Our listener Julie submitted this story to us, and the first words are literally, “Warning: Sad.” and it is.
One Christmas eve, Julie’s mom took her and her sister out to lunch because their dad was setting up an early Christmas present for them. The whole time they wondered what it could be, maybe a new swing set in the back yard, or even, who knows, maybe one of the puppies from the neighbor down the street, they said jokingly. But sure enough, when their mom brought them back home, a little red-coated pup peaked his head around the corner and Jasper was officially part of their family. Of course, dad put rules in place like, no Jasper on the furniture, but I think we all know how that goes. When Jasper was around a year old, Julie started secretly letting him up on her bed. So, all of the sudden, Jasper would always insist on going to bed when Julie did, because he knew he’d get to sleep on the furniture!
Even though Jasper was never super cuddly, Julie said he’d still let any baby plop right down on top of his head, and when Julie’s depression and anxiety was really flaring up, he was always there. No matter where in the house where he was, if he heard her having an anxiety attack, he’d immediately get to her side and stay with her until she could fall asleep again or get into a place where her anxiety was in control. This inspired Julie to use Jasper and his heart for her senior project and officially got him certified as a therapy dog! He’s been to senior citizen homes for all the love, and even library’s to have little kids read books to him!
Julie eventually went to college, and the worst of the worst happened, Jasper started getting sick. No one could really figure out what was going on. Julie came back and went to every single vet appointment with him, but one day, without telling her, Julie’s dad took Jasper to the vet without telling Julie. That’s when they got the terrible news, at only 6 years old, Jasper was diagnosed with Lymphoma. and he was getting very weak. He couldn’t go upstairs by himself, could barely even walk on his own, and just wanted to lay on the floor away from everyone, by himself. Julie’s dad, “Mr. no Jasper on the furniture” just a few years earlier, was spending almost every night sleeping on the floor with Jasper so he wouldn’t be alone.
Last year, while on Christmas break, Julie took the floor shift, and somehow, even fell asleep while at her post keeping Jasper company. She was startled awake by their other dog sniffing her hair… when Julie opened her eyes, she saw her dad just staring at her. She could tell in his face what had happened, but she had to hear him say it. Her dad confirmed, Jasper passed that night. Julie bawled, dad bawled, and this is at 3 am. Eventually, everyone in the house was awake and crying and sharing memories about how sweet and funny and goofy Jasper had always been: he slept upside down, loved to swim (but was afraid of pools), and even though he loved catch, he’d never want to bring the ball back, he liked standing around eating grass better, and how much better he had made all of their lives.
Julie said that he was her unofficial emotional support dog, and she still misses him every day. And one reason I wanted to honor Jasper with a Pruppet of the Month story this month, was because Jasper “moved out” just over a year ago. In fact, just January 7th was the one year anniversary of his passing. Julie has a little urn with some of his ashes that she keeps with her, even at college, so Jasper is still always with her.
When I asked Julie if there was a pet-centric organization we could highlight in this segment, she spoke VERY highly of Summit Bridge Vet Hospital in Bear, Delaware. She said that they worked so hard to help Jasper, and went out of their way to get him into their services even when Julie and her family couldn’t get Jasper into his normal veterinary hospital. They also have a volunteer-based rescue associated at Summit Bridge called Cheyla’s Rescue Foundation, which has an AMAZING founding story. The neighbor of a bunch of vet students was a police officer who was looking for a foster for a pittie who had been rescued from a fighting operation. They crossed paths that way, and guess what, that dog was Cheyla and she was a TOTAL foster fail for the former vet student who founded the rescue foundation!