June 2, 1015: Jelly’s Last Run

I first set eyes on her in her little enclosure, backing up and charging, stopping just short of the window, then backing up and charging again. She was admittedly adorable. And tiny! So small I could have held her in my hand.

June 2, 1015: Jelly’s Last Run

But I didn’t want a dog. Dogs were, after all, a huge responsibility and, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m an incredibly irresponsible person. It would have made for a terrible match. But, as I wrote back in February of 2007:

“My reasons for not wanting a dog were numerous: the expense, the unappealing prospect of having to housebreak the little furball, the loss of freedom that comes with being a pet-owner, the necessary commitment to everything from walks to vet visits. On the other hand, her argument for getting a dog was equally compelling: she really wanted one. My sister had tipped her off to a pug for sale at a local pet shop and, after an animated discussion, I agreed to accompany her to the Alexis Nihon Plaza. It was, we agreed beforehand, to be nothing more than a fact-finding mission. There would be no dog purchases on this day. Absolutely, positively, no way! I had steeled myself mentally and was prepared to stick to my guns.

We brought the puppy home that afternoon and named her Jelly after Joe Vitelli’s character in Analyze This.”

June 2, 1015: Jelly’s Last Run

That first day, she was constantly on the move, racing around the living room, around chairs, under tables, bounding around the backyard. And then, when she finally stopped, I grew concerned. She was unusually lethargic which I deemed a significant change in her personality. “I think she’s sick!”I said, ready to whisk her to the vet. “She’s tired,”I was told. “It’s two a.m.!”

June 2, 1015: Jelly’s Last Run

I didn’t want a dog but, once I got her, Jelly became my life. I walked her and fed her and brought her to the vet when she was sick; soothed her and bathed and brought her to doggy daycare. When I got a job working on Stargate in Vancouver, she came with me of course, to the other side of the country where she eventually settled in quite nicely, running the corridors of the production offices with the other dogs, sitting on Richard Dean Anderson’s chest when he would lie down on the floor to accommodate her, on one memorable occasion swiping Michael Shanks’s tuna fish sandwich when he briefly set it down to grab a script. Over the years, she became a mainstay of sorts, perched imperiously atop the headrest of my office couch, presiding over the the action.

June 2, 1015: Jelly’s Last Run

In time, we became inseparable. We were the perfect match. Her – bossy, demanding, fickle, and temperamental. Me – a sucker for a cute little thing. In the 16+ years we were together, she was my longest relationship.

June 2, 1015: Jelly’s Last Run

When she slowed down in later years, I doted on her, carrying her up and down, in and out, when she could no longer do stairs. She would sleep beside me, sometimes awakening in the middle of the night, crying out in confusion – and I’d wake up, lay my hand on her back and that would be enough to comfort her and send her back to sleep. When her eyesight started to fail, I applied the topical gel, morning and night, to help restore her vision. When she stopped walking, I arranged for the stem cell treatment that returned the strength to her hind legs. I’m not a dancer by any stretch of the imagination but, whenever she’d feel sick or down, I’d sweep her off her paws and bound around the room with her in my arms until she seemed a little better – or threw me that bewildering “What the hell is going on?” look.

June 2, 1015: Jelly’s Last Run

There was no denying, she was well-loved. And strong. Akemi was convinced she’d live to be a hundred. Dog years anyway.

June 2, 1015: Jelly’s Last Run

But, sadly, time caught up with her. She stopped walking. She started sleeping through the days. And, once her appetite faded, I realized it was time to say goodbye.

June 2, 1015: Jelly’s Last Run

Jelly took her final car ride this afternoon in the style to which she had grown accustomed – lounging in her big pink fluffy bed. When the time came, I gave her a kiss on the nose (something she’d always shied from in the past, but I guess she figured that, after sixteen years, she would stop playing hard to get and give in just this once), she shut her eyes and drifted off.

June 2, 1015: Jelly’s Last Run

In time, I’ll pick up her ashes and place them on my night stand where she’ll resume her rightful place by my bedside.

June 2, 1015: Jelly’s Last Run

Akemi told me that, at one point today, Jelly drifted off into what seemed a happy dreamland, wagging her tail perhaps at some fond recollection. I like to think that, maybe, even if only in her mind, she was, no longer fettered by those heavy years, bounding around that backyard one last time.

June 2, 1015: Jelly’s Last Run

142 thoughts on “June 2, 1015: Jelly’s Last Run

  1. Max and Jelly are running together now…

    You’re a great doggy dad, Joe. Hugs for you and Akemi.

    And no, I’m not crying at work, why do you ask?

  2. Oh Joe so truly sorry. As I started reading your blog I realized what a wonderful dad you are to your fur babies. How lucky they are for having you and I am sure how lucky you are for them. Big hug to all of you

  3. Oh Joe…it was tough reading this blog with tears in my eyes blurring the words. My heart goes out to you and Akemi for your loss. I’m sure most of us would agree that we are lucky and honored to have seen and get to know Jelly via your blogs and twitter feeds. May Jelly rest in peace in doggy heaven.

    I fully understand the power of love for a beloved pet. Consider that you have 16 years of memories of Jelly that will always be with you…

  4. I lost my best friend of 15 years last week. They are a treasure, making life much more enjoyable.

  5. So sorry for your loss. But I am thrilled with the amount of love that she shared, both with you and your extended family, but with us, too. We enjoyed hearing about her and her incredible spirit. Even for those of us who never met her, she has brought joy.
    Peace, dear friend…

  6. I thought you had prepared us well for this, but, judging from my tears, I guess you can never prepare enough when you lose a loyal friend/family member. Thank you for sharing Jelly’s life with us. It was a privilege. Jelly could not have asked for a better home. Now Jelly, go find Maximus!

  7. Take comfort in the knowledge that you provided the absolute best life for Jelly and had the wisdom to know when it was time to make her life better by making it shorter. She will always be with you.

  8. What wonderful memories and thoughts about your girl! She’s now joined other very special friends who are all probably swapping stories of their well-, or not-so-well trained humans and still keeping watch. Thinking of you.

  9. I’m sorry! I write this with tears streaming down my face as my three dogs are running around like crazy but cases trying to greet me. Jelly was so loved Joe, she lived so much and was loved so much. That doesn’t take the pain away…there is nothing I can say…. Hugs

  10. Joe, I am so sorry. So beautifully written and a great send off to Jelly. I am typing this with tears running down my face. You and Akemi made Jelly’s life a happy one and I know that she appreciated that. She indeed lived a very full life. You have our heartfelt condolences. Praying for you and Akemi as you grieve Jelly’s loss in the days and months ahead. ((HUGS)) to the both of you. Barb

  11. Joe, I’m so sorry and sad to hear of Jelly’s passing. You have many wonderful memories that I hope will comfort you and Akemi. Hugs, Joan.

  12. Oh, Joe. I am so, so sorry. Thank you so much for such a beautiful write-up, too. I am sitting at my desk at work, in tears. Literally. Because I’ve been there and I know how hard it is to say goodbye to such a beloved pet.

    I think there are lots of us regulars that feel a certain attachment to your dogs simply because your love and devotion for them is so evident in just about everything you do. We all loved Max and Jelly and loved reading about them all the time. But that pales in comparison to how much and how wonderfully you loved and cared for them. Jelly had a wonderful life and touched many people’s hearts including many of us whom she never met. She hit the jackpot with you and I think she knew it. That’s probably why she lived such a long life, too. We will all miss her.

    My deepest sympathy to you and Akemi,

    -Mike A.

  13. Damn Joe… She is fortunate to have been paired with you in life. I don’t think anyone could have given her any more love & care than you did. She is also quite fortunate to have someone as gifted as you with words providing a fitting farewell.

  14. I am sitting in my kitchen, bawling. I read your blog every day and have since close to its beginning. You are such an amazing doggy parent. Jelly was so loved and I am sure she knew it. Big hugs to you and Akemi today.

  15. Oh Joe, I’m so very, very sorry. Your sweet tribute to Jelly is making it hard to type through the tears. My heart breaks for you. No pup could have been more loved and cherished than your best girl and I’m sure that’s why she stayed here as long as she could. I know you had a lot of years with Jelly, more than many of us get with our beloved fur babies, but it’s never, ever enough and that feels so unfair. I hope you will soon find comfort in the happy memories of the well-lived life you shared together. My deepest condolences and warm hugs to you and Akemi.

  16. I’m so very sorry Joseph. It broke my heart reading this. I’m just an observer, but if you can take any solace, know that you gave her a wonderful life…

  17. As a fan of your blog for many years and a faithful reader each day (don’t comment much though), it was clear how much you and Jelly loved each other. As fellow dog lover, I am so sorry for your and Akemi’s loss. Your blog was a wonderful tribute to Jelly.

  18. What a beautiful tribute. My heart feels so sad right now (yeah, there’s tears – especially after that last photo) but I feel so much better knowing that it was you that she has had as a companion all these years. She could not have asked for better and more loving care. She had a wonderful and long life that was full of love from everyone she knew. That’s a blessing to which many can only aspire.

    Even in the too brief time I met her last year, it was clear she really had a sweet spirit. And don’t tell Lulu and Bubba, but she quickly kind of became my favourite. 🙂

    I was reflecting today on how it’s been almost a year since my friends’ golden doodle Toby died from a previously undiscovered brain tumour. Even though he wasn’t “mine” (as if any animal can be owned), I really loved him and his death hit me very hard. And even though I’ve met Jelly, Lulu and Bubba for a short while, we’ve come to know them through your blog as family, just as we have you and Akemi. And like family, your joy and pain becomes ours.

    Be well, and know that I’m sending the best of thoughts (and hugs) your way.

    Here’s one of the pictures I took of her last year – what a great dog!

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v98/gforce2002/_DSC0552_zpsnk0jfsxz.jpg

  19. My heart is so heavy for you all right now. For a dog I have never met, her life and you and Akemi’s love for her have deeply touched my heart. I know we have all said it before but we mean it: If we ever die, we want to come back as a dog in your pack.

    And God asked the canine spirit
    “Are you ready to come home?”

    “Oh, yes, quite so,” replied the precious soul.
    “And as a dog, you know I am most able
    To decide anything for myself.”

    “Are you coming then?” asked God.
    “Soon,” replied the whiskered angel.
    “But I must come slowly
    My human friends are troubled
    For you see, they need me, quite certainly.”

    “But don’t they understand?” asked God,
    “That you will never leave them?
    That your souls are intertwined, for all eternity,
    That nothing is created or destroyed,
    It just is… forever and ever and ever?”

    “Eventually they will understand,” replied the dog,
    “For I will whisper in their hearts – that I am always with them
    I just am… forever and ever and ever.

    As much as I loved the life we had and all the times we played,
    I was so very tired and knew my time on earth would fade.
    I saw a wondrous image then of a place that’s trouble-free
    Where all of us can meet again to spend eternity.

    I saw the most beautiful rainbow, and on the other side
    Were meadows rich and beautiful — lush and green and wide!
    And running through the meadows as far as the eye could see
    Were dogs of every sort as healthy as could be!
    My own tired, failing body was fresh and healed and new
    And I wanted to go run with them, but I had something left to do.

    I needed to reach out to you, to tell you I’m alright
    That this place is truly wonderful, then a bright glow pierced the night.
    T’was the glow of many candles shining bright and strong and bold
    And I knew then that it held your love in its brilliant shades of gold.

    For although we may not be together in the way we used to be,
    We are still connected by a cord no eye can see.
    So whenever you need to find me, we’re never far apart
    If you look beyond the rainbow and listen with your heart.

    With our deepest sympathy.

  20. Joe, I’m genuinely really sorry to hear about Jelly’s passing. May she rest in peace 🙁

  21. Beautiful Joe….Just Beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing with us.
    Passing tissues to all ….

  22. I have never met your pups, but I felt like I knew them from your blog, daily , I am so sad to hear about Jelly. My heart and prayers are with you all. Thanks for sharing Jelly baby with us. She was much loved. I believe she is on the rainbow bridge watching.

  23. Joe and Jelly’s love story…a fitting tribute to a great friend. I am sorry for your loss.

  24. I’m very sorry Joe. We will all miss Jelly very much. This blog brought a tear to my eye. Love you guys. Take care.

  25. That was a beautiful remembrance of Jelly. To love and be loved by a special dog is one of the best and most magical human experiences possible. Thank you for sharing with us.

  26. So sorry about Jelly. I’m glad she got to spend her last days being treated like the princess she was, and in your loving care.

  27. Deepest sympathies. After 16 years I, too, kept a promise I made that my Harley would never be hungry, thirsty , or in pain. While I miss her terribly, I never regretted it for a second. We must put their relief above our pain. Eventually, that Jelly-sized hole in your heart will fill with only good memories

  28. So sorry for your loss. My husband and I made that trip in February with our dog Rudy. A beautifully written memorial, thank you for sharing it.

  29. 😥
    Beautiful. Just as she was and still is. Do you (or Carl) still have that framed photo of her and Carl? It says so much, about how much love she had for all people. Your very own baby girl. Sleep in peace, Jelly Princess. xoxo

  30. Joe–

    So sorry for your loss. Best wishes to you, Akemi, Bubba, Lulu, and all of Jelly’s very extended family.

    She had a great life with you. Thank you for sharing.

  31. Oh Joe… Even though we knew it was coming it doesn’t make it any easier. Jelly had an amazing life and was loved so much.

    My condolences to you, Akemi, Bubba and Lulu. What a beautiful tribute.

    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox
    Chev

  32. So sorry about Jelly! Being with your pet whom is family for that long is so tough. I put my cat down who i had for 15 years and was devistated. All you can do is think and say they are in a better place, healthy and having fun where ever they are.

  33. Oh no, so sorry to hear that. Take comfort in the fact that you and Akemi provided Jelly (and Maximus before her) as well as Bubba and Lulu, a great life.

  34. Joe, so sorry for the loss of Jelly. Dogs are so wonderful, because you can make a fool of yourself. Not only do they not care, but they are also likely to make a fool of themselves as well, just to make you feel good about yourself. Jelly and Max are waiting for you on the other side.

    @PBMom – such a lovely poem. Thanks for that.

  35. I said it when you wrote about Maximus’ last day, and I’ll say it again now: You’re a good dog owner, with nothing to regret regarding the care you gave Jelly.

  36. “It was, we agreed beforehand, to be nothing more than a fact-finding mission. There would be no dog purchases on this day. Absolutely, positively, no way! I had steeled myself mentally and was prepared to stick to my guns.

    We brought the puppy home that afternoon and named her Jelly…”

    That is so funny! Great memories.

    1. Yes that reminded me of “My Family and Other Animals” by Gerald Durrell. In that book it was about a house. The mother (I think) was adamant they weren’t moving into a particular house. Next chapter began with a description of the new house. Great memories.

      Chev

  37. I cannot thank you enough for sharing those thoughts. Though they brought tears they also brought so many memories of my pups that are no longer with me. Wonderful memories. And that is the way of things. To dwell on their passing does them such an immense disservice for they have given us so much pleasure, so much love their entire lives. That’s how I will remember all of my pack. I hope it will be the same for you. You’ve been beyond kind for sharing your doggie moments with us. I thank you for that. We can never have enough dogs in our lives and you’ve been kind enough to share yours with me.

  38. I’m so sorry Joe. I’m sure she knew that she was loved every day of her long life. I’m sending you and Akemi internet hugs.

  39. What a wonderful life you gave Jelly…what dog could wish for more? Beautiful memories is what makes life worth living, gives us connection to something greater then ourselves. So sad for your loss, but so happy you found each other.

  40. i’m so sorry, joe!! 🙁

    reading this blog entry made me cry. but you were with your baby at the passing, and something jelly was very aware of.

    jelly is free, and someday you’ll be reunited. ♥

    (((jelly and her family)))

  41. I am so sorry for your loss.
    Your odes to your dogs always make me cry and I know that they will help me make “that” decision in the near future about my mini schnauzer.
    If only everyone could be a wonderful and caring parent like you and Akemi.

  42. It looks like you provided Jelly with a wonderful life full of love and friendship. I still feel the pain of losing a furry kid a year ago this Sunday that left so many paw prints in my heart. I hope you find peace during this time with all of the happy memories you have of her. 🐾

  43. Dear Joe and Akemi,

    I’m so very sorry about Jelly. No matter how old…no matter how ill…it is so difficult to say that last good-bye. My thoughts are with you both.

    Stella

  44. So sorry for your loss. You are a wonderful doggy dad and do more for your furkids than anyone could ask. Jelly is undoubtedly romping with Max now like a pair of silly puppies.

    Hugs to you and Akemi, and to Bubba and Lulu.

  45. What a lovely little lady, I’m happy that she truly lived a wonderful life in a house full of love.

  46. So very sorry for your loss. Thank you so much for sharing such a personal story. It brought tears to my eyes and my family is now wondering why I am crying about a dog I never really knew! You and Jelly touched my heart.

  47. My condolences to you Joe and Akemi. I read your blog every evening and for the last few weeks I’d been dreading this…knowing all too well what the outcome would be.

    I lost my 14 year old fur-baby nearly 4 months ago and a piece of my soul went with him…Your tribute for Jelly was just so perfect. And I am crying so hard. I feel like I’ve lost my friend all over again.

  48. Please accept my condolences. I read your blog frequently and rarely post, but your eloquent description of your final moments together moved me. You have always been incredibly good to your animals and you are blessed with memories of your time together.

  49. ;( crying now, it is always the hardest decision that we have to make for our furbabies.

  50. I’m really sorry for you loss, Joe and Akemi. No matter how long we have, it’s never enough. She couldn’t have asked for a better family, though.

  51. sniff sniff, my heart feels for you. I had to do the same with my two labs so I know how the sadness is unbearable. But only for a while. Hang in there. Sorry for your loss.

  52. Joe and Akemi, I’m so, so sorry. This is just so sad. Your love and devotion to sweet Jelly gave her 16 wonderful years. She couldn’t have had a better dad. My thoughts are with you both, and Bubba and Lulu too.

  53. Sorry to hear that Joe, rest assured you gave her the best possible life and it was a long and good one…

  54. Very sad day, Joe. So sorry Jelly won’t be coming back, but above all, sad for you and Akemi. Words are not adequate. Very touching photo of Jelly with Max.

  55. I’m sobbing here, I feel we’ve all shared in Jelly’s loving journey with you over the years. It will be hard to get through it, We lost our family pet of 21 years a little while back now and no matter how much you know it’s coming you are never truly prepared, you just have to remember all the good times, especially those funny ones that only they can be a part of and allow yourself to cry when you miss her to much, she was a part of your family and you need to allow yourself to grieve. I’m so sorry for your loss, I hope Bubba is not to confused and upset at Jelly’s absence although they usually sense our pain and try to comfort us. Take care of each other and remember she’s no longer in any pain x

  56. G’day

    So very sorry for your loss.

    Jelly had the great life and the best parents.
    R.I.P. Jelly.

    Jelly, go and find Maximus and run, run like the wind.

  57. So sorry, Joe.
    She was so beautiful, and through your humorous recounting of her many tales brought much joy to those who follow you daily. Thank you for sharing pieces of her wonderful life with us. Jelly’s antics brightened many a gloomy day. 🙂
    Our prayers are w/ you.

  58. I’m sorry to hear about Jelly. Part of the privilege of having our furry children is enduring the pain of their loss. But every moment of heartache is worth the joy of having shared their lives.

  59. Just FYI, I did not write that poem. I found it online somewhere. I don’t know who the original author truly is.

  60. My deepest sympathies to you on the loss of Jelly. Knowing it was coming certainly doesn’t make it any easier. But that was a most beautiful tribute.

  61. I am so sorry for your loss of Jelly. I know how hard it is to lose what has become a member of your family. I have gone through this with 2 cats. Thank you for taking such good care of her.

  62. I’m so sorry 🙁 You loved her well and it sounds like she had a full and amazing life.

  63. Aw crap… I am so sorry about Jelly, even though you had gently given us a heads up that her time to say goodbye was near, it’s still hard to hear. She had a really good life and she definitely hit the jackpot when she got you as a puppy daddy… You and Akemi take care… and extra snuggles to the lovely Lulu and big bad Bubba…

    k

  64. Hey Jo, just wanted to send our deepest condolences over the loss of Jelly.

    I think only other dog owners truly know how hard it can be when our babies pass on.

    We are now dealing with both of our dogs being very sick…It is very tough.

    Hope your other dogs give you comfort…

    All the best,

    Peter Kelamis

  65. God bless, little dog. Joe, it has been a privilege getting to know all the family through this blog. The last photo of Jelly and Max together was lovely.

    Anna

  66. So sorry, she was adored, spoilt rotten and had a great life with you. I wish all pets had such a family.

  67. Oh dear, oh dear. I was out & about all day and just read this. Such a lovely and beautifully written tribute to Jelly. Please know so many prayers are lifted up for her, for you & Akemi and for her doggy buds, Bubba and Lulu. Jelly most certainly understood, enjoyed and returned your enduring love. Maximus is with her now…

    With my sincere condolences Joe.

    Carol

  68. Oh my Joe… I’m so very sorry. That was a beautiful tribute to Jelly and you & Akemi’s love for her. Prayers are with you all.

    Carol

  69. RIP Jelly…a Grand Dame of the canine world…my condolences to you both…thank you for those anecdotes of a life lived well…

  70. I am so sorry for your loss. I imagine Jelly somewhere green and beautiful, where she can run free, and they have unlimited ice cream cones.

  71. Joe and Akemi,
    I’m so sorry for your loss. I too keep bringing small creatures into my life with the knowledge that I’ll have to also face their loss at some time in the future but the love we have with them is so precious. You seemed to have had a lot of that with Jelly. <3

  72. So very sorry for your loss 🙁 I hope you can take comfort that you gave her a wonderful life. Jelly is with Max now and no doubt having tons of fun, getting in to trouble and eating plenty of ice cream.

  73. Joe, what a beautiful tribute you wrote for Jelly. I didn’t meet her but I was weeping too. I am so sorry for your loss.

  74. Sorry for the late reply – but I just wanted to say how sorry I am to hear about your loss. You gave Jelly a great life. Best wishes to you, Akemi, and your other pups

  75. I’m really sorry to hear that Joe. My thoughts and well-wishes are with you. Her spirit will continue to live on forever.

  76. I’m late replying. But I have to say, reading this when I first received it, I was inconsolable. It is just heartbreaking to have to go through this. I was reading it and just sobbing and my husband was upset thinking I was crying about Maggie. But I was crying about you guys. I know of course, because we’ve been going through it since a week prior to your sweet Jelly’s transition. The pain and love really do not go away. They give us many wonderful years (your Jelly for 17 years, and my Maggie for 20 years) and they give us unconditional love, devotion and companionship that is unrivaled. We have to remind ourselves that they give us so much, and that makes it so much harder to lose them.

    I’m really so sorry to hear about your sweet girl. In our case, it wasn’t planned to be this way because when we arranged for the kitten (Mhysa) in March, Maggie was fine. We had the new kitten already scheduled to arrive a day and a half later after Maggie left us. She is a whirlwind of kitten energy and into a lot of stuff, so I don’t have a lot of time to cry much, tho I’m doing it now.

    My best goes to you and to Akemi and to the rest of your gang. Hang in there.

  77. By the way, the part about her charging her enclosure? That is hysterical! Our Yellow Nape Amazon, Sophie, did that when I was bringing her home from the breeder in Ft. Myers, to our home in Key West. She’d get in the far back of the carrier and charge the door, as if that was all it would take to be free.

    11 years down the road, she’s turned out to be such an affectionate girl!

  78. Sorry to read about the closing of this chapter. Jelly could not have found a better home. Your dedication to her was shown to be greater than many. Thanks for sharing Jelly with people such as myself; your many postings of Jelly’s long life bought smiles and joy. Sympathies and best wishes to you and your family.

  79. I am so unbelievably sorry to hear about Jelly – my best to you, Akemi and the gang.She was a well loved girl. You might not have wanted a dog, but you certainly found a wonderful friend. I hadn’t been by in a while, but wanted to check in for Dark Matter, but I wasn’t expecting this. I lost my Jemi-girl this week after 15 years. It’s hard to find balance after having them for so long. I don’t doubt that Jelly was that happiest and most content she could have possibly been. I’ve been reading this blog a long time and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone love their pets the way you do. She’s with Max now, having all kinds of fun. All my love to you, Akemi, Bubba and Lulu.

  80. I am really sorry to hear about your furry friend. I really do not know what to say. In your writings she meant so much to you. Unfortunately they do not last as long as we want them to. While they are here, they make our lives a lot less lonely

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