Suzy Says
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In Memoriam
May 28th, 2007 by suzy in Uncategorized

My brother and his Jed, Christmas Eve, 1993

Fourteen years ago, my brother fell in love.

Like many great loves, his was both unexpected and head over heels. He took one look and never looked back.

It was Christmas Eve. Our father and stepmother were visiting from England (their custom was to celebrate Christmas in England one year and in California the next) and had rented a house in Mendocino big enough for the whole passel of us. Dad and I were making dinner, and Jonathan went to town to pick up a few last-minute items. When he came back, he came into the kitchen and said, “Guess what I did?’

Dad and I said, “You wrecked the rental car.” This made no sense, since Jonathan is a speedy, yet excellent driver. In answer to our unjustified accusation, he reached under his sweater and brought out the cutest puppy I had ever seen. For once, I was actually deprived of speech, as I gasped and grabbed for the little bundle of black-spotted, white fur. Dad got there first, though. Dinner was forgotten as we welcomed Jed to the family.

She was the best Christmas gift ever.

It turned out that while Jonathan was running errands, he stopped by what he calls “the pity pit”, which is the local Humane Society displaying pets up for adoption near the main street of the town. He took one look at Jed, and their lives changed forever.

My brother trained Jed carefully and thoroughly. His belief is that a well-behaved dog, like a well-behaved child, can be taken anywhere, but it takes consistent discipline to achieve that goal. People used to tell him he was too hard on Jed, but he wasn’t. He made it possible to take her with him anywhere he went. When he was still a carpenter, she’d go with him to the construction site, and never got in the way. (Once he left his lunch in the truck with her and she didn’t eat it.) My brother is a volunteer fireman, and Jed went with him on every call. He also teaches science, and Jed goes with him to school. It’s hard to know who the kids love more: Jed or Jonathan.

The training was part of it, but there was also her Jedness that made her so special. She grew up to be beautiful, a queenly, fun-loving tomboy. She always jumped on me with joy when I came to visit – the one “bad” habit my brother couldn’t break her of – and one of the great pleasures of visiting was sleeping with Jed the first night I got there. She’d cuddle up to me and I’d have the best sleep with her, loving and reassuring, beside me.

Awake, she’d chase the ball until your arm was about ready to fall off. When my brother moved from his former house to his current one, Jed went into the woods and retrieved her tennis balls, piling them up by his truck as if to say, “If you’re bringing your stuff, I’m bringing mine.” He took her camping, winter and summer, Jed proudly carrying her little backpack full of her own food – that dog pulled her own weight. She loved to swim, and we’d take her to the river, throw the ball, and she’d bring it back. Even in old age, she could out-swim much younger dogs, and she had fun every day of her life.

That happy life ended yesterday. Jed was surrounded by her loved ones and left us peacefully. We were lucky to have known her, from her puppyhood to her adulthood. She is always loved, always remembered, a once in a lifetime friend and companion.

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