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Obituary for a Collie

Many of you know this editor as one of those crazy dog-rescue people.  A bitter-sweet  anniversary is coming. I had to put down a dog I loved for severe behavior problems beyond our ability to cope. I could not just pass on the problem. I only hope her time here gave her joy and comfort after years of neglect. For a while it seemed that the anti-depressants were doing the trick but that last week or so made it clear she had adjusted through them and her basic personality problems came back. Say a little prayer for her and for us.

There is a light in the meadow tonight
burning fiercely bright,
like Jade herself.
Two candles on the new grave
under the old oak tree.
This morning I saw a dog-tooth violet
near the dog play-place
late blooming after all its fellows
have faded away this year.
I feel it bloomed for Jade Beauty,
jagged edges and sweet essence.

Jade Beauty, a doomed rescue

Obituary for a Collie
Notes from Collie Rescue, Spencer Creek Valley,  SW of Eugene

This afternoon a rescue collie named Jade Beauty, seven-going-on-eight years old and lively as a puppy, was put down. To outsiders the simplest way to explain the cause of this action by humans (myself, my husband and the vet) is she had a brain tumor. She may have had such a condition. That does explain her odd behaviors. Almost like rage seizures. Then afterwards, contrite mildness. Her madness and beauty are extinguished.

In spite of her troubles that drove me crazy at times, I miss her terribly. Yes, she barked in jags that went on and on, at the resident cat in our bedroom, often in the middle of the night. Yes, she attacked poor old Molly and then sweet, “co-alpha” Leia.  The other dogs are sporting scars from Jade. They became afraid to be in their own den (our home). Yes, Jade was aggressive around food. Yes, she was unpredictable and unadoptable. Jade was constantly needy and demanding. And yet I loved her. Jade had an almost human quality of relating to humans. She would look you in the eye, soul to soul, or so it seemed.

Her brightness, eagerness to learn, her extraordinary beauty, were sadly over-balanced by her protection instincts driven to the extreme (by attacking fellow dogs), her prey-driven relationships with smaller animals (except Hobbes who was raised partly by dogs) accompanied by her endless barking fits, and barking and vigorous frolicking to the point whamming into my cartilage-deprived knees for joy upon humans risings and returns, were all “tolerated to some degree” in the attempt to make life better for her and for the others in her life. But something literally in her make-up made her subject to sudden, violent mood swings. All the clicker training, behavioral and environmental modifications, better nutrition, anti-depressants, good walks and training sessions could not modify it. At the core of her doggie madness, I could not get through to her. She would lose herself in a fit of rage and or aggression. So who can I blame for her condition and who made her what she was, only this morning?

The careless backyard breeder who made a few bucks? The first family who adopted her and after great frustration with her, left Jade Beauty mostly alone in the backyard for five years? Myself, for not being able to have an other, pet-less world just for her? Not being a saint? Not being solely focused on her? Was she exposed to drugs as a puppy or in utero? Alcohol? Meth? It’s possible. I am so sad. I’ll never known why Jade was crazy and why we couldn’t make the difference for her. God knows we tried intensely for over six months. She loved our walks in the forest and was mostly well-behaved on the leash. Her last night on our nightly walks nearer the house (with leashes) Jade attacked Leia dog for no humanly understood reason, except maybe jealousy. When I reacted immediately to break it up, she turned on me, grazing my hand that was on her leash with her teeth. This morning she was the first one to spot a deer. She was straining against her leash eager for the chase. I had made the horrible decision that Jade must be put down. This unpredictable craziness could not go on. I could not have my other animals (or humans breaking it up) at constant risk of attacks. I brought her to Dr. Bob this afternoon, my heart heavy with failure and guilt.

May Jade’s spirit be chasing, running and barking with joy. May she be joyful forever with God. Perhaps someday, things like brain tumors or poor breeding practices, or exposure to drugs, lack of love and attention, or whatever it was that crossed your wires, will not interfere with our joy of being together once more. Good girl. Good Jade.

MG Hudson is editor of WxNW.org, occasional contributor and local Cascade Collie Rescue.org  Eugene Area Volunteer.

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