by Being Diane
The love between a family and their dog, Jewell of 15 years
|Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Dear Jewell, my sweet, darling companion,
Wherever you might be-if you went to someone else’s home or if you laid down in nature to let go of your life. I can only hope for one wish that you knew at the end I loved you more than life itself. Several times I experienced so many darken times, so depressed to face life. You brought me so much comfort and joy as I would hold you close to my heart. I experienced such happiness while you could hear my heart beat and I felt yours. I loved you more than anything Jewell, expressed to you my deepest feelings and confidences no one will ever know because you see, dear Jewell you were my best friend since we carried you home.
I’ll never forget opposing my daughter, Kim when she wrote at 7 years old, “Dear Santa, I don’t know if I’ve been good or not but I want a puppy who stays little.” We didn’t want a dog in the house. Tim refused and I knew I would have to do the cleaning, the training, and the responsibility of a small dog. We already possessed 3 labs. One day Tim surprised us all when Kim was 15 years old. He furnished $150 for Kim to buy her little dog. We didn’t tell him until months later I put $50 with it and little Jewell became a member of the Howard gang. She was the size of a remote control and fit in Tim’s overall pocket. We were all genuinely in love.
Jewell went through 15 years of our life. She was always beside us with her little tail wagging with a precious love for us. One day Mom went with us to see Tim’s sister and Jewell ran in the woods. We were hysteria. My sister-in-law said, “I’ve never seen them this way about their own children.” Mom said, “They love her so much as strong as they do their children. Jewell is special. We took her to the hot air balloon show in Decatur. In fact, she acted better than the children.” We laughed as we screamed for Jewell to come back. She was fond of hunting lizards and mice.
Kim wasn’t allowed to take Jewell with her because Jewell became my empty-nest syndrome baby. Later Kim got her little dog, Tibbit and came for a visit. She wanted to know if she could take Jewell with her dog for a walk. Oh, no we said, “You can’t take Jewell something might happen to her.”
Kim replied, “Aren’t you worried something might happen to me?”
“Yes but you can’t take our baby.”
We never doubted our love for Jewell. We took her on vacation with us to little river canyon. When we opened the motel door that contained two double beds she hopped from one to the other. She was so happy. Jewell brought us much happiness and a love we have never known in our adult life.
When Tim wrecked his truck Jewell was by his side. She left the scene and we were terrified we would never see her again. Tim was in the trauma unit at UAB and before they put the tubes down his throat and nose he said, with tears in his eyes, “I’ve killed Jewell, haven’t I?”
“I told him no we just don’t know where she’s at right now.”
Everyone was searching for her. The reward was up to $300.00. Camp McDowell gave a good bit of the money and the staff came to visit me in the hospital.
Jewell became famous. She was on the front page of the Mountain Eagle with a story my daughter wrote. My friend’s pregnant daughter-in-law was out in the heat hunting for Jewell. She had her baby the next day. It was hot and the end of May. We would go asking people and they would say, “You are looking for the dog who got lost during the wreck?” Tears would well up in my eyes. All this time I kept in contact with the caretaker, Mr. Rick at Camp. He said Jewell would come out for food and fresh water. His wise words filled my heart with hope. The optimism wasn’t in vain because Jewell ultimately made an appearance.
It rained for three nights and those nights my tears harmonized with the pouring rain. A guard at the hospital said he didn’t understand how I could cry about a dog and my husband in such bad shape. He was a Christian but he said words to the wrong one. I said, “My husband will die if our dog dies. He loves her like I do. I have one last thing to say to you. Spell dog backwards and it spells God and dogs are the closest animals who teaches us unconditional love.”
Kim and I spent one night in the chapel. We slept and we prayed over and over. I got a few calls but it wasn’t Jewell. Then one day in the trauma waiting room I got a call from an elderly lady. Her friend came over with the newspaper and Jewell was eating a chicken breast. The friend said, “I think that’s the dog from the paper, look.” She phoned me at the hospital and it didn’t feel like a false alarm. I just knew in my soul it had to be my precious, Jewell. My Mom, Tim’s Mom and Dad picked Jewell up. When Jewell got in the truck she was so excited she didn’t know who to go to she just jumped around like, “My family!” The lady wouldn’t accept the reward. She said her reward would know Tim would better knowing his baby was safe. Her reward would be in Heaven.
I still love Jewell so intensely. I know it is something I’ll never forget. Everyone tells me that she saved me something so horrible to have to make the decision to put her to sleep. She was always scared of the vet. The one who spaded her broke her back and then ask us how we could let her run around like that and we reply, “She didn’t do this until you spaded her.” That’s one time I wished I would have sued someone because I know several who have had problems with him. He is a horrible man. He came out to the sidewalk and injected Jewell with Valium. She was so scared she bit Tim. The vet said he could mend her back for $5000. We took her to Dr. Martin to get a second opinion and while I worked Tim took great care of her. He made sure she got her back medicine and she slept in a cabbage patch doll playpen. Soon she was back to normal. I would take her to the camp where I worked and she loved playing soccer with the children.
I don’t know if I will ever love another dog like I did her. I’m trying but I seem to go backwards spending less time with Bear and Coca cries after me when I leave her. I hope one day to be able to move on but Jewell will always live in my heart.
I went to the doctor the other day and put on one of my clean environmental shirts. I found Jewell’s hair and I couldn’t bring myself to shake them off or put it in the dryer. I saw Dee Kizzare and I excused myself for the shirt. She said, “I know, Diane I just lost my Lab after 15 years of happiness. When you left the other day I was crying and Dr. Kadjos was crying over her dog she lost last year.”
Dogs give us so much and never ask anything in return. The caretaker at Camp was a dear friend of mine who loved animals like I did and he said it so plainly, “A dog will lick the hand which puts them asleep. There is no love like their love.” He called Jewell, Jewelldean.
May God hold us until we get to the rainbow bridge and see our dogs again. I know dogs have a soul.
Dedicated to the one I love, Jewell.