Thursday, January 22, 2009

Shell Shocked

I feel that I owe an apology to everyone for not having made any kind of post on here since NOVEMBER!!! It seems as though Life has somewhat thrown itself at me...with vigor! We had an entire week taken out of our lives when Chuck was in the hospital for his surgery. Then came the holiday season along with the activities and parties that come along with that. I had my MBA class, work, and trying to get Christmas under control all at the same time. Then on Christmas day I was laying on the floor with Jena and looking at the sore she had on her leg, and found that she had another growth on her face. Merry Christmas! Your dog has Cancer, and you get to choose when she dies!
I want to take a few minutes here, and talk to all of my friends and family about a VERY special dog. Those of you who know me well, have met Jena, and know that she is from the streets of Taiwan. I am not sure that she has ever met a person that she did not win over, from my Mom (who has had her fill of dogs in the family) to our friend Stefanie who would get the Heeby-Jeebies if Jena would touch her with her nose. Cousin Shauna realized that Jena was slowly trying to get on her good side. She would sit on the other side of the room, then at the opposite end of the couch, then on the couch, then 3 feet away, then 2 feet away...This process was over a matter of months, and finally she would lay next to Shauna but not touch her. Then Shauna would pet her, and even let Jena rest her head in her lap! By the time we let her go, Jena was as excited as the other kids to see Shauna walk through the door.
Jena is one of the smartest dogs I have ever had the pleasure to meet. The above picture looks almost like she is trying to understand exactly what it was I said. You can almost hear her thinking "Did he just say Walk?".
Speaking of smart...Does she think she is going to drive? She may be the oldest girl in the family (9+), but she can't reach the pedals! This is where Jena would sit and wait for us to get back to the van, she knew that in order to leave we had to sit where she was!
The kids loved her so much, every time I would start wrestling with the kids and Jena would be in the middle of the heap within the first minute! She wanted to get me just as badly as C.J. did! The best part about it is when I would play rough with Jena...rough enough to almost break skin...and one of the kids or even Janet would reach in to play, Jena would just lick their hand and play soft!
There are years worth of memories, and pages worth of "Jena Quirks" that I could talk about but I will let everyone remember their own thoughts. The day came just a couple of weeks ago, when I came home from work and Jena just looked tired. She was bleeding from her leg, and I knew she couldn't keep pretending forever. The hardest part about deciding when a good time to let Jena go, is that she was trying so hard (up to the very last day) to prove to me that everything was OK and I had nothing to be sad about. A couple of days before she left us, I would look at her and be flooded with thoughts about what life would be like without her and start crying. She would get up, come over to me, and try to snuggle with me as if to tell me it would be OK and there was nothing to cry about. This of course would only make things worse!
This is one of my favorite pictures. It shows my two best friends, and how much love they had for each other. My Wife has been so wonderful in helping me move through the grieving process.
We took Jena in to see Dr. Brinkerhof, who was compassionate enough to cut his date short and meet us after hours. We took her in the office, the Doc gave her an anesthetic that made her sleepy. She fell asleep in my arms, and in just over a minute after he gave the second shot she was gone.
Despite the fact that we have 6 kids...our house seems so empty. There are many reminders that creep up as cruel taunts that she will never step foot in our home again. There is no bark after the doorbell, she doesn't run and hide behind the chair if I raise my voice, she isn't around to eat the end of the chicken breast, we actually have to CLEAN the floor after dinner now, she isn't curled up outside the shower or in the dirty clothes pile, and she doesn't push her nose under our hands anymore as we sit at the computer.
We love you girl, and know you are running with The Big Man now. See you later.
Greg, Janet, Hannah, Hailey, C.J., Anthony, Jamie, and Chuck.
Thanks to Deb from Funny Face Photography for the amazing "goodbye" pictures of our Asian Girl.


Adam+Stephanie said...

I'm so sorry about your loss :( Janet told me about it the other day when she was over. But what a beautiful tribute to her, You made me get all teary and miss her too and I've never even met her!

Traci said...

Those are beautiful pictures of Jenna. I'm so sorry for your loss...Traci

Devin & Ruthann said...

That's really sweet what you wrote about her. It's crazy I read this post today when this morning my dad is taking one of the dogs I grew up with to be put down. Sad day:(

Jonathan and Kristina said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss. I was brought to tears when reading this. Very beautiful!

The Bennetts said...

Russ told me about Jenna and I was so sad for you guys. I knew Jenna before I knew Janet, and she has always been part of the Bartons. I don't even like dogs and I was sad!

~..kass..~ said...

I am so sorry for your loss, it is such a hard thing to go through and even harder when you have found an amazing animal. I feel for you I tragically lost a beagle when I was about 7 mo prego with Kenton...ugh. She seemed like an incredible dog, how lucky were you guys to get her for your very own :)

Sarah said...

I'm sorry. It's never fun loosing a animal. I still think she was the cutest, ugly dog ever!!! I'm gonna miss her too.

Sarah said...

I can't say it enough, I'm sorry guys. :( We loved Jena so much. We'll never forget her.

Michelle said...

Even I had a soft spot for Jenna. You were right, she did win mom over! More than that, I know how much she meant to you. I was so sad to hear about it. What a beautiful post.
On the brighter side, we can't wait to see you guys! Its been too long! We especially can't wait to meet little chuck!

tammy said...

Okay, this was a beautiful post! Jenna...I am soo sorry! I can't say I totally bonded with her, a little maybe, but not totally! I know she was a true life saving friend for you, and I love her for that!! Well, hope to see you guys soon! Love you!!!

Hayley said...

Oh, that brought some tears to my eyes. I know how much she meant to you guys. I'm glad you had those times with her and that your kids did too.

steph said...

Oooo.. you made me cry! I completely know how you feel! I'm so sorry that you had to say a temporarily good bye to a special member of your family! Isn't it wonderful to have such special spirits with us to be there for us? Hang in there!