A man and his dog

By Lynda Shadbolt

My mom and dad, John (who will be 94 in a few months) moved in with with Jim and I just over a year ago. John’s dog, Jester, came with them. John has had a dog his entire life. When he was able, he walked his dog three times a day and never missed a walk. In his younger years he had hunting dogs, and 15 years ago he got Jester, a small terrier type of dog. Jester has been by John’s side constantly, and even more so since he broke his hip about five years ago. In the past few months Jester’s health has begun to decline. He became deaf, blind and increasingly disoriented. My parents have been so kind and patient with him as he slowed down. But eventually the day comes when you know you have to call the vet and ask to have the furry family member put down. It becomes obvious that the animal is struggling too much. I’ve had to put down two of my own dogs, and our kitty. It is just never an easy thing to do, or something that one wants to do. Even though it is the right thing. John was heartbroken. He would have done anything to try and keep Jester alive.

When a guy can barely walk, and can’t leave his little studio apartment, the dog is his constant friend. When John and Marie argue (62 years of marriage) Jester was always there to sit with John. When John and Marie left their home of 61 years in Acton, to move to Haliburton, Jester was their friend that they brought with them. He is just a dog, and he was a best friend. Jim and I took him to the Haliburton Veterinary Services (HVS) and Laurie Brown, who has retired but is back helping out, was working. She was the vet who put our own dogs down and we immediately knew we were in good hands. She was kind, caring and understanding. Jester was not my dog and still my heart ached as we said goodbye to him. We know how much love and life he gave to my dad, and how much my dad loved him. His little beating heart will be very much missed in their little apartment. Laurie sat with us and listened to his story, just as she sat and listened to the story of my dogs, Bella, Molly, and cat, Senior Cecile Ramos. Kindness matters every single day in every single situation. The kindness Laurie showed Jester and us was just so beautiful.

So appreciated. So respectful. All lives matter. Whether a being is covered in a shell, scales, fur, feathers, slime or quills, they matter. Two legs, four legs, swimming in the ocean, swinging from the trees. All lives are important and deserve respect. Jim and I both felt this so strongly from Laurie. She cared how Jester lived and she cared how he died. Jester was only in our community for 14 months but he received excellent care from the HVS, and from Pretty Paws where he was groomed. John would like to thank everyone who looked after him. All lives matter.