Reincarnation of Jessie…



My first Chow Chow was a frail little girl who I rescued from a puppy mill.  Puppy mills are the scourge of the pet industry.   Imagine walking onto a farm with cages and pens as far as the eye can see.  The sound of hundreds of dogs barking at the prospect of freedom is almost deafening.  Each pen represented a different breed with dogs piled upon each other trying to get noticed.  The lack of compassion missing from this farm is heartbreaking.  I want to save them all, I know I can’t.


I have my heart set on a Chow Chow.  The Chow is an interesting breed known for great loyalty and devotion as well as a strong, protective spirit.  I located the holding pen for my chosen breed and began the difficult process of selecting the perfect pet.  Unable to choose one from the flurry of fur that surrounded me, I stepped away.  As I did, I noticed the saddest eyes I’ve ever seen peeking out from a cage that barely contained the body of this dog.  This was this poor dog’s existence.  Unable to even stand up in her cage, she had grown too large for the enclosure and no one seemed to notice or even care.  There she was, my future dog, I couldn’t wait to release her from this prison.  So I took her home.

I decided to call her Jessie. 

 She stuck to me like Velcro.  We were inseparable.  She was a great dog who only wanted to be loved and showed her appreciation with great gusto.  Without the limiting effect of a small cage she grew to full stature and seemed to always wear a smile.


A new career opportunity meant moving to another state.  While moving is never easy it was especially challenging for Jessie.  Her patterns were disrupted and the strange countryside overwhelmed her.  She tried to stay strong but the change just confused her.


One night she somehow escaped from the back yard that was surrounded by chain link fence.  She found a weak spot in the fence previously unnoticed by me that allowed her to squeeze out.  When I called for her to come inside to bed there was nothing but quiet.  A stillness that sounded empty.  She was gone.


I immediately grabbed a flashlight and started off searching for my faithful, confused friend.  Up and down the streets I looked.  As I too was new to the area, these streets were as foreign to me as they were to my Jessie.  After what seemed many hours I gave up my search with a heavy heart.  I had little hope for her return in this strange place.


I went to work reluctantly, wearing sadness on my face, unable to focus on anything but my loss.  Where did my girl go?  She must be so scared and alone not knowing where she was.  Did she feel we abandoned her?  I sat at my desk, perseverating thoughts on my missing dog. 


Days went by and the pound failed to report finding Jessie.  It was time to face the inevitable.  I called the city works department and told of my plight.  They informed me of a large long haired black dog recently picked up in my area.  I wasn’t prepared for this loss nor was I ready to face the task that lie before me.  I grabbed a couple of large trash bags and drove the short drive to retrieve my fallen friend.  A burly man with a kind face led me to the back of a truck where the body laid silent.  I immediatley noted the dog was a Chow and quickly put the hairy carcass into the trash bag without much hesitation.  Damn.


Her toys were gathered together and placed inside the large hole dug in the backyard of my new home.  I gently placed her lifeless body in that same hole.  Before I covered my friend with dirt I took time to give thanks for the time we had together.  Others had joined me for this impromptu memorial service.  Even the roofers who were working on the neighbors house stopped long enough to observe this moment of sadness.




A few days later my phone rang.  I thought at first it was a practical joke.  What did this veterinarian mean he had my dog?  I just buried her.  He stated this was no joke and this was in fact my dog.  She had jumped off an overpass while trying to avoid capture by a police office.  She knocked herself unconscious and was taken to this vet to recover.  She was perfectly fine and I should come and get her…is what I heard the doctor relay to me.


Then…Who did I bury?


Surreal moments cause us to rethink the order of life.  We have to adjust our thinking to our present reality and oftentimes they don’t mesh.  This was no exception.


As I sat there considering my newfound delight my phone rang.  I was instructed to come to the front office immediately to which I obliged.  As I came neared I saw a blur rush me and immediately my Jessie tackled me and filled my face with wetness.  She was glad to be home, I was thrilled to have her back.


She and I stayed close from that moment onward.  She gave me unconditional love and acceptance.  She was a devoted dog.  She was more than a dog, she was family.


Unfortunately, all that love came from a heart that had grown weak.  Her health began failing rapidly and one afternoon I went outside to call her and was again faced with that dreadful silence that beckons the arrival of bad news.  Jessie didn’t move as I approached her.  She had left us again, this time for good.  She had nothing left for this life except the wonderful memories that remain in my heart.  These I will forever cherish.


I carried this pile of love to the grave of her predecessor where I dug a home for her new journey next to her unknown friend.  I thought they would get along fine and have lots to talk about.



1 Comment

  1. mom said,

    January 26, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Ok. Not fair. You reduced me to tears again. I remember when you called and said that she was gone. (the first time) A lot of people don’t understand people like you, Jim and me who love these animals who ask nothing and give so much to our lives.

    Love you.

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