Dear Jesse,

I had to wait some time before writing your memorial. Even now as I write, I can barely see the screen through my tear-stained eyes. You came home to us on April 2nd, 2000, following the death of our big, black, shaggy dog, Woody. I wasn’t ready for a new dog, but mommy put us in the car and drove us to the Animal Humane Shelter the Saturday after Woody’s death. I thought “there can never be another dog like Woody”. We went up and down the rows of kennels, viewing +the sad, the neurotic, and the older doomed dogs. We were almost done when a young dog with funny forward-perched ears caught my eye. We asked our escort if we could visit with you. He took us to an area where we could play with you. He said you were a stray, five months old and some kind of Lab/Shepherd mix. One couple walked by and said “he’s too rambunctious for us”. I knew you had potential. You were friendly, gnawing on my arm, and wagging your tail as fast as you could. Mommy made a trip to the office. She came back and said “you were on hold!”, “On hold?” the escort said. “I’ve never heard of such a thing”. So after a few trips to the office, you were ours. They neutered you, gave you your shots and I picked you up on Tuesday. You were rambunctious all right, chewing up everything in sight and knocking over our then two-year-old, Daniel. I still use the wooden-handled garden trowel that you chewed on way back when. As the years passed, you matured. We all grew older together. Daniel went from a toddler to a teenager. You became a sweet and gentle dog. You loved kids and visitors, yet you were always on guard as a faithful watchdog, defending our home. In the cold months, you could always be found at the foot of our bed at night, letting out a moan of pleasure whenever I rubbed you with my foot. You kept our feet warm when we tucked them under you. In the warmer months, you would stretch out on the floor under the ceiling fan. Every night I would ask mommy, “Where’s Jesse?” so I would know not to trip over you. Every morning, I cleaned out your eyes and rubbed your always itchy ears, telling me how itchy they were by the amount of pressure you put on my hand. There are countless things we loved about you, and yes, you filled the void left by Woody. Now, you have departed after over eleven years with us, the longest-lived dog we ever had. I know you should have lived longer, but no one can predict any living thing’s end. So, the circle of life continues. Although we will you grieve you for some time, we have saved a new life. Just as you came to us after Woody, Dusty has come after you. I believe it was your spirit that told me to look for a new dog. Now your spirit lives on in Dusty and he will fill the void in our hearts that you left behind. You can rest in peace knowing that a new dog has a wonderful home and will never know thirst, hunger, pain, heat, or cold, and will always be loved. Goodbye Jesse.

Mommy, Daddy, and Daniel