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How’s Jack Doing?

Many of you know that Arleah and I had a yellow lab died unexpectedly and inexplicably about a month ago.  She (Jill) was the soulmate and constant companion of our black lab (Jack). She was the sweetest dog we’ve ever had and would make friends with anyone – dog or person.  We’ve been trying to find out what killed her, and so far, no one we’ve consulted with –  vets and breeders, has a clue.  We had an autopsy done, and nothing showed up that would provide an explanation.  Her death has been a gut wrenching loss, made worse by the absence of any explanation of what happened.

How has Jack dealt with her death?  It depends on the day.  Some days he seems okay and his eyes say that he’d like to get out and run – something that he loved to do with Jill.  Watching them run together, with total abandon, was almost a spiritual experience.  They clearly relished the freedom and the exploration.  He still loves to run, but not with the enthusiasm he had with Jill

The last few weeks he has begun to voice his grief and loss.  He goes out in the back of our property, where he and Jill spent much time; puts back his head and howls.  I can not put in words how his howling penetrates every bone in my body.  We have been around wolves, and Jack’s howls have a different feeling and sound.  It is mournful and painful, and comes from the bowels of his grief.  If it had words, I have no doubt that it would say – “Jill come back.”  It is impossible for me to hear his sounds, without it touching me at the depths of my grief.  

Jack is beginning to show some of the symptoms that Jill had, although at the time we had no idea of what they meant.  We are preparing ourselves to find him dead one day, and have resolved to enjoy every day we have with him.

4 Responses

  1. The story brings chills to me for Jack’s pain. Animals are so human. They’re like little people only smarter. I’m going to re-read this tonight Morrie as far as losing Jill I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Morris animal foundation, but they have a study going about labs and cancer and apparently labs die of cancer quite often. It’s worth knowing about the Morris animal foundation. I respect them. Hug that beautiful black dog for me and thank you for sharing.

    1. Sandi Jo: Thanks very much for your kind thoughts. Arleah and I have lost a child, and the loss of Jill has impacted us with the same poignancy and power. At this point of our life, we have bonded with our dogs in a way that is as close to that as children. I appreciate your reference to the Morris Foundation. Most of the Labs we have had over almost 40 years have died of cancer, so I hope that the foundation can discover something that can change that. Again, thanks much for your words. Take care.

  2. Hey Morrie… Reading this post is so hard for me knowing how you and Arleah love our four legged friends that are so loyal, loving and devoted to their masters… this is hard for all…

    My heart and prayers are focused on your loss and the agony Jack endures…

    I believe a dog’s heart is always given to his/her master, but never leaves his/her soul mate…

    God bless Jack and Jill…

    And God bless you and Arleah…

    1. Jim, so very good to hear from you. And I really appreciate your message about our loss. I know how deeply you feel about dogs and the role they play in our lives. I often think about all the work we did together, and the impact you had on our clients. I often use your statement about relationships – “24 hours a day, you’re either connecting or protecting.” From everything I see on the internet, it looks like your boys are doing well. I can’t remember if I’ve asked you to take a look at my new website: morrieshechtman.com and give me your feedback. Take care of yourself, and let’s stay in touch.
      Morrie

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