It has been several months since Jimmydog Design lost our beloved dog Joey. We miss him every day. His best pal Freddie, Jimmydog’s chief canine officer, has been reflecting on how life has changed for our little pack since Joey’s passing. She shares her thoughts in this latest blog post.
Joey was a happy boy, always up for an adventure, always looking forward to what exciting thing might happen next. Maybe we’d go for a ride in the car or get to bark at the brown truck guy. Who knew? Even near the very end, when his body was failing fast, his tail would wag at the sight a bone or, even better, some petting and sweet words from our favorite people Stephanie and Todd Belcher, the very best people in the world.
As he prepared to cross over the Rainbow Bridge, Joey and I had some talks about what would happen when he was gone. He didn’t want to dwell on the negative—that wasn’t Joey’s style—but he did want to make sure that I was ready to take care of Stephanie and Todd all by myself. As his big sister, the one who found Stephanie and Todd first and who picked Joey from all the other dogs who could have lived with us, I was a wee bit offended. Of course, I could take care of Stephanie and Todd all by myself! But I let it slide. I knew Joey only wanted to make sure we’d all be OK.
Most of all, Joey didn’t want us to be sad. Joey wasn’t sad a day in his life—at least not any days after he came to live with us. I think we let him down on that one. We were really, really sad. Sometimes we’re still really, really sad, but we’ve learned that remembering Joey actually helps. We talk about the fun times the four of us had and think of all the silly things he did. Sometimes we look at old photos and the many portraits that Todd painted of us.
Life is definitely different now that we’re a trio instead of a quartet. I loved Joey with all my doggy heart but, as Joey knew better than anyone, things change and you have to find the good in any situation, even a situation you didn’t choose and definitely didn’t want.
The house is quieter now. Joey was our early-warning system, the first to bark at a potential—and, let’s face it, sometimes imagined—threat. I didn’t want to look like a slacker, so I barked right along with him, but now, as barker-in-charge, I save my alerts for critical situations. The house remains safe. There have been no invasions of brown truck or white truck guys—plus I get to catch up on my sleep. (I was always a better napper than Joey and, as an older girl, I really need my rest.)
Our daily walks have changed too. As Joey and I explained in past blogs, our habit had been to take Todd out for a walk in the park every morning as a reward for him getting some good painting done at the start of the day. But, as was the case with barking, Joey and I had different views on the proper way to walk. He favored a brisker pace, sometimes pulling Todd and me along with him. I’m more of an explorer. I once heard someone say that you should take time to stop and smell the flowers, and I took it to heart. Until you check it out, you never know which spaniel might have peed on that sunflower or what vile vole nibbled on the clover. These things demand investigation and, alone with Todd, I can study the terrain at my leisure.
As sole chief canine officer, I’ve also relaxed the household schedule. Joey liked to keep to a strict timetable: walk at 10:30 a.m., dinner at 4 p.m., bones at 7 p.m., but I’m a little more laid back. Stephanie and Todd now set out a lovely buffet for me each day so I can enjoy meals anytime, kind of like I’m on a cruise ship! Plus, I get all the treat bones to myself now! So decadent!
I haven’t told Stephanie and Todd this, but Joey and I still talk sometimes, mostly while I’m sleeping. Not long after he left us, Joey reminded me that he was the snuggler in the family and that, in his absence, I’d need to be more affectionate. I admit that I can be kind of catlike (gasp!) sometimes, less needy of petting than most dogs, but I’ve found that I like nuzzling up against my pack members and, in general, spending more time with them.
More recently, Joey gently nudged me to start patrolling the yard’s perimeter at least once a day. He was always in charge of security and, honestly, I thought maybe Stephanie or Todd had taken up that task, but I see Joey’s point. Stephanie and Todd’s senses—bless their hearts—aren’t sharp enough to be able to detect interlopers who have slipped under the fence. Sometimes they don’t even see the battalions of chipmunks marching boldly into the yard in a takeover attempt! And this was the point Joey made very clearly: Stephanie and Todd aren’t capable of leaving all-important scent warnings for potential intruders. That’s something only a dog can do. I have to admit, in all my years, I’ve never seen Todd lift a leg in the yard.
So, yes, things are different now. But as Joey himself would say: Life was perfect when we were a foursome. Life is perfect, too, as a threesome.
Yours in dogness,