for adoption. The scent of the puppy, nibbling on my fingers, my heart melted before this dog. My rationale brain of the heavy travel kicked in but Victor was so passionate on how we could make a dog in our lives work. We made each other a deal, if we finish our errands and the pup was available, we would adopt him. Upon the return, they were packing up but he had not been adopted and would be available the next day at another shopping center. It was meant to be, the next morning we called and he had been adopted.
Out of intrigue, I clicked through the puppy profiles for the Chicago Animal Rescue, filtering out by beagle, down to three full bred, and two mixes. Off to the shelter we went knowing it would be gut wrenching to see so many puppies available wanting to be loved on.
Walking through the shelter, the first dog was a female beagle, the fine print “doesn’t get along with males”, that explained the growling. Next dog up, a beagle russell mix, adorable, until it began to jump 3 feet high, scratch at the crate, nope, not a fit. Next dog, a 6 year old beagle that was noted “needing to lose a little weight before the summer season comes upon her”. Opening the crate, this gentle dog walked out, sat down and licked my hand. We instantly thought this could be the one. Last dog up, I don’t remember as dog #3 won our hearts.
The shelter has an outdoor area where you can walk with the dog, bond, see if a fit. This 6 year old beagle was house trained, knew how to sit, heal, and she stayed within 2 feet of my side. We sat down on the bench where she sat beside us, we felt whole. We finished the paperwork and purchased all the needed dog supplies for this new addition to our home. This beagle had been in the shelter for three months after the original owners opted for a pet restricted high end apartment over their pup of 6 years. She was scheduled to be transferred to a kill shelter in the upcoming week. Jasmine picked us.
We opened the door to our flat in Chicago, she explored every inch and quickly realized it was her home. Having heard beagles are extremely loyal and demonstrate separation anxiety we crated her the first night. Our lack of sleep the first few hours allowed us to rethink that strategy. We moved Jasmine to her bed in the master bedroom where she quickly fell asleep, we chuckled to realize how loudly she snored. Since that first night Jasmine slept within a few feet of me when not traveling. The sound of her snoring was soothing, something I still have a hard time not hearing in the still of the night.
One early morning while being let out to the back of our flat in Chicago a neighbors pit bull dog quickly latched on to Jasmine’s neck. I heard her yelping, Victor fighting the dog to get the jaw to release. I ran downstairs, a very severe wound in her neck. I carried her upstairs, her licking my hand to tell me she was okay, always such a strong pup. My neighbor felt horrible, how was she to know this would happen. Jasmine was on crate rest for several months.
Over the ten years we experienced several times where we thought we were going to lose her. Luckily we found alternative medicine, acupuncture and laser therapy helped to reduce the lingering damage done on her discs from her attack in Chicago. If a cat has 9 lives, Jasmine had 10. Though my dad quickly sad when we adopted, she will probably only live until she is 9. In October 2014 Jasmine went into the backyard, did her nervous pant and laid down in the grass and grew slightly unresponsive. Recognizing it could be her neck pain flaring up, on this cool fall morning I surrounded her with toys, blankets and laid next to her for several hours. Jasmine visited Dr. Hayley Grove at Trusted Friend who opted to deviate from the normal steroids and put Jasmine on less evasive medication that would not impact her liver and restart laser therapy. Within a week Jasmine began to return to her normal self, tail wagging constantly.
Jasmine brought joy to my life everyday. She never growled, snapped and always was a good sport whether it be how she let Victor dress her as a lady bug for Halloween or her velcro shoes she grew to appreciate during the snowy days in Chicago. Of course, the highlight of her life was time in the car, window down even in freezing temps. Nick grew incredibly fond of “Miss J” over the past 3 years. Often he would speak third person about Jasmine and her wanting to go for a quick ride around the block. When Nick traded in “Old Blue” he was devastated to see that the seats in his new car were not high enough for her to rest her head out the window. A pursuit for a pillow commenced, she grew to love every second in Griswold.
I dropped Jasmine off of Trusted Friend Vet Clinic on Thursday (4/21) just 1.5 weeks since her annual check up and teeth cleaning at Banfield (PetSmart). After returning from our weekend in San Diego, I went to pick her up on Monday (4/25). I settled my boarding bill and they gave her bag of treats, stuffed animals, blankets and food bowls. In minutes the vet returned asking if she could do an ultrasound on Jasmine as something wasn’t right and her health drastically changed. I was allowed to be with my baby girl, Jasmine. She was doing her nervous pant, gums lost color and her tongue almost the color of turkey. Something indeed was wrong with best buddy Jasmine. The ultra sounded indicated internal fluids in her abdomen which prompted an x-ray. Sadly, the results revealed a tumor in her stomach the size of a small bowling ball that most likely put pressure on her organs and was causing internal bleeding. I was faced with a tough decision, Jasmine needed immediate surgery that would have a 50/50 chance. With no cell signal in the building I tried Nick but he was in meetings, luckily Karen answered. I wept, thinking of the reality of losing my best buddy, my shadow, who was her normal self just minutes prior.
Jasmine was put on oxygen and resting on her side. I made the tough to decision for the vet to prepare Jasmine to go to heaven. Unfortunately her blood pressure had dropped that they could not locate a vein and she looked adorable with four legs shaved, luckily one leg became a viable option. Dr Hayley Grove stroked Jasmine’s head telling her that she was a good girl, showing such compassion for my best friend. I crouched down low, kissing her forehead, rubbing her side, and stroking those soft beagle ears. I knew in my mind surgery wasn’t an option for my buddy, and she would decide her own fate.
Nick arrived at the vet and froze as he saw Jasmine lying on the table with an oxygen mask. Nick came up to her side and wept, telling her how much she meant to him, how she changed him, and how he adored her. Within minutes of Nick arrival Jasmine made a whimper and groan, she began to pass on her own. We took her off oxygen and Dr. Grove provided us an exam room. She delicately explained the process of when a pet passes; her gasps of breath further apart, heart slowing. Dr. Grove brought in Jasmine’s blanket to place on my lap allowing me to hold her tight against my chest. Jasmine gave one final gasp for air, her heart slowed and she passed away in my arms, her heart close to mine. My dear friend Karen immediately left work, arrived and spent time with J, Nick and I. This turn for the worst was so unexpected. Dr. Grove explained options post passing, it was so tough to place my best friend in her arms. Jasmine fell ill within 3 minutes of me arriving to pick her up, died 3 minutes after Nicks arrival, all of this happening in just 45 minutes.
Karen, Nick and I shared a round of drinks at the pub. We laughed about goofy memories of Jasmine and Tink and other random things we had grown so accustomed to. The finality of Jasmine’s passing hit me when I returned to my car to see in the rear view mirror the seat cover without her. Below is a photo when I dropped off Jasmine on 4/21 and the gut wrenching day when I had to head home without my buddy on 4/25.
It has been an incredibly tough 10 days. I found myself placing food in her bowl in the mornings and calling for her to come downstairs to go outside. On returning from work, I often found myself unable to walk in the door as I felt the house was no longer whole. I take peace in knowing that Jasmine chose to wait for Nick and I to arrive, and left this world on her own. In texting Victor we both have so many funny memories and shared photos with us both feeling the gap in our hearts.
Jasmine was cremated on Wednesday and today I picked up her ashes from Paws, Whiskers & Wags. I cannot say how kind they have been to ensure that everything is taken care of right, the first time. In calling Trusted Friend to settle my bill, they insisted I not worry about the bill for now as I was going through a tough time and part of their family. A card from Trusted Friend arrived on Thursday full of heartfelt sentiments from their team, and some incredible words from Dr. Grove that allowed us to put our minds at ease of should we or could we have done something different.
Nick lost his dog Bailey several years ago, last night he confessed that losing Jasmine was harder then losing his own dog and his grandparents. More so, that he loved Jasmine over any other dog in his life. He has taken the lost of Jasmine hard, each day he finds himself thinking of the funny habits of Jasmine that we absolutely loved. When we went to the zoo in San Diego we would identify which animal in the exhibit would be Jasmine based on it’s actions.
Just a few things I will miss…
- Body slamming against my feet under the dinner table
- Raising my voice to “Jasmine get out of the kitchen” for her to appear on the opposite side of the kitchen
- The scratch at the back door when she was done outside
- Whimpering at night, me following her to find she sits at the door of the pantry for a treat
- Her pointing on command, this had Nick on Day 1 when she picked the habit up and he could never say no
- Car Rides and Plane Rides, she always did so well in both
- Her snoring and not wanting to get out of bed on my early gym days
- Standing in the backyard with the rays of light from the sunset on her face
- Frog legging, frog legging, frog legging…
- Frito feet, toughest for Nick right now
- Her laying in Aunt Karen’s backyard enjoying the warmth of the sun
- Hiding in my closet whenever I put my shoes on
- Secretly sleeping on the couch to try so hard to slide off when I would come home early
- Work From Home days, they were her favorite, she would be within 4 feet of me all day long
- Walking downstairs in the morning, she would hear “get in your crate”, use her paw and open the door of her crate, turn and sit
- Making her howl by her neck resting on my vocal cords as I would howl
- Snapping photos or videos of her
- Face timing when overseas and she hearing my voice, head turning
- Laying upside down by the fireplace, tail wagging
- All of her nicknames, Tech-tard, Dumb Dog, J-Dogs, Jazzy, Jasminia, Piglet 2, Baby Girl, The Boodle and countless others
- Her ability to come close to me when I would be shedding tears and assure me everything would be alright.
We adopt dogs knowing we will most likely out live them and have to deal with them departing. Jasmine was part of my life, but to Jasmine, I was her life.
Her bed and a bowl of water are the last items of Jasmine in the home. Eventually this bed will welcome another pup, but for now I can’t imagine any other pup then my Jasmine.
Jasmine returned home today, a memory box being built for her. She resting in a tin next to Cooper (ceramic beagle we found along the street one night), a sign Lo made while dog watching and the fireplace that she loved.
While nothing could have saved her the comprehensive exams completed by Banfield clearly leave room for improvement. After spending $500 on the annual dental cleaning and comprehensive exam, receiving a 3 year supply of medication, upon cancelling her wellness plan I had to pay the remaining commitment due for services completed 10 days prior. I will never use the Banfield Optimal pet plan again, nor recommend to anyone.