Jasper Dog (1995-2014)
February 3, 2014 7:07 PM   Subscribe

Nineteen years with an old friend: In today's installment of his blog The Bleat, James Lileks recounts the final two days of his dog Jasper, who passed away Friday afternoon.
posted by Ranucci (36 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:21 PM on February 3, 2014

If there is one thing I've learned from my years on this Earth: Dogs are far better friends than we deserve. That's why it's so painful when they pass away.
posted by prepmonkey at 7:26 PM on February 3, 2014 [7 favorites]

"my hand cupped around his muzzle so he could fade off with the scent of the pack mingling with his last inhalation"

The author understood not just his dog, but understands dogs in general, and put the importance of scent before his own need.

You know he's going to see Jasper in his dreams. I hope they're good dreams.
posted by datawrangler at 7:27 PM on February 3, 2014 [10 favorites]

I will put aside my political differences with ol' Fivehead and simply say that anyone who loves his dogs gets some respect.

posted by delfin at 7:30 PM on February 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


Someday I'd like to be a person who is as good as a dog is. Any dog.
posted by mochapickle at 7:31 PM on February 3, 2014 [7 favorites]

They all deserve a life as good as this.
posted by Glinn at 7:33 PM on February 3, 2014

posted by theweasel at 7:33 PM on February 3, 2014

      ,    /-.
     ((___/ __>
     /      }
     \ .--.(    ___
      \\   \\  /___\

posted by subbes at 7:34 PM on February 3, 2014 [11 favorites]

Wonderful elegy. I so miss my dogs, each one of them down through the years.
posted by chance at 7:35 PM on February 3, 2014


Dogs are the best thing I can imagine. When I think of the Platonic ideal of a thing that is good, it is a dog.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:40 PM on February 3, 2014 [10 favorites]

My Jack is 17 now, still doing OK but the end is in sight. He has been an awesome friend.
posted by Uncle Grumpy at 7:43 PM on February 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

Not gonna read it, because I know dogs don't die, and why would I want to read a sad fiction right now? Nope, not true.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:46 PM on February 3, 2014 [16 favorites]

Yep. Even these comments are making me sad. Not crying into my cat's soft, sweet fur tonight!
posted by maryr at 7:51 PM on February 3, 2014

How beautifully written. I hope I'm that loving when that day comes, I like to think I could be. The current arrangement of windows on my monitor means I'm always being watched by my pup...it was especially appropriate just now...

I wish Jasper peace, and his pack as well.
posted by HuronBob at 8:05 PM on February 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by Pantengliopoli at 8:20 PM on February 3, 2014

MeFi's own (from an earlier time).
posted by chinston at 8:31 PM on February 3, 2014

Makes me remember why I still enjoy Lileks as a writer, when he stays off politics. A fine eulogy for a good dog.

Makes me miss my Charlie Brown, a wirehair fox terrier that was the smartest, most patient, most joyful dog I ever had. He died too young, like all our dogs, because my dad was too stubborn and stupid to neuter them, and you couldn't keep him fenced, so he was always running out to look for romance. A car finally got him on one of his many wanderings. He deserved a life more like Jasper's. I'll never have a better dog.
posted by emjaybee at 8:35 PM on February 3, 2014 [7 favorites]

He wrote about Jasper Dog well and often.
There are photos, too.
posted by the Real Dan at 9:00 PM on February 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


This hurts my heart so much. My Zoe, a 2 year-old Pit Bull, is sitting with her head on my shoulder, gently licking my face and snuffling in my hair. She knows when Mama's feeling sad, and does her best to fix it.

All dogs go to Heaven.
posted by MissySedai at 9:07 PM on February 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


wow what a mess that made of me just now. i've been struggling with my cat Mara getting older and thinking about how hard it is going to be when the time comes. i don't think there is anything i can do to prepare for the pain to come but to give her as much love as i can before she goes.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 9:20 PM on February 3, 2014

emjaybee: "Makes me remember why I still enjoy Lileks as a writer, when he stays off politics. A fine eulogy for a good dog."

It's this. His documentary stuff is so good, that I feel bad trying my hand at it. He hits the nail on the head with the stuff about the Thunderbird.
posted by Sphinx at 9:29 PM on February 3, 2014

My dog (who just turned 16) had cancer removed from her bladder in November. She could go one more month, she could last a year at this rate, no one knows. She is loved, she is as comfortable as she can be, and we're doing the best we can with what we have. It breaks my heart knowing that every day someone else is having to say goodbye to their good boy (or girl), and that too soon (far, far too soon) it will be us.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:25 PM on February 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

wow that hits hard
posted by thelonius at 10:49 PM on February 3, 2014

Oh boy... That's just not good for me as I sit here with the 17.5 year old kitty who's been slowly fading over the past year. Her spine shows and she's compliant every morning when I bundled her up into a towel a give her fluids from an IV bag. I find myself saying the same thing about her appetite. "When she stops trying find the left over pizza or the sardines and mackerel can no long convince her to eat that nasty kidney prolonging food - that's when". She slumbers most of the day on a towel set on an old hot laptop - a perfect technological solution to old kitty joints. No pain - just kitty sleep and a big loud surprise whirring purr when I reach out and pet her. I can't calculate how long we've got together. She coasts and then suddenly dips. I know when she comes back up her flight level is lower than it was. Her glide ratio seems precipitous.

One room over, the old dog sleeps. He's 15.5. He's not really here much anymore. He wanders. He forgets where he is. Physically he's fine, but he's forgotten his manners, toiletry wise. We know it's coming, but since he's the dog that rescued my wife, we'll have none of that talk yet.

And then there is the dog who's wandering around behind me. She snuffles up to my feet from time to time. She's about six and she's already scared us once with her spinal surgery, but I know that despite her muzzle gaining a frosty tint, this one had better live forever. My wife knows it - when this one goes (if she does - I'm holding out hope that she got super powers along with her surgery), I'll be bereft and honestly, broken.
posted by drewbage1847 at 11:04 PM on February 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not gonna read it,

Nope. The comments are too rough as it is. I'm usually all "read the f'ing article" but this time it's just nope.
posted by Dip Flash at 1:22 AM on February 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Can't read the article. I want to, just can't. Tears are streaming down as I type this.
posted by kinnakeet at 2:16 AM on February 4, 2014

Why did I read this right before leaving for work, again?
posted by schroedingersgirl at 4:44 AM on February 4, 2014

This weekend is the one-year anniversary of bringing home Nicholas, the beagle we adopted after our first dog passed after many years. What strikes me is how we love both our dogs, who were as different as could be despite the fact they were both the same breed. And that's been so comforting; it lets me treasure Nicholas without feeling I'm betraying Simba, who I still remember and still miss deeply. None of this is rational, but to me it's very real and very dear.

Any video of Jasper would likely have brought a tear, but seeing him wait at the top of the slide until his little "sister" was ready to side down was almost too perfect.
posted by layceepee at 4:55 AM on February 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's been two years since "this might be the last bag of treats I buy for him". It's still one bag at a time, but the biggest bag you have, please.
posted by hawthorne at 5:24 AM on February 4, 2014 [10 favorites]

posted by tizzie at 5:50 AM on February 4, 2014

I started reading Lileks way back in the 90s when his daughter was still mastering the art of walking and Jasper was just past being a puppy. Like many here, I drifted away from his blog after 2001. However, this is really touching.

We have two beagles that are 13+, hearing pretty much shot for both of them. Not looking forward to dealing with this again.
posted by COD at 6:03 AM on February 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

I read this yesterday, with our tripod cat beside me, just three days after learning that the cancer which took his leg 6 months ago has returned.

I know I shouldn't have read it, but sometimes you feel you have to, and in the end the writing means more to you than just the sadness it brings.

Just like Abbie's eulogy for Martha.
posted by subbes at 8:31 AM on February 4, 2014


Dogs are great. Return the favor.
posted by ignignokt at 9:25 AM on February 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

Gooooooooooooddddddd! Shorten the ears and put more white on that dog and it's our Tasha. We just put her down at 17 years old three weeks ago. Dementia, severe hip dysplasia, blind, deaf. It wasn't her anymore. She had so much pride, confidence, and happiness in her all the time. We just saw that go a week and a half before we put her down. Her demeanor changed to an "it's ok, guy's. I'll be alright." attitude and we knew it was time.

Our vet came over for the procedure. Our 5 year old was in school. We told him when he got home, Tasha wasn't going to be there anymore. She was going to heaven. He wrote her a card and asked us to make sure the angels take it to heaven with her.

As my husband sat on the floor he cradled Taj into his lap and I held her head and put my face right on her muzzle. As the doctor injected her I spoke to her telilng her it's ok and thank you so much for everything. As the final injection hit, I literally felt her last sigh out of her nose and the muscle twitch as if she was swallowing. And within 5 seconds she was limp.

Our son and my husband still cries for her. Deep inside I do too. But I've been around so much right to die choices and giving both parents w/in a year support and care that I'm numb. When the person (or dog) isn't the one you know anymore and it's beyond physical slowdown, you just know and are at peace letting them go. All you can do is thank them for the absolute wonderful life they shared with you.

There will never be another Taj (although dogs like this remind me sooooo much of her). And we have 2 other dogs who need our love. So again, all we can do is sadly sigh and go about our day with a little more emptiness in our lfie.
posted by stormpooper at 10:19 AM on February 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Sweet Jasper. I remember a lot of those pictures of that dog from years ago reading Lileks. Especially that beautiful one where he's lying in the sunlight. I really think dogs are the enlightened species patiently and forgivingly trying to teach us through example how to love the simple joys and be present.

I'm enjoying this loving thread too even though it's making me sob a little uncontrollably. When we spread our dog Hannah's ashes at the ocean years ago I was a horrible mess, her death was quick from cancer and heart failure and I was not ready to let go. My now husband and I were watching the waves of water and the light breeze gently take her ashes when some other dog, an elderly dog walking off ahead of it's human came over and just stood there with us. I looked at that stranger dog and he held my gaze. His or her eyes were so gentle and loving and I was drowning in them, so heartbroken.

Then as quickly as he appeared at our little waterside funeral the dog darted off back to his person and a big wave came and took the bulk of Hannah's ashes away soaking our feet in cool salt water. I know it's probably all in my crazy dog loving head but I really think the spirit of Hannah come over to say hi to me through that other older dog and by simple distraction asked me to let go of her physical ashes, see what a beautiful day it was here at the beach. I'm so lucky for the love dogs bring into my life.
posted by dog food sugar at 3:57 PM on February 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

That's just not good for me as I sit here with the 17.5 year old kitty who's been slowly fading over the past year.

I had a cat I loved desperately. His name was Schiller, and he was just a smidge over 20 when he finally declared that he was Done.

My heart hurts for you, knowing what is coming. But you've done good, friend. Your kitty knows it, and is glad for it. I wish you peace when that last Goodbye comes. We are never, ever ready for it.
posted by MissySedai at 8:16 PM on February 5, 2014

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