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Old November 8th, 2011, 10:25 AM
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luckypenny luckypenny is offline
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You may have remembered her as Jasmine the Brittany Spaniel, our very special foster girl from 2 1/2 years ago ( http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?p=801985 ). I have no words to describe our heartache...and our wonder in how animals change our lives, unexpectedly and in the most profound ways. I'm convinced it was fate that she came into our lives so that her mom could come into her's. I love them both with all my heart. With her permission, I wanted to share her mom's words with you.

The recent board updates are preventing me from uploading photos but, I'll do so as soon as it's possible.

Au Revoir…

November 5, 2011 by lilypiper

I started this blog to help me dream bigger dreams and expand the margins of my life. To be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what I really love. This week though I want to retreat, and am wondering if my heart is up for this. Maybe I should reconsider my commitment to living my life wide and deep. Because what I am remembering is how excruciatingly painful it can be.

This week I lost my beloved dog, Jasper. Her death was tragic and unexpected and shocking. In addition to wading through my grief for her, the experience is bringing up the BIG questions. The ones that are constantly weighing on me, the ones I quest to answer, and sometimes have moments of reprieve from trying to answer. The ones that remind me how small, and vulnerable and mortal we all are. How my life is temporary and fleeting. Am I living it right? Have I contributed enough? Am I truly fulfilled? The questions are loud and clear and I have no answers or answers that are dissatisfying.

I was reluctant to write this. No, I was reluctant to share this. Writing is my tool for gaining clarity, so I always write. But something in me hesitates to share this. Some of it is ‘do people care to know this’. Maybe not. But if you don’t I figure you’ll click onto something else. So be it. I am recognizing though that there is a larger part of me that desires to put only the positive and happy elements of my life out there. That somehow an inspired life equates to constant happiness. I realize now that is not a real life. That is a fairy tale. An authentic life is what I am creating. I know that is what I want and I know it comes at a price. It means feeling it all. Which quite simply…sucks. And if I don’t share this, I know I will shrink, hide, and defeat my personal objectives. So this is my attempt at fumbling through this excruciating pain and loss.

The past few days have led me back to some practices that have served me well in other healing processes. One of them is to meditate, quiet the mind to allow me to take a long view of life, and let something else come forward. When I did this for Jasper, joy, gratitude, laughter, tremendous love and peace showed up. What also came forward was the need to acknowledge and honour all that Jasper has brought to my life. In her short life with me she taught me well and taught me much. Some of the lessons I have learned from her:

* We are more than our circumstances- Jasper suffered a lot in her life before she came to me. When I first met her, she cowered constantly in fear, shook all the time, didn’t trust humans, and expected abuse and suffering. She didn’t know how to walk on leash, play, and accept love and affection. I had seen a picture of Jasper and knew nothing about her. For six months, I thought of her constantly, revisited her picture, tried to get my head around whether or not this was the time in my life to get a dog. She called to me. Finally, I decided to respond to this call and meet her. When I met her in her foster home, I learned about her past and was asked about how I felt about her fear and behavior. It was in that moment I saw her and knew her behavior was not the sum of who she was. She was not fear, intimidated, anxiety. Those were behaviors. Those were due to her circumstances. She was much more than that. Jasper taught me to look behind the surface, take the time to differentiate between circumstance and who others truly are.
* Trust- I remember the exact moment when Jasper first trusted me. To get her on leash I would need to lure her to her crate with food and once in there, put her on leash. I remember the first time she saw me get the leash and she didn’t move to hide in her crate. Instead, she sat quietly, shaking in terror but letting me approach her to put the leash on. My heart almost exploded from pride in her that day. I also remember the first time she came to the door when I called her to put her leash on. She didn’t bound to me, she slinked along the walls of the halls, shyly, shaking and stopped about 5 feet away from me. She summoned all her courage and trusted me enough to meet me half way. Jasper taught me that trust is an act of courage, yields powerful results and a privilege once bestowed.
* Intention matters- When Jasper came into my life, I was at a particularly challenging point in my career. Not because of workload but because of the volatility of some of the people I was surrounded by. I would come home from work in a variety of emotional states and I learned very quickly what I brought through the door of my home effected every living thing inside it. I would not slam doors or raise my voice or anything like that; I just carried all this negative experience with me. I was short, agitated, and angry inside. I thought as long as I contained it that would be enough. Jasper’s reactions became a mirror for my own internal dialogue and behavior. I learned very quickly I couldn’t fake it and expect her to be okay. I had to be okay. So I learned ways to clear my energy and let go before I walked through the door. I learned setting the intention of what I wanted to create in my home and my relationships every day was critical. Jasper taught me intentions matter as much as action. She also taught me how to separate my work life from the rest of my life. That has been a saving grace.
* Allowing – When Jasper came into my life, I had not had a dog in my life for a very long time. I was also not in a relationship, nor did I have kids. My world was my own. My actions and decisions required no consideration of others. I did what I wanted to do. My world was for the most part, all about me. In the very early weeks, Jasper and I struggled. A lot. One of the things that I hadn’t expected and was struggling with was having to meet someone else’s needs, and the realization that this little being had her own ideas and behaved accordingly. And rarely did she behave according to my expectations or needs. In the early days, Jasper would walk maybe 10 feet from the house, then 20, and then eventually half way down the block. But inevitably somewhere along the walk she would freeze. Full on stop, paralyzed by fear. It could have been the garbage can, or the car that drove too fast. I never knew what would trigger her fear but her response exasperated me. I couldn’t get her to move and I was going to be late for work. And I didn’t want to trigger that volatility. One day, completely impatient, I picked her up and carried her home. Her legs were outstretched, paralyzed, and she was terrified. I thought she might actually have a heart attack. When I got home and reflected on my behavior and realized how scared she must have been to have me brutally pick her up and force a response on her, I was ashamed. I had committed to not be the source of her fear and I broke that commitment. I realized then that this was her experience too. Not just mine. The world in fact didn’t revolve solely around my needs and expectations. Jasper taught me to be aware of the needs of others and to create the space for them.
* Acceptance- In my revelation that Jasper had her own needs and experience, what followed was a wonderful synergy, a new found co-existence between us. When I allowed her the space to need what she needed, I also realized she didn’t need fixing. She was perfect just the way she was. What she needed was an environment that was different than before. That’s what needed to be fixed. She needed consistency, leadership and affection. She needed an environment where she could be exactly who she was. Jasper taught me to shift my perspective from needing to fix or change things, to a view of creating enabling environments, creating possibilities. Her unconditional acceptance of who I am, flaws and all, is a lesson I am still trying to internalize. I will be forever grateful for knowing what unconditional acceptance feels like.
* Quality of life – with Jasper’s arrival I was forced to prioritize work to meet her needs. Beyond the physical needs she had deep emotional needs. My attempt to prioritize became a contentious issue for me in the workplace. But it forced me to take a side, and the side I chose was for my quality of life. Jasper taught me to expect more from my days, to slow down, to breathe. She taught me to fall in love with mornings, and to laugh and to hope. She taught me to be more patient with myself and to find joy. She taught me to find beauty in ordinary days.

As she did in life, her death is also teaching me. I am learning the power of ritual. I have lost beloved pets before and I was never there for them in their final moments. I never commemorated their deaths; I never gave them a final resting place. The woman who has been boarding Jasper, a dear friend of mine, asked me what I wanted to do with her body and I was forced to confront the inevitable reality. We decided that Jasper would be laid to rest on my friend’s farm in her favorite spot under her favorite tree. When they laid her to rest they each said their farewell, and even though I could not be physically present, I was included. My friend read words from me to Jasper. They kissed her sweet face one more time for me. They will also plant an oak tree in her honor. I chose the oak tree because it is magnificent and symbolizes strength and courage- all the things Jazzy was.A huge hole has been created in my heart with her passing, and these rituals have comforted me. I believe in their power to release her and wish her well on the next part of her journey.

So this is where I am. Somewhere between waves of grief, gratitude and peace. I don’t know why she had to leave at this point in time, but my heart wants to believe it unfolded as it should. I have to trust that someday I may know the lesson. I believe her work was complete. I also think heaven must be in need of some silliness and a whole lot of sweetness. Rest in peace my sweet sweet girl. You are loved and supported on your journey, wherever you may be. I will always carry you in my heart.

"Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance." -Will Durant

Last edited by luckypenny; November 8th, 2011 at 10:37 AM.
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Old November 8th, 2011, 11:36 AM
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Love4himies Love4himies is offline
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Awww, LP, I am so sorry . I will never forget that sweet face of hers

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Jasper RIP (2001-2018)
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Old November 8th, 2011, 12:57 PM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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I'm so sorry, LP And how hard it must be for Jasper's mom to be abroad at such a time. She's in my thoughts and prayers. Jasper is whole now, healed and happy, waiting for her mom at the Bridge.

"We are--each of us--dying; it's how we live in the meantime that makes the difference."

"It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived!"

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Old November 8th, 2011, 10:45 PM
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growler~GateKeeper growler~GateKeeper is offline
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sweet Jazzy She is playing at the Rainbow Bridge with those who've gone before
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do

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Old November 10th, 2011, 04:16 PM
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Dog Dancer Dog Dancer is offline
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Luckypenny, I'm so sorry to hear of Jasper passing away. How very sad that his mom was away at the time. Condolences to all who shared in his life. Run free at the Bridge Jasper.
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Old November 10th, 2011, 05:00 PM
BenMax BenMax is offline
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My sincere condolences to Jasper's mom.
Interesting how a dog can change a human life so profoundly.
RIP Jasper.
Strength and Peace to Jasper's guardian.
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Old November 10th, 2011, 08:43 PM
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Winston Winston is offline
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LP my condolences. I know she had a special spot in your heart.
May Jazzy RIP. I am sure she is off chasing the birds and free of all pain. You are all in my thoughts.

RIP sweet girl
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Bomber April 10, 1995 - July 12, 2010
Winston Nov 15, 1999 - September 15, 2011
Sophie Aug 30, 2011

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 07:42 AM
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mastifflover mastifflover is offline
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LP I am so sorry, I am glad you followed your heart and gave her a chance. You changed her life and she yours it was obviously meant for you two to be together. You gave her a happy life and she learned what love is. I am sure she will always be your guardian angel. RIP Jazzy I'm glad you learned love, joy and trust. Hugs LP
A dog has so many friends because they wag their tails not their tongues.
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 07:58 AM
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Melinda Melinda is offline
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don't know how I missed this, R.I.P. Jazzy, know you were and are loved.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 12:41 AM
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TeriM TeriM is offline
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I'm so sorry LP. I know that you really loved her . Hugs to her mom as well .
"Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 09:45 AM
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marko marko is offline
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Sorry i missed this as well
sweet Jasper

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Old November 23rd, 2011, 09:14 PM
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Dee-O-Gee Dee-O-Gee is offline
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Beautiful words and life experiences by Lilypiper. Such a touching story.

Very sorry to hear of Jasper's passing LP.

Sweet Jasper
A dog wags his tail with his heart
Dogs have Masters--Cats have Staff

Rest in Peace Bailey: 12/10/95-1/9/09 (Golden Retriever)
Rest in Peace Kitty: 7/1/2000 - 10/7/2013
Rest in Peace Gryphon (sounds like Griffin): 10/15/2004 - 11/18/2017 (English Springer Spaniel)
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Old November 24th, 2011, 08:21 AM
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14+kitties 14+kitties is offline
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I'm so sorry LP. I just saw this now.
Jasper. You were well loved by two very special women.
to you mf for all you do.
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We can stick our heads in the sand for only so long before it starts choking us. Face it folks. The pet population is bad ALL OVER THE WORLD!
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