Monday, June 28, 2010

Jeter's Last Ride...

Please excuse any typos, I'm trying to type through the alligator tears without shorting out my keyboard. I've heard that all dogs go to Heaven. Well, then Heaven just got the best there is! At 4:30am this morning, I lost my best friend and the best model for the camera I've ever had. Jeter, my 12-year-old golden retriever passed away this morning. To say I already miss him is an understatement! I know I usually only write about my photojournalism work, but since he's been the subject of numerous photo illustrations and God only knows how many other file photos needed of a dog for calender page and contest promos, He's appeared in the paper more than some politicians, and he wasn't nearly as crooked!
My wife and I got him the day of my brother's high school graduation in 1998 while we were dating in college. I knew he was the one when I picked him up, a five pound, 8-week-old puppy, he fell right to sleep in my arms. Until that moment, I was on the fence, leaning toward not wanting a dog... after I picked him up it was love at first sight, no one was going to get this dog away from me!! After that there was never a moment I regretted getting him. He proved quickly to be awkward as he grew up. Not 20 minutes after adopting him he got his head stuck in the cart at PetSmart. Then a couple of weeks after that I watched him run full-speed head-first into a telephone pole! Only to get up shake himself and start running again.
Jeter touched plenty of lives and everyone who met him knew just how special he was. While I was doing my internship and my wife was living with my parents in Atlanta, I'd often go home to find my dad in the pool with him, floating him around on a raft. And, I doubt my dad and wife will ever forget the "adventure" they had with him when they moved us to Texas in a U-Haul truck that broke down every 100 miles. It took them three days to drive the 900 miles from Atlanta to Abilene and Jeter subsisted on mostly plain hamburgers my dad would buy for him, I think Whataburger was his favorite.
As much as I miss him, I'll never regret having him. He had such a unique personality. He didn't really eat any people food, we tried to keep him strictly to dog food but we both sneaked him stuff. I would always sneak him a tator tot or shredded cheese whenever I was cooking or eating them. My wife would always share yogurt and cantaloupe with him, those were certainly his two favorites. It wasn't uncommon for him to steal a bite right off her spoon if she wasn't paying attention, he was sly and cute at the same time. Beer was another of his favorites, it started in college, when we had a party, Jeter always got a squirt of beer from the keg when I went to refill my beer. Now, since I only drink beer out of bottles, he'd get the last sip from the bottle, I don't know what I'll do with the last sip anymore, but it'll always be his.
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Jeter's two other favorite things to do were ride in the car and swim. He absolutely loved the pool. Every summer, my wife would buy a kiddie pool for him in lounge in during the summer. And when the city does its annual doggie splash day on the last day the pools are open she takes him every time, and he looks just like that little puppy I got 12 years ago.
The only thing that compared to the pool was the car. Everytime I could take him, he went for a ride. He was feeling pretty good on Saturday so I took him to get gas in my wife's car with me. He always stuck his head out the window and loved the wind in his face. The bottom photo is the last picture I took of him, standing in the car waiting for me to finish gassing up.
Last night, he wasn't looking so good. I thought his joints were acting up because of the changing weather. I laid on the floor with him for a while, but when he tried to get up and stumbled over I knew something was wrong. I woke up my wife and she said we need to get him help quick. As we were driving to the emergency vet clinic he died in my wife's arms... as much as I miss him, I know he's in a better place right now, and I can't think of a better way for him to go. Rest in Peace buddy, I love you so much!!
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1 comment:

Valerie said...

Very touching. Thanks for sharing. We all have been there. He sure was a special dog and he was lucky to have you and your wife for 12 years.