Click the picture to see photos of Jaspy. Scroll down to read a bit of his story.
I am very sad to let you all know that our beloved dog, Jasper, my constant companion for almost 14 years, died on Monday, October 23, 2006. I’ll probably be updating his photo album for a while as we discover more and more old photos on ancient hard drives and in boxes of non-digital photos.
Jasper was a wonderful dog who very much enriched my life, Dan’s, and those of all his friends, human or canine. He really did not have any feline friends as most of his involvement with them involved them running for dear life and him following very enthusiastically. That was pretty much his relationship with deer and elk, too. In his later years, Jasper gave up his beloved snow and moved to Arizona. There, he gave up big game to chase birds, protecting the bougainvillea whose dead branches he was busy importing into the house attached to various parts of his body.
My late ex-husband, Ron, didn’t want to get another dog after Gretel died. He said we worked too much to have time for a dog. I said that there were so many dogs without homes that any dog would be happy to have a good home with us and our yard to patrol. When he was away on a business trip, I went to see my friend, Frances, and brought Jasper home with me. Ron came home from his trip early and surprised me at home. He thought the growling coming from my studio was a strange sound and entered the room to fall instantly in love with Jasper. I was hanging on to the dog by his ruff because he didn’t even have a collar yet and I had no idea who was entering the house! He was a thick-coated, scared little guy who looked like a heraldic lion. Whoever would have thought that this funny little Cocker Spaniel/Golden Retriever mixed breed dog would grow to be so beautiful?
Jasper was a stray that followed a friend’s husband home from jogging one day. They already had 7 dogs and he really wanted to be an only dog. I needed a dog, so Frances and Mike gave Jasper to me. He had a coat so thick that you couldn’t dig your fingers through it to find skin. After all, he’d just lived through the coldest winter in Ohio history living in the woods and then in an outdoor dog crate insulated with bales of straw on Frances’ porch. The first time I saw him, he saw me looking at him, flattened himself on the ground and piddled. He was terrified of men, especially. I wondered what I was getting myself into, but took the dog crate Frances offered and loaded them both into my Trooper. In the next twenty miles, he proceeded to throw up about three times. I took him to my mother-in-law’s house, cleaned the crate and the car, cleaned up the dog, and laid on the floor with him for a couple of hours, chatting with Hilda and soothing the dog by talking to him softly and stroking his fur while he laid stretched out against me on the floor. By the time we left, we were thoroughly bonded and I was smart enough not to put him back in the dog crate for the rest of the ride home.
Despite that first experience, Jasper turned out to be a great car traveler. He loved getting into the Jeep and going anywhere with me. When we moved from Dayton, Ohio to Bailey, Colorado, every half hour or so as we drove across the country he stood up in the back seat and draped his head over my shoulder. He’d give me a sniff in the ear and a lick on the cheek, or just rest his chin on my shoulder for a minute, so I’d know he was always there for me. And he was. When we moved from Bailey to Phoenix, he climbed up into the U-Haul truck and spent most of the trip between my feet on the floor.
Jasper devoted his life to guarding me. He always slept between me and the door. When I worked at home, he was at my feet. When I watched TV, he made sure to lie near the door but also close enough to the TV that I’d be able to look at my beautiful dog whenever I needed to. If someone came near, he stood between them and me and barked. Until they got too close and scared him. Then he stood behind me, peeking out from between my knees, still letting them know in no uncertain terms that his mommy was going to stop them. Despite his busy schedule as the king of Crow Hill in Bailey, Colorado, I was the #1 undisputed center of his existence. When my ex-husband, Ron, was packing his truck to leave after coming to Colorado to visit us, Jasper determinedly got into Ron’s truck and refused to get out. When I told him that I wasn’t going, he got out of the truck and sat at my feet to say good bye to Ron.
Jaspy – or Mr. Dapper Dog, a name he got from his favorite little girl, Anna, who couldn’t pronounce her Js and Ss properly when she was tiny - had to give up his mountain-top lifestyle to move to Arizona with me. He had especially loved snow and would rather go outside to eat snow than to drink water out of his bowl. In fact, he would curl up into a tiny ball in the spring to lay in the last patch of snow until it melted or he ate it all! He was protective of those he loved. He went after a bigger dog who ran up to Anna too fast, and again, when the dog went over to his little friend, Tinker, a Maltese, and Jaspy’s best pal, he had the other dog flipped over on her back begging for mercy. When he was older, he was attacked by a pit bull, which embarrassed him a lot. It took him a long time to get over that. Though I’m sure his attitude would have been different if the kids and the little dogs had been outside at the time. It took him a long time to get over the time the groomer shaved all his hair off too. He was a sensitive guy.
He made a few new friends here in Arizona, but mostly he relaxed and devoted his life to making sure that Dan and I always were welcomed home enthusiastically. He enjoyed having two humans to fuss over him. He could be such a nutty dog. He liked to bounce around the house, especially if we chased him or let him chase us. After the vet put him on Rimadyl, he bounced around again. When he lost his hearing, the high-pitched squeal of the burglar alarm let him know that mommy was home. And if I wasn’t, he whined until I got home! We miss him a lot. He was the best dog that ever was.
For the last couple of years, I’ve half-jokingly said that I hold my breath every time I come in the door. On Monday night, it wasn’t a joke any more. He had a good, long life and I’m glad that I was able to make it the best dog’s life that I could. He went from being an unwanted, abused stray who had probably been dumped in the rural Ohio countryside, to being a pampered dog who was loved by everyone who ever met him. We certainly loved him and we know that many of you did too.