In 2004 I got my first doodle, Willow, from a service dog non-profit. She had been excused from service dog training because she had hip dysplasia, and the orthopedic specialist seemed convinced that she would need a total hip replacement on both sides. I promised that I would do it when the time came, a promise I would later keep. 

I wrote to them occasionally to tell them how much I loved her, and what a good life she was having. 

In 2008, they offered me another dog (this time a chocolate lab) in a similar situation. I am a one-dog-at-a-time person, so I asked my mom if she wanted him, and she did. His name was Jasper, and he had an issue with his knees. 

My mother loved him immediately, (he was very cuddly and didn't seem to have a lot of boundaries, a popular quality in our family). He had two major surgeries on his knees a few years later, and he was okay. Like Maple, Jasper came to us relatively well-trained. 

My mom is a psychologist, (She has a busy and successful practice, and doesn't love teasing of any sort, which is why, although we are close, she does not appear in the Maple page frequently). Mom referred to Jasper as her partner, and she took him to work every day. 

Jasper was a lab and was high energy up until about a year ago. He has been declining, and my mom took him to a specialist about his heavy breathing. They suggested a throat surgery, which she agreed to. But during the preliminary work-up, they discovered that he had bone cancer. 

My mom has been savoring her last few months with him, knowing that the end was near, and that time has come today. 

Jasper, you were a great dog. Thank you for being such a great partner to Mom. You will be missed. 

Mom, (she doesn't Facebook, but several of her friends do, so maybe someone will read it to her), You have been a great mom to your humans and to your dog. You have spared no expense in terms of energy or time when any of us needed you.

I'm sorry for the hell that the next few weeks will bring. It is the absolute worst, such a deep and sharp pain; and I'm sorry we're not there with you. 

When you're ready, if you want me to, I'll help you find a new partner to train and to love. 

I love you to the moon and back. Infinity.

Dr. Nancy Kirsner
PhD.,  MFT,  OTR,  TEP,  CPP. 

Roots n Wings