a birthday gift for Jackson

“They said we could take her back,” I reminded Eric. We hadn’t even owned her for 24 hours, and I was already wanting to back out of the deal.

For weeks I had been trying to talk Eric into getting a dog. We were young and only dating, but throughout my childhood, we had a dog as our family pet, and I thought I was ready for that next step. The Humane Society was going to be at the Bonita Lakes Mall, and somehow I managed to talk Eric into driving over there and “just looking” at the animals needing a forever home.

Well, it took one second for their eyes to meet, and he knew she was the one for us.  Her’s was a rags to riches story, Eric always said. She was found in a dumpster in Meridian, Mississippi, as a puppy, and days later, Eric and I adopted her. But now that we had this four legged friend we were responsible for, I realized I wasn’t quite ready for this type of commitment.

Thankfully, my husband doesn’t give up quite as easy as I do.

That was almost 17 years ago, and Wesley has been our rock in this crazy world ever since.

We often heard from others, “she’s the best dog”. She just had the sweetest temperament, was easy going, and been the best companion our family could have dreamed to love. Wesley welcomed three babies home from the hospital with us and fiercely protected each one as her own. She was by our side through cross country moves, major life changes and mourned with us when we lost Jackson.

Wesley wasn’t getting any younger, the gray hair slowly saturating her face. For the past five years, I would secretly whisper in her ear, “You can’t go anywhere, girl. We need you.”

I knew our hearts couldn’t take another big loss, especially so close to losing Jackson. Kate couldn’t handle the pain of losing her favorite furry friend after losing her brother.  Seventeen years is a long life for a dog, but Wesley’s love was selfless, and she knew we needed her.

It’s been five years since we lost Jackson, though, and Wesley was ready. She had been declining in health, and we knew it was finally time to say our goodbyes last week.

She embraced living in four different states throughout her life, but last week Jackson welcomed her at her final destination.

Wesley undoubtedly ran to her buddy, ears flapping in the wind, and greeted Jackson with a sloppy kiss in Heaven. As we tearfully said our goodbyes, Jackson welcomed her with open arms.

Wesley’s fully healed now and enjoying the beauty that surrounds her, but our hearts hurt. The only thing that gives me peace is knowing that she and Jackson are together. April is a hard month for us as we mourn Jackson’s Angel Day and celebrate his birthday. But knowing these two are reunited in the most glorious place puts a smile on my face. 

What a birthday gift for our boy. To have his dog home with him forever. As Jackson celebrates his seventh birthday in Heaven today, I know this is the greatest birthday present he could have received.

Happy birthday, Jackson! Take good care of Wesley until we are all reunited again one day. We love you!!

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28-29