SUMMARY: Remembering Jake courtesy of the postman.
The summer after Jake turned 14, his license and rabies renewal form arrived and I had the choice, as always, of renewing for 1 year or 3 (at a discount). I hesitated for a while--after all, he was 14 and a half at that point, and really how much longer could he go on?--but he was very healthy, very active, still competing (a little bit at CPE's very low heights but still beating the young dogs). What the heck; I renewed for 3 years.
Now here it is two and a half years after he left me so suddenly, and here in my hands sits his license renewal notice. It's interesting, the kick in the gut it gave me to see his name on the paper; but also interesting that my next reaction was to laugh. He was such a great little dog, lived a wonderful, healthy life, and went out quickly without a long deterioration. It was worth the few extra bucks to hope for the best.
But the paper in my hand also makes it feel almost as if he's right here in the room with me; I can see his red-furred face looking up at me, see his feathered tail wagging. He won't be gone until I check the box that says "Animal is deceased." Like it's that simple. Animal. Deceased.
I mean--I could renew it, right? I've still got his collar with his tags, wrapped around all of him that stayed here--his registration cards for USDAA, NADAC, CPE, ASCA, and the Mixed Breed Dog Club, and a few ashes in a cedar box. Do you think they'd ever stop sending me renewals? How long do you think it would take them to realize that he's still being registered? 20 years? 25? Never?
Ah, me, Jakester, I'll check the box and be done with my little Animal for today.