Thursday, February 08, 2007
Jazz (SEK Flying Jazz)
February 7, 1992 – February 7, 2007
We met Jazz on a Friday night in May of 1996. Mark and I had just bought a house and were finally ready to get our first dog together. The adoption people brought out a parade of greyhounds, one by one, and we felt so much pressure to choose the right one. When the dogs were brought out for a second time, this red brindle boy glued himself to my knee; he was soft and pretty, and they told us his name was Jazz. We didn’t really choose him; he made it very clear that he belonged to us. I will never forget when I had to go back out to the car for the leash, and as I looked back through the glass wall of the building I could see him staring at me, ears up, in a pose that I would see thousands of times over the years. Jazzy was a mama’s boy from the moment we met him.
That night began eleven wonderful years together. Jazzy had the sweetest, most gentle temperament of any animal I’ve ever known. He stood patiently when small children wrapped their arms tightly around his neck, and he could nibble off half a peanut from my fingers without hurting me. He wasn’t kissy or snuggly, but he would go nose to nose with someone, almost touching, to show them his affection. He was a big silly dog who bounded through the house back and forth between me and Daddy, waggling his head, tongue lolling, just so happy to be with us. Any time we weren’t moving fast enough for him, he’d put his bicycle seat-shaped head behind our butts and push forward. I sometimes played hide and seek with him, hiding in a closet and peeking out to see his quizzical face and pointy ears come looking for me, and when he found me he was unashamedly joyous. He loved to run, in our little yard or in wide-open spaces, and his running was a beautiful sight to see; Jazz after all came from a champion bloodline, and his record shows one race win before his early retirement. He enjoyed attacking and tossing his stuffed animals, but even better was pulling the stuffing from ripped toys until he was surrounded by a cloud of fluff. When he was happy, he absolutely had to have something to carry around, and if a toy wasn’t handy, a shoe would do. Most of all, Jazzy loved soft things, and his life was an endless quest for comfy places to lie down. If I pulled off my sweatshirt and dropped it in the grass, he would plop down on it. If we left a laundry basket on his couch, he would stare intently at it until someone noticed and moved the basket. When we helped the family build a deck, he discovered the joy of lying in warm sand and refused to move even when power tools were being used right next to him. And one day, I pulled all the loose stuffing out of his dog bed so I could wash the cover, and when he discovered the nose-high pile of stuffing and waded in with his long legs so he could lie down, it was about the happiest we’d ever seen him.
But time is relentless, and Jazzy got older. We had to do more things for him as he became weaker, and over time little bits of his personality became little more than memory. We carried him up and down stairs for his last couple of years, but eventually even walking became difficult. He was diagnosed with cancer in his 14th year, and there was little we could do except manage the pain and keep him company. It finally became clear to us that he was too unhappy to go on, so on the morning of his 15th birthday, February 7, 2007, we let Jazzy go. He had the best life a retired greyhound could ask for, and two people who loved him very much. He was a part of our lives and our home for so long that his absence leaves a gaping hole, but we will fill it with memories, visions of a bright red brindle boy galloping in the sunshine, of his crazy legs in all directions as he sleeps on his back on the bedroom floor, of his big brown eyes gazing dreamily at us over the arm of his couch. We will miss you, Jazzyboy.