JILLI: 1998 - 2008
My girl was more than just a dog
Jilliana passed away at 4 a.m. Friday morning - - - falling victim to a huge systemic infection. We never saw it coming.
Why? Why my dog. She was only 10 years old in what we thought the picture of health.
When you lose your very best friend it is crushing and pushes you to the brink of devastation - - it is the worst feeling in the world.
I've lost my very best friend who gave me unconditional love, who always had a tail wag and a smile and one who always wanted to go out and play. What better friend is that?
She was smart, oh she was smart. Jilli did things most dogs could not. Fly ball. Agility racing. Licensed therapy dog.
She had a huge vocabulary. She understood:
Let's go in the garage.
Time for bed (and she grab a chew bone and head down the hall to the bedroom).
Where's the cat?
Go get the birdies! And Jilli would head out the door and chase any birds that happened to be in the yard.
I'd hide the ball anywhere in the house. Jilli would wait and on my command track the ball down - Find the ball! And Jilli would come running. She could find the ball within 20 seconds.
And rarely when she could not find the ball I'd point to the room it was in and say Find it! Find it! and she would know that she was in the right place.
Okay, go pee, pee. Jilli would go on command.
Okay, poo, poo for treats. And Jilli would take a try at taking a poo, poo knowing she'd get a treat for her effort.
Want to eat? And Jill would go nuts knowing it was dinner time.
Dawn's here! That would be our daughter who Jill had a special relationship with. Jilli would begin barking at the front door when I'd say Dawn's here.
Let's go ride in the truck! And Jill would head for the backdoor to the garage knowing she'd be doing one of her favorite things - riding with me.
Time to get dressed! Jill would know that it was time to put on her therapy dog uniform to visit assisted care facilities or hospitals. Jilli brought smiles and comfort to countless numbers people who were ill or dying.
Go find mommy! Find mommy! And Jill would race through the house to find the wife.
Kisses! Give daddy a kiss!! Jill would do that and then she'd hold back and not do that. There were times when she would turn her head away and not give a give. Really - turn her head away as if to say, No way, buster. No kisses today! I'd cradle Jill like a baby and ask for a kiss and she'd turn her head way far away. It was soooo funny.
Jilli filled up the house. It was alive. She was my constant companion who would follow me everywhere. And if she lost track of where I was she'd race from room to room looking for me.
Jill slept at the end of our bed under a blanket or sometimes I stacked pillows on top of her. She loved to be covered up when she slept. Jill would always have to sleep touching me. And she did keep my feet warm. If she got cold in the night Jill would come up and sleep next to my head knowing that I'd soon move her under the warmth of the blankets.
When I took to the computer to write this blog it was often one handed. Jill just had to sit on my lap with her chin on my left arm. This made for difficult writing but I loved the company and the warmth of my dog.
When I read or watched TV, Jilli had to be alongside of me in the recliner - - always on my right side - - - always, in between my leg and the arm of the recliner.
Jilli loved her tummy rubbed, her chin scratched and knew those words. Want your tummy rubbed? And she would roll on her side and lift one leg up. In her last hours and as sick as she was Jill still lifted her leg and wanted a comforting tummy rub. . .
And if I stopped rubbing or scratching her, Jilli would paw my arm to get my attention so I'd keep rubbing or scratching.
Jill could wave on command. She would sit and wave one paw in the air.
She could roll over. She could spin on command.
Jill would never let me leave without showing that she was not happy that I was leaving her home. Once at the door to leave and when it closed Jill would bark and bark , , , trying to get my attention and to say, "Take me with you . .. please!"
Jill could get cranky. She's growl/grumble when a thrown ball didn't go where it was supposed to and she had to change up on where she was running. It was if she was cursing - like in dog style cursing. She didn't like the ball ricocheting off the wall and bouncing back in the opposite direction - - - and she'd let us know that.
Dawn, the wife and I took turns being with Jilli during her illness in the hospital. We prayed. We thought good thoughts. We comforted Jilli. Told her stories. One of the hospital workers was singing in another room and Jilli, in all of her discomfort perked up to listen. Candace asked the worker if she wouldn't mind coming over to sing to our girl. The worker came and sang for Jilli the song Amazing Grace. . . .
We tried so hard to save our girl - we asked her Vet to think outside the box and do anything to save her. Watching Jilli fight the battle of her life and then losing it has left a permanent scar in hearts and minds Candace, Dawn and yours truly. It was a horrible experience but one none of us would have missed.
Wouldn't you want to be with a loved one so very, very sick? We were with Jilli until they kicked us out at 10 every night and there first thing in the morning. Jill was not alone.
There's lots more that I know I'm missing in my story about the best dog, the best friend in the whole world but the little that I have shared with you was to show you why this dog was not just a dog. Jilli was more than that. Jilli was one of us . . . a member of the family. And she was. Jill didn't associate with dogs but she tolerated them. Zoe was more of an inconvenience not the companion for Jill that we thought that she would be.
I've had a few dogs in my life and there will never be another Jill. She was one of a kind. Only one Jilli.
If you knew Jilli, and some of you do, you'd understand why I am so broken, so heartsick.
Life without my Jilli will never be the same.
Yesterday someone said that Jill is not gone but that she's just gone ahead and will be waiting for us at the Rainbow Bridge.
I just want my girl back. Instead on Monday I'll be getting a box with Jill's ashes in it.
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