Saturday, September 27, 2008


My father's death left a huge hole in my heart. I had no idea how to make it go away, or even how to be happy again. I struggled every day to keep going and often found it difficult. One of the ways I tried to fill the massive hole I felt was through animals. First, I got Onyx. His companionship and love were wonderful. But I still felt empty. I couldn't have Onyx with me at school, and missing him made me feel worse.

One day in April, as the end of the school year was still about two months away, I went to the local pet store. Now mind you, I am not a fan of pet stores. But I would often visit (and still do) just to look at the puppies and maybe play with one while there. On this day in particular, they had what appeared to be a black Chow (I say appeared because the puppy didn't fully look like a Chow, but the employees insisted it was a full Chow). I had loved Chows since I had first been introduced to the breed when I was about 10. My skating coach's parents had two Chows, Dutch and Bambi, and they were beautiful and sweet. I loved their blue tongues, and their fluffy coats, and hoped to one day own a Chow myself. I have no idea why I wanted a black one, but that was the color I pictured having (and black is not a very common color for a Chow).

Anyway, I saw this little ball of fur in the cage, and asked if I could play with her. I thought she was the cutest thing I had ever seen. She was extremely well behaved in the play area and I fell in love with her. Not to say I don't fall in love with most puppies. I do. I'll own it. I would probably own hundreds if I could because of my passion for making sure animals have a caring home and happy life, but I can typically leave the animal after seeing it and not really think about it again.

That was not the case with Jasmine. I went back to my apartment that night and continued to think of her. I talked to a friend about her, and he certainly didn't talk me out of getting her. In fact, he convinced me to get her. The whole next day, I thought about whether or not I should really get a dog. I had always wanted one. My parents never would let us. For good reason...we were hardly ever home and our house was not fit for a dog. But I was really against buying from a pet store. I knew she was WAY overpriced. There were thousands of dogs in the world at shelters that needed homes. I wouldn't be able to keep her when I got her because I wasn't allowed to have her in my apartment. I decided if she was still at the pet store when I went back that it was meant to be.

And I guess it was. She was still there. I played with her some more, and just loved her more. I noticed that her tag said she was a Chow mix. I asked about it, and they told me it was because she couldn't be registered. I didn't care, I had no plans to breed her. So, I walked out of the pet store that night with an overpriced puppy...but didn't feel any regret at her purchase. I just felt she was a special girl and perfect for me.

I decided to name the puppy Jasmine because I was thinking of Disney movies and Princess Jasmine had black hair, just like my puppy. Jasmine stayed with me for a few days in the apartment until I could get her up to my farm, where she would stay until I could have her during the summer.

I missed her dearly. But I felt so much love for the little furball. I was so excited to teach her how to sit and different tricks, and to have a pet I could go on runs with. Even though the rest of the time at school went slowly, I was finally reunited with her. And from that day on, she barely left my side.

Jasmine learned quickly, although she was incredibly stubborn. When I had to leave her, she whined, and laid by the door until I came back. She was always by my feet when I was on the couch and she slept in my bed. She loved people and people loved her. She also loved to ride in the car, and anytime I ran errands, she would go for a ride with me and sit happily in the passenger seat. People would often smile and wave at her when they'd see her sitting there. Jasmine also loved running with me. When I'd get my tennis shoes she'd run happily around. She loved even more when we'd go roller blading because she could go any speed she wanted. And she can run fast. I would let her drag me until she got tired and then I would have to pull her home. :) She also loved Onyx...even though Onyx wasn't totally sure what to think of her. She would chase him around, but then they would often lay around on the floor together. I also discovered that she had a ridiculously loud bark that did not seem to fit the way she looked. Such a ferocious sound, out of such a beautiful dog. It still surprises me to this day.

Jasmine was perfect for my hurting heart. She loved me well and I loved her. As she grew up, I began to see that she really was not a full Chow. She had many of the characteristics, but wasn't quite there. I didn't mind though really. I had a real jem in her.

As I was getting ready to head back to work at the end of the second summer I had Jasmine, I woke up to find her limping. She was in a lot of pain. I eventually discovered that she had torn a ligament in her leg. It would require a huge and very expensive surgery. It also required a very long recovery. She was barely allowed to move for over a month. It was dreadful. She was miserable. My active dog was no longer active, and couldn't sleep in the same bed as me. It was a scary time...I thought she would reinjure herself all the time and she was just so miserable. I was glad when months had passed and we were finally able to run again.

One thing I always felt bad about was not being able to give Jasmine the exercise I knew she needed. Although we would go on runs at times, my job kept me quite busy, and there were some days I was barely home. I knew she needed the exercise, but it was too hard for me. I really couldn't wait to get her to a place that she could run and be outside as much as she wanted (although, I was always scared about her and squirrels...she has a ridiculous obsession with them that has led her to run off on me a few times when she has broken leashes or gotten out before I could attach the leash). When B and I moved onto the farm, Jasmine became a whole different dog. She ran so much she lost a ridiculous amount of weight. But she needed it and truly enjoyed it.

Since I got Jasmine, she has dealt with the addition of several more cats and three more dogs just from me, and more recently, with the joining of B and my family, another dog and our new wolf pup additions. She became the surrogate mother to our first two wolf pups. They absolutely adored her, but you could always tell that she was not the most excited to be with them. They chewed on her, and part of being with the wolf pups 24/7 meant being outside with them 24/7. I could tell this was tough on Jasmine because she could no longer spend as much time with me and B (she loves B...listens to him better then me). B was really determined to keep her outside, because one of the worst things about Jasmine is the fact that she sheds a ridiculous amount, no matter the time of year. But eventually, I was able to convince him to let her back in. It is where she belongs (although she is no longer allowed to sleep on the bed).

Jasmine is a wonderful dog. Although she can be stubborn, and doesn't always listen the best. I love her with all my heart. Getting her that day was one of the best decisions I made. She helped my hurting heart, she has given me unconditional love and she has given me companionship. She is 3.5 now, and still just as great as she was as a puppy. :)

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