The Free Motion Quilting Project: A Hard Time

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Hard Time

You never know how much time you'll have.

I didn't realize the end was coming so fast. I didn't realize that this year was our last year together.

I thought we had at least two if not five years left of silly expressions and race runs through the yard. I didn't expect to have to say "good-bye" so soon.

These are photos of our adopted racing greyhound Jinjo, one of the sweetest, chillest dogs ever to exist. She was five years old when we got her and nearly eleven when we let her go today.

She was so polite she didn't bark, which made her much more like a cat than a big 70 pound dog. She also slept around 20 hours a day, which made her the laziest bag of bones in the house, but also the only dog I've ever really loved and bonded with.

On Thanksgiving Day, Jinjo went through the trash and ate a variety of foods that really didn't agree with her. So the day after Thanksgiving we had a big mess to clean up, then another mess, then another mess as she quickly lost control of her body.

For the last several days, we've waited for her to get better and only watched it get worse.

So today we said had to say Good-bye. To try to keep her here would have been the ultimate cruelty, and I couldn't watch her slowly die in pain.

Watching her fall asleep today was one of the hardest things I've had to do. With the grief comes blame and anger and guilt, but ultimately it was her time, and we had to let her go.

You never know how much time you'll have.

I wish I'd appreciated her more, treated her better, and showed my love more clearly. I wish I'd known that today was coming, but I didn't and I took it for granted that she'd be around for many more years.

And this has made me question how I treat everyone in my life. Do I show my love daily or do I only bring it out for special occasions or when times get hard?

This experience has been a reminder that I need to look beyond my past and the way I saw love being expressed and shared growing up, and to learn a new way to show love, affection, and compassion on a daily basis.

Because you never know how much time you'll have.

And regret like this really sucks ass.

I'm off to the studio. I'm feeling an intense desire to fuse something.

Even if it's just fusing the pieces of my heart back together.

Leah

77 comments:

  1. It is never easy to say good-bye to a 4 legged member of the family. Worse even around the holidays. My heart goes out to you and your family. The pain will lessen with time and you will remember the good times you had together. Dogs give unconditional love, so do not feel guilt. When you rescued him, his life suddenly became 100% better.

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  2. I have tears in my eyes reading your post. We are blessed by the unconditional love that our adopted children give us. Time will help.

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  3. So sorry to hear about your loss, I feel for you. It brings back memories of past loved pets and the pets that live with us now. Hoping that time helps with the sadness.

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  4. You have my deepest sympathy! I no children only furkids of one variety or another and am blessed to have my heart dog, a year old mastiff, who I pray to have for many years to come. My heart to will be shredded when his time comes. I have no doubt that Jinjo knew how much you loved her and that you showed her your love in ways you didn't even realize. You showed her the ultimate expression of love by not allowing her to be in pain although it broke your heart. She has now crossed the rainbow bridge and is running and playing with the others awaiting our arrival. RIP Jinjo

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  5. I'm so sorry to hear the lost of yor long one your special pet. I have a cat and I nevr want to think about that day. So thanks for reminding me to spend every mi O can with her. I feel your pain.

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  6. I had to say goodbye to our 15 yr-old hound in August. It was so hard and painful for us, but also the right thing to do. He had lived a life of dignity and it was only right to allow him to keep that dignity. Be kind to yourself, remember, you rescued this beautiful animal and that allowed her this time of peace and grace surrounded by a loving family. You have my deepest sympathy.

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  7. I am so sorry for your loss, which I totally understand. Do NOT feel guilty; he had a wonderful life with you. After my grief of loosing my beloved dog, another dog came into my life and is now a great source of love & joy (& much more--like exerise). I encourage you to consider another when you can.

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  8. I am so sorry for your loss. The love you give and get from a four-legged family member is amazing. There is no doubt your Jinjo knew love from you all of the time. I hope your heart stops hurting and the fun memories of Jinjo take the place of that heartache. Peace be with you.

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  9. Sorry about your loss, I have had to do it also and it is never easy to lose a pet. You did a wonderful thing adopting him and giving him a very special life.

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  10. So very sorry for your loss. It's never easy.

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  11. Ohhhh Leah! I cried for you as I read your post today. I hope you have many more wonderful photos of her to look through in the days ahead. Please know and take a small amount of comfort in knowing you are not alone today in sorrow for having to say good-bye to a best friend.

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  12. With tears in my eyes I tell you I know what you are going through, as I have been in those shoes too... Sorry for your loss of a good friend and family member, and thanks for sharing your pain... take care...

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  13. That's such a horrible feeling. I had to have my cat put down the week before Christmas last year, and was completely devastated. He had Kidney failure and the treatments were no longer working. Having something that completely dotes on you for everything including love, then feeling like you haven't even done a good job at that isn't something I wish on anyone. Time makes it easier.

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  14. Yes, our furry kids show us unconditional love in ways that many humans aren't capable of. I have learned much about myself through the love of a pet.

    I am so sorry for your loss. Try to remember that life and our ability to love are enhanced by such dear ones.

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  15. You did a wonderful thing rescuing her, she truly must have loved you for that. Allow yourself to grieve, it is losing a family member.
    I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  16. How heartbreaking! Sending hugs your way between the tears.

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  17. I am so sorry to hear about you loss. It is so hard. I did the I should have this and that too after I have lost a dog, but you can't, you just have to know how good their lives were while they were with you. Then open your heart and adopt again. Dogs make life so enjoyable.

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  18. So sad to lose the unconditional love of your precious Jinjo. Rest assured that her life with you was full of wonderful times for her and your family. They say dogs live in the moment, so even if we're cross with them one minute, they've forgiven us the next. If only it was that easy for us.

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  19. Dearest Leah,

    I have had dogs all my life, and while I would never be without ones company, I know that my heart will one day be broken as a result. I do know how you feel. I have felt the same pain several times. I hope you will come to realize that you gave Jinjo a gift when you let her go. A gift that I often wonder why we don't give to our humans who suffer and linger beyond their time. I often read the following when I am grieving. I hope it gives you some comfort as well.


    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
    There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
    There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
    The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

    Author unknown...

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  20. Oh, I'm so sorry! I know this feeling. The only think which helps is time. Be strong!

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  21. Oh Leah, I feel for you. We were also the owners of the sweetest rescued greyhound. Warfle was adopted by us at the age of 2 & we also lost him at the age of 11, due to cancer. I still remember the day we brought him home & he just walked in and quietly laid down on the kitchen floor like he had always lived here. Greyhounds are a wonderful breed & I recommend them to everyone. My thoughts are with you & your family.


    -debby,
    Chester NY

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  22. That sucks. We lost two of our beloved dogs this year, too. They were poisoned by a neighbor and died of kidney failure.

    I'm thinking your dog probably ate something with onions, which are toxic to dogs. I found this out when my dogs were ill and I was researching possible causes. Raisins and grapes are toxic, too. Who even knew?

    We now have a new puppy who is bringing joy into our lives and helping to heal the wounds. We still miss our old friends.

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  23. I'm so sorry for your loss....it's hard to say goodbye to our furry friends.

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  24. so sorry for your loss! greyhounds are such wonderful furkids and they make an everlasting impression on you. i had one retired racer leave early from bone cancer years ago, but my family recently adopted a wonderful 3 year old who torments the cat in the house and the squirrels in the yard when he runs.

    don't beat yourself up. you've given her a loving home for a long time and that will always be remembered.

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  25. I know how hard it is to lose a 4 legged family member. We lost 2 this year, one at 11 years of age due to illness, and the other went back to his owner(my brother), so I know how hard it is. But, I truly believe that they teach us unconditional love for however long they are with us, and live in forever in our hearts.

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  26. Oh dear, it's a tough road you are on at the moment, you feel like your heart has been torn.
    But it does get better with time and those beautiful creatures touch our lives in ways that we don't fully realise until they are not there any more.
    About 5 years after my sweet Rhodesian ridge back was gone I found one of her hairs in the vacuum cleaner foot...I cried and cried...I miss my friend.

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  27. It's always sad to lose a loved one, even a 4-legged member of the family. We've had to go through it 3 times, swear up and down that we can't put ourselves through that again, and yet somehow we still find love for more. I believe God made a dog's lifespan shorter than ours just so we can experience more of that unconditional love in our own lives. We are now loving our 4th and 5th dogs and remembering with a tender heart the ones that came before them.

    LaDonna

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  28. Hi Leah
    I'm so sorry to hear of your loss - any loss is so very painful. Thinking of you. Caroline

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  29. Losing a loved one is so hard. I hope you remember the silly times.

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  30. I am so sorry for your loss, rest assured you gave her a loving home, a happy family, and a warm bed. What more could a pup ask for?

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  31. It's hard to lose a furry friend. :o( Been there. Hugs. A dog at one's side adds so much to life. They're so forgiving and ask so little. Unconditional love.

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  32. A very sad post, but beautifully written. Thanks for the reminder.

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  33. I'm so sorry. She had a good and long life with you ... please find comfort in the fact that she loved and was loved ... it really doesn't get any better than that.

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  34. I am so sorry for your loss! A month ago I had to make the same difficult decision for my 20 year old cat. So "been there, done that." Give yourself the time you need to work through this period.

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  35. Leah, I'm so sorry for you pain. Those animals can grab your heart like nothing else. Your post was a beautiful memorial to Jinjo.

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  36. my sympathies...there will always be a little hole in your heart.

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  37. Sorry about your dog. We recently lost our dog to a coyote, and it's been a tough two weeks since. Keeping busy creating beautiful quilts helps. Rebecca

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  38. So sorry to hear of your loss. We have lost so many animals and it has never got any easier. My mother had her 15 yr old cat put to sleep yeaterday and as I spoke to her this morning tears came to my eyes thinking of all the special memories I have had with my beloved animals and I shed a few more tears as i read your post. i hope you feel better soon. God bless

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  39. I have tears rolling down my face like a waterfall reading your post! I feel so terrible for your loss. We almost lost our beloved Lab a couple years ago at about this time (I think she had parvo even though she had her shots against it), and I can't believe how much I was hurting watching her seem to die (but she pulled through barely) and she is still with us thank goodness. It's amazing how these fur balls can take hold of our hearts, they are almost like our children sometimes! Be assured, you did the right thing. It is a terrible decision to have to make, but it was for the best. HUGS to you in this tough time.

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  40. Jinjo taught you how to be a better human during her life and now beyond. What a lovely gift she was! My heart goes out to you and your family.

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  41. It is a hard journey to go through. Our beloved pet is 12 and failing. Remember the good times. Thinking of you and your family.

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  42. I know how you feel. Remember all the great times you shared.

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  43. I'm so sorry for your loss. Leah. it is heartbreaking. We lost our 13 year old dog just 2 weeks ago.
    You gave Jinjo all those extra years of love.

    Take care.

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  44. Oh Leah, I know where you're coming from as I've been there myself. Big hugs from me today as you miss your darling Jinjo. What a gorgeous and precious boy he was! Di xx

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  45. I'm so sorry Leah.

    I've lost a furry baby before and it still hurts to think about it. We now have 3 rescue mutts who fill our house and hearts with a lot of love. Dogs give so much and ask for so little in return. I'll be lovin' on my hounds a bit more tonight.

    Hugs to you and yours...

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  46. I'm so sorry to hear about Jinjo, Leah. She looks like she was a wonderful, sweet girl.

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  47. Leah, I am so sorry for your loss. We adopted and lost our big boy last year as well. I know time heals and I should cherish the memories, but I do miss him! Word of advice, please do not run out there and get another one as I did a week later. This monster, yes, I called him a monster is a force all on his own! :o)

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  48. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. It's hard to lose our friends. Just remember that you rescued him and gave him a wonderful life.

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  49. I'm crying for your loss and also for my Sadie, also a rescued Greyhound. She was a red brindle with gorgeous rootbeer colored eyes, and she loved us as we loved her. We had her for 11 years and she was just as you described your Jinjo. Greyhounds are amazing.

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  50. So Sorry to hear about Jinjo. Every single thing you said rushed back all those feelings I had of my cat Bubbles who had to be put down at the age of 6 for kidney failure. she was the youngest off all, and she was suppose to be the last one around. I was counting on it being that way. I feel your pain completely as the tears roll down my face. It does get easier, but it does take time. Take care my friend, my heart goes out to you at this really tough time in your life.

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  51. Leah - every day he spent with you and your family was a day of grace and love.

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  52. All animal lovers know how you are feeling. Thankfully the pain subsides & the time comes when you can look back at your pets life & laugh at the funny things they did & remember the love & cuddles without the tears. hugs, Jan

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  53. Keeping your family in my thoughts. We lost our pet a year ago and it is just like losing a member of your family.

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  54. I'm so sorry for your loss when my dog had to sleep in the vet give me this poem, it helpt me.

    When the time comes...

    If it should be that I grow frail and weak
    And pain should keep me from my sleep
    then will you do what must be done
    For this-the last battle-can't be won
    You will be sad, I understand,
    But don't let grief then stay your hand,
    For on this day, more than the rest,
    Your love and friendship must stand the test.
    We have had so many happy years,
    You wouldn't want me to suffer so.
    When the time comes, please, let me go.
    Take me to where my needs they'll tend.
    Only, stay with me till the end
    And hold me firm and speak to me.

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  55. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my greyhound, Terri, a few years back and it is so hard. My heart goes out to you.

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  56. What a lovely expression of love - this is something we might be having to face all to soon and it's something I'm dreading - our GSD Shadow is now fast approaching his 14th year and struggles a little more each day. So far there is no pain just fustration when his rear legs won't do quite the right thing ;0)

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  57. My heart is with you. They live in your heart forever though. I lost Bonnie Doon last year three days after christmas and I still cry. You did the greatest thing for her by letting her go easy. It is a final gift we give from our hearts.

    My heart is with you, I know how you feel.

    glen

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  58. I'm so sorry for your loss!!There is nothing that can be said that will take the pain away, but I hope the comments here today will ease at least some of your heartache.

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  59. Leah, so sorry for your loss. It's heartbreaking to lose a member of your family like that--no one's ever really ready. Rest assured that Jinjo knew how much she was loved--they know this stuff, I'm a firm believer in that. Take heart in all of the memories you have with her as part of your family. *hugs*

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  60. Leah, I feel your pain. We had to do this a few years back with our dog, Freud. The best thing we ever did was to take time after we let him go to go out for lunch as a family and have a 'wake'. We told Freud stories and laughed and cried and remembered. Yes, we still missed him but it made it better for us and the kids.

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  61. Leah: Suffer no remorse, have no regrets. The instant you opened yourself to the heart-breaking pain you are feeling now, you returned all the love that Jinjo gave so freely to you. Rest in peace, Jinjo, you were loved.

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  62. How sad. I have been there. We lost our dog too. This was about 13 years ago come January. That was so hard. I still miss that dog! We have tried to get other dogs, it hasn't ever worked out. It's just not the same, nor can you open up like that w/another one like that. I'm so sorry for your loss. :(

    Hugs.

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  63. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss...I hope that in time these raw, sad feelings fade and that you are left with just your wonderful memories (((hug)))

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  64. I am so sorry for your loss. I have been where you are now and know the pain you are feeling. We have our Belle for now and our pretty kitty Millie, but I know one day we will have to let them go. We do take them for granted, their friendship and love is unending. So we can ignore them and just pass them by, but they continue to love us anyway inspite of ourselves. Pain does get better and you do remember all the good, but it takes time. Try to get through it by embracing the good times and feelings your good dog gave you and its ok to cry and feel sad.

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  65. I'm so sorry Leah... I completely understand what you're going through. I lost my loving companion Azure (husky/golden retriever mix) in Feb 2009 after 15 years of being together.

    I still cry when I think of her, but I know she and I had a wonderful life together and she's not suffering anymore.

    The pain does ease up... after a long time.

    *hugs*

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  66. I'm so sorry for your loss Leah. My dog Duncan who was 12 passed away this November. It is amazing how much love you can have for an animal and how much it can hurt when they pass away. I was not home when he passed away and wish that I could have been with him. Many hugs for you.
    Heather

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  67. Oh my god Leah. I am SO sorry for you loss.
    And in saying that, i know it does *nothing* for you...
    But please know that my spirit is over here trying to hug your spirit.
    I am SO SORRY for your loss!

    I wish i could say *something* that would make you feel at least a *little bit* better...
    But i know that's not really possible...
    And yet, here i am.
    Showing you my support.
    Hoping beyond hope.

    ...at least you have learned something from this.

    DO NOT beat yourself up over this.
    Everyone comes into our lives to teach us something. And Jinjo had at least one "lesson" for you that you are listening to and learning from.

    I am in tears for you.
    {{{BIG hugs}}}
    I am SO SORRY for your loss!

    Each day is a gift.
    =-)

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  68. I'm so, so sorry for your loss. Losing a beloved pet is almost like losing a child, especially for those of us who don't have human children. So many others here have written such beautiful, inspirational things, that I can't add much. Just wanted to thank Mary Miller for including "The Rainbow Bridge" ... a perfect embodiment of the way I feel about it. (And if dogs and cats can't go to Heaven ... I'm not going, either!)

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  69. So sorry for your loss. It is really hard to lose a good dog.

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  70. Oh, Leah, I am so sorry! Having gone through this with our cat Max in August, I know how hard it is. I am thinking about you. A big hug.

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  71. So sorry to read about Jinjo. Tho I am sure there will be another rescue dog out there for you, Jinjo will always have a special place in your family's memories. We lost our two 14 year old rescue spaniels to illness within a month early this year, who'd blessed us with ten wonderful years: one of the best decisions of our lives was as novice dogowners saying 'yes' to the 'must be rehomed with sister' plea.

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  72. I am sorry to hear your favorite dog died. Please don't beet yourself up toomuch about not loving him enough. You rescued him and bonded with him and for a dog that's really something.

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  73. Dear Leah and family....I am so sorry to read of the loss of Jinjo...I lost my 12 year old lab mix, Chuck, a few months ago and only now find myself going for a week without crying for him. Someone dropped him off at the farm nearly ten years ago. He was just a young dog but was so frightened and obviously abused. It took awhile but we earned his trust and unconditional love. Losing him was like losing a member of the family. I hope the holiday season is filled with happiness for you and I hope 2011 is a prosperous and rewarding year for you and your family.Your blog and fmq videos are wonderful. I'm sure thousands like me are so grateful to you for sharing your expertise.

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  74. Jinjo looks so much like our sweet Packer, who we said goodbye to about to about 2 years today. My heart goes out to you! They are such wonderful members of the family!

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  75. Leah,
    I am so sorry about your Jinjo. These greys get into your heart so easily. We also have had a scare the last 2 weeks with our grey getting into the trash. We are still treating him for bleeding ulcers in the upper and lower GI. Please know that your family will be in our thoughts during this terrible time.
    Diane

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  76. I just read about your loss, I am so sorry.

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  77. I also lost my much loved Billy last July he was 9yrs old and I thought he would live forever, I hurt even now.

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