… bringing with it the frigid temps of a Colorado winter. Fourteen inches of new snow have fallen since Thursday evening, blanketing the previously brown winter landscape. It is late Friday night and ice crystals still float in the air … whether wind-borne from the snow cornices drooping on the roof’s edge or falling from the low grey clouds, I cannot tell. The deepening silence and chill is fitting for contemplation and composition of tonight’s post …
Jackson came to rescue in 2009, a casualty of the down turn in the economy. His owner now worked two jobs and no longer had the time or funding to take care of him. Giving him up was very difficult as the owner had planned to begin training to make him a therapy dog.
Fostered by Michelle in Wellington, Jackson’s stint in rescue was a relatively short one. Linda first met Jackson at the Fort Collins Fire Hydrant 5 where we had a rescue/breed booth set up … and where she was immediately smitten with this little dog. Shortly thereafter, in May of 2009, Linda and Troy added Jackson to their family. As Jackson was such a nice little dog and didn’t know the word “stranger,” Linda took on the owner’s goal and they became certified as a therapy team. Linda later fostered Jasper for us and we got to see her and Jackson on numerous occasions as time went by. Jackson was one of those dogs whose face exuded joy. No matter the circumstance or the activity, he was a happy dog, his eyes a sparkle.
Linda called me from the veterinary teaching hospital at CSU on January 19th, advising that Jackson had awoke that morning, unable to walk or use his back legs. After evaluation and diagnostics by the vets, they were of the opinion Jackson had suffered a fibrocartilaginous embolism. While not rare per se, it is more commonly found in large dogs. Linda wrote later:
This was harder than I thought. Jackson was put to sleep on Thursday night. He had an autopsy at CSU and then cremated. He is still sitting on our counter and I’m not sure why? Anyway it was a FCE. An embolism. A piece of spinal cord broke off, traveled through a blood vessel and went back to the spine. By the time it lodged, much of the spinal cord had blown. Meaning, the paralysis would have eventually gone to the sternum and suffocated him. There was nothing to do. Pretty rare for a small dog, but the age group was right. He was filmed by CSU through all this is and will be immortalized by teaching vets about this. I’ve attached some photos of the boy. He was truly special and we are a little lost without him. We were honestly loved by Jackson.
As pet owners, we all know that life is transient with our beloved companions. We watch as the years tick off, collecting vignettes in time from which to draw upon for comfort when we have to let them go. However, I don’t think any of us can steel our hearts for the untimely loss of a healthy, young dog. Linda mentioned to me in a phone call how fitting it was that this therapy dog in life would — in death — go on to teach the healers among us.
Jackson’s cremains will be interred in the family plot at some point. For now, and for as long as it takes until that happens … he’s home. And I know, without a doubt, that this would have been Jackson’s last Will.
Godspeed, little one. It was an honor to have been a part of your life.