March 25, 1997 to March 30, 2012
Your sweet and weary head
Night is falling
You’ve come to journey’s end
And dream of the ones who came before
They are calling
From across the distant shore
From, “Into the West”
As we sat with Jordan, told him how much we loved him, thanked him for all the joy and color he had added to our lives, the beautiful words to “Into the West,” repeated in my head, and I recalled a memory of him, a happier time.
We had walked for over an hour on Edisto Beach, around the point then along St. Helena Sound till we were almost to the marina. There were few people on the beach that day there so we let Annie and Jordan off their leads.
Jordan, was still a pup – probably just around a year old. He ran up and down the beach like the energizer bunny. Annie, three years old at the time ran for awhile then stood with us watching him. She’d bark and chase every time the black and white flash streaked by, then she’d look at us, her face laughing. What a silly boy he is.
Finally he settled down and they charged into the water together. The sound was smooth that day, but I could see the tide had turned as they swam against the outgoing current.
Annie, more sensible and obedient returned when we called her back, but Jordan spotted a flock of birds far out in the water. We called desperately as we watched his chugging tugboat of a swim take him further and further from our reach.
“Annie, go get him,” I said, not knowing how she’d respond, desperate that our Jordan was lost.
Annie charged into the and water glided effortlessly. Ron and I waited, holding our breaths, as she closed the distance and swam straight for Jordan. She gained on the tired puppy easily. We heard her barking just before she reached him, then we saw a brief skirmish in the water. She took him by the scruff of his neck, then she turned and headed back toward shore. After a few strokes she released him, pushing him ahead, barking at him all the way. That’s how I’ll remember him, a wild and happy puppy running free.
His life was long, filled with adventures, love and hopefully enough happiness to nourish his sweet soul forever. We will always carry him within us, as we have all our beloved pups who’ve gone ahead. We will be comforted as our friend Scott Lutz wrote so beautifully, by the memories your body holds of him … the memories in your hands, the feel of his coat, his wet nose, and soft velvety ears.
Jordan had a long and happy life. Losing Annie in 2008 was his worst tragedy. He had been healthy until he slowly began to deteriorate over the last year. He had lost his hearing and no longer sang along when Ron played the harmonica. He no longer noticed the butterflies and birds on the beach, where he used to chase even their shadows. Then he developed Cushing’s Disease.
For years he had slept in our bed with us, always taking his half out of the middle. He’d sleep, his head on one of our pillows, snoring softly through the night. We finally had to move him to the floor. He could no longer handle the heat of such closeness and we feared he’d hurt himself jumping from our high bed in the dark.
In the last year he lost his energy. His walks became a slow meander about the yard where he still enjoyed sniffing to see what nocturnal visitors had trespassed on his territory.
Then he lost his once voracious appetite. Finally, when he refused to eat we knew he was ready to move on. It was difficult to make the decision to lovingly let him go. We had loved each other fully for such a long time, his life woven into the fabric of our own.
I like to think he’ll be waiting, with the rest of them, on a distant shore.
Don’t say: We have come now to the end
White shores are calling
You and I will meet again
And you’ll be here in my arms