Gentleman Jake: My Yellow Lab

I was sorting through my, very-incomplete, archive of things I written and I came across this 11 year-old piece about my dog Jake:

Jake on Sandy Cove Beach, 2006
Jake, Gentleman Lab
I didn't have a dog when I was growing up so, when I decided to get one in my 20s, I wasn't entirely sure what I was getting into. Family, friends and co-workers rushed forward, each with a story designed to encourage sober second-thought. I heard about dog hair, dog smell, destroyed furniture, vet bills and on and on and on. You'd have thought I'd have told them I was going to adopt a gremlin. No one was very supportive and I started to wonder whether I shouldn't abandon the idea altogether.

Then Jake came along.

Jake was introduced to me by a co-worker. Her daughter had been a part of rescuing him from a sad 'situation' with his first owners. My co-worker thought that perhaps Jake and I would be a good match. She sent me to meet him.

He was a rambunctious 2-year old labrador retriever who could bounce and play with the best of them. His handsome face and big brown puppy eyes quickly melted any reservations I was still harbouring about becoming a dog owner. I immediately began making plans to have Jake become part of my household.

His transition into my life (and mine into his) was surprisingly smooth. I think I won him over with doggie treats and a trip to the swimming hole -- all-natural chicken jerky and a game of fetch-the-driftwood are the keys to Jake's heart. So much so, it's hard not to let him over-indulge. It takes so little to make him happy and when he's happy you can't help but follow along. He's got a charming personality and an incredibly expressive little face. When he smiles you know things are alright and when he raises an eyebrow you know something's gone awry.

Jake is 5 years-old this month and we will soon have been together 3 years. I can honestly say I've never once, in all that time, come anywhere near regretting bringing him into my life. I still get out of bed insanely early so I can take him for a walk before I go to work  and I do it with a smile. I still look forward to getting home from work in the evenings because I know when I walk through my front door he will be there waiting with a rawhide bone in his mouth, his tail wagging double-time. 

With Jake, it's hard not to find happiness in the little moments and for that, I continue to be very grateful.

I didn't go looking for it but the discovery seems timely.  Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of Jake's death.  I guess you suspect, by the fact that I know that, he never stopped being a big part of my life.  I grieved for him a long time.  I learned a lot about grief because of him.  I'm a better person in many ways because he was a part of my life.  Grateful still feels like a good word.


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