Next in Line

Five weeks ago my family lost our pug, named Jack. He was over 16 years old, and was more than a member of our family. He had always been my best friend, and over the years I truly counted on him. He never let me down, and I will always be grateful.

I am now divorced but only 4 years out, so most of my time was spent either with my wife or out on my own. I got my first dog, Chloe when I was just 19 years old. Chloe was an amazing dog, everybody had a Chloe story. After I got Chloe, I waited five years and then got a second dog. No serious girls planned for my life, I was busy building  a beach house, and got my second dog, Simon. For the next 18 months, it was just the three of us. I loved them and I spent all my time with them when I was not working.

Then I met the girl I would marry. She had no pets, and she wasn’t an animal lover. We hit it off but I told her I am a package deal.  One night I brought my two terriers over, and they ran all over her house. She pretended all was fine, but I knew she wasn’t okay. She grew to love Chloe and Simon, just like she did me. They became our dogs, and she loved them dearly. Six weeks before our wedding, we are at the vet with Chloe and Simon. All of a sudden there was a bunch of noise, a basket full of baby pugs had just come in. I walked up to the basket, and asked the man if I could hold this specific one. He said yes, and I picked up Jack for the first time. He snuggled into my neck, it was love at first meeting. I went to bring him over to my wife to be, she said, “No!” and I put him onto her neck. Next thing you know we find out he is available and getting his last shots. We dash to the bank to get the 1500 dollars and race back to the breeders.

So that was our life with the dogs. Chloe 6, Simon 2, and Jack the pug just a baby. He got Jack six weeks before we were getting married. The timing was a tad off. Chloe ruled the boys, as all female alphas do. She corrected them when they were bad, and was the ring leader most of the time.

Our life changed with the birth of daughter. We were more concerned how the dogs would adjust to the baby. They all worked out beautifully, Chloe was 10, and I asked to live long enough for my daughter to remember her.

We lived a great life with our daughter and our three dogs. Chloe and Simon were both terriers and spent their time together. Jack was always on his own. He was the pug, and the best dog ever. He didn’t have an ounce of guile,  never growled, never bit, never asked for anything. He was completely a confident. I took sick when Jack was like nine, and he never once left my side for months. He didn’t leave to eat, he didn’t live for anything. He stayed with me the entire time.

Chloe was so special, and she lived to be 17, and we had to  put her down. Bella remembered her and I couldn’t have asked her for more.  Simon was lost. He didn’t know the world  without Chloe. Simon and Jack never got any closer. Jack was always his own pug. Unfortunately 2 years after Chloe’s death, Simon took ill with a brain tumor, and we needed to put him down.

That left just Jack the pug. We talked about getting another dog. We wanted a female, a black pug, we wanted to name Julia Bleu. We found a breeder, put down money for pick of the litter, and prayed there would be a black female. Two black pugs can have all tan babies.  On April 2, 2011, we got the call the puppies had been born. Two days later my daughter and I drove over an hour to the breeder’s to see the 6 puppies. There were three black ones. Two girls and a male. We looked at them and held them but at two days old you really cant tell much. My daughter Bella and I settled on the smaller black female. The breeder put a red tie around her neck so they would know and they immediately called her Julia Bleu. Every Saturday until we could bring her home, Bella and I drove to the breeders and played with Julia Bleu. She was very fond of Bella’s long hair.

On May 29, 1 week early because the mom was having problems we picked up wily Julia Bleu. We took her straight to the vet even though she had been checked out by the breeders vet. She was perfect, but wild, crazy, and did not ever stop moving, We got her home and poor Jack’s life was turned upside down. At the same time, my wife and I we nearing the end of our marriage, sadly. She thought Julia Bleu was a terror and I was in charge of her, We have been inseparable for 5 years.

On July 17, 2011 I left our house with Julia Bleu and a knapsack. I spoke to Jack, and asked him to please take care of my Bella and also my ex-wife. We would all meet up in the morning at the suite I was going to stay at with tiny, crazy, naughty, but oh so freaking cute Julia Bleu.

She has given me a run for my money for sure. Because Jack was so amazing and so good, Julia Bleu had some pretty big paws to fill.  She was definitely an alpha

We had no idea if Julia Bleu would be special like Chloe or Jack. It takes them until they reach 5 years old to mellow out and for their personality to really show itself. She is and has been completely loyal to me always. I am her’s and she is mine. Sadly 5 weeks ago, Jack who was 16 plus years old, was at the kennel because I got hurt and needed surgeries and my ex-wife and daughter were still going to Europe without me. I got a call from Europe on a Wednesday. Jack was not doing so well at the kennel. I had leg surgery scheduled for the next day, so I couldn’t deal with anything until after that. They just thought he wasn’t eating well.

Thursday night after my surgery I got a frantic call from Europe. Jack was not good, I needed to take him to the vet on Friday, and then bring him back to the kennel. I picked Jack up and I knew it wasn’t good. He was too stressed out. He was both blind and deaf, but he could smell, so he smelled me and it began to calm him down. We got him to the vet, and I knew although I had different levels all through my house, I needed to keep Jack. I called Europe and told my ex-wife. She told me, don’t take him back to the kennel, take him with you he loves and knows it is you. The vet was unsure he would make it through the night.

We got home and Julia Bleu was different. Usually she was all over Jack but she sensed something was wrong. Julia Bleu stayed with Jack, and did not come up on the bed with us that night. Jack seemed better we just needed to get the house proofed for him. Julia Bleu was different. To make a long story short, Jack had a great day and was so much better than the night before. Took them outside after dinner and had fun in the grass and in the sunshine. Brought them in and Jack’s bed was right beside my computer. I got him settled, and spent a couple minutes on the computer, all the while petting him gently. All of a sudden I realized, that without a sound, or movement Jack had died. I will spare the details but my heart has never been so broken. I stayed with Jack all through the night and Julia Bleu was calm, and for the first time she wore a worried look. She could smell death of course.

After taking care of Jack the next morning, I was in shock and I noticed Julia Bleu was not eating, Two days went by and she still hadn’t eaten. She was still mellow and very close to me the entire time. I took Julia Bleu to the vets just to be checked out. She was grieving for sure, but the vet found a growth on her. He tested it and it came back cancerous. Julia Bleu needed emergency surgery the next day. I was devastated Julia Bleu had changed, she was going to be another special member of our family. We got through the surgery and the  tumor had to be sent out to be staged. Hopefully at 5 yrs it would only be a 1 and she would be fine. Days went by, and I appreciated my little black pug more and more. We got the results it was stage 2,which still was okay. Julia Bleu was going to be okay.

I am happy to say, Julia Bleu as taken her place as the head of our family. She has truly grown up overnight, and been a constant support of unconditional love and loyalty.

. Thank you Julia Bleu, I thought you were special, but you have proven to be out of this world. I would be lost without you.