We got to know Jake and his daddy through this blog. His daddy used to read about our adventures and he would write to us – asking questions about Spoodles/Cockapoos. But Jake was not like one of us. He was born blind. Dick found him at a shelter in California. They had told him he was blind in one eye. But when they took him to the vet to see what they could do for his one “blind eye” they were then told Jake was blind in both eyes. He was born blind. But no one knew because he was amazing. He figured his way around.And Dick saw how amazing he was. He would throw the toys and Jake would find it. He manoeuvred around furniture, steps and only occasionally bumped into an obstacle.When Mummy wrote about Jake, this was what Dick wrote back …
“This is not just “Jake” …. this is Jake the wonder dog. He has been blind since birth. He rescued us when he was 8 months old. Over the years we have had two great Westies …. but Jake … wow. There is nothing he can’t do … from finding toys that we throw to dashing through the house, steps, furniture, walls, tables, etc. …not a problem for this bright, energetic spoodle.”
And then the phone call came …
May’s comment: About a month ago I received a call at the end of the day while I was still sitting at my desk. I had been at my desk all day in fact. I was being very productive. Except for three short walks around the block so my dogs could relief themselves, I was focused. The land line rang – which was a bit unusual. I heard a voice at the other end – totally unexpected to hear the name.
After I had sent a Christmas card last year to Dick, Melanie and Jake, I got a message from Melanie sometime in January that Dick had passed on. I sort of had an inkling that something wasn’t right when I hadn’t heard from him in a while. He would almost always read my blogs on a daily basis and made comments. Sometimes he chided me for doubting myself. He would give me updates about Jake. He was completely enamoured by this blind dog that could do so much. We became friends over the internet because of our dogs.
I made plans to finally meet Jake and his wonderful owners in L.A. I love L.A. It brings back so many fond memories of the weeks and weeks I used to go there on business trips. They were fun. Hanging out by the roof top pool at The Peninsula Beverly Hills. We used to spot Hollywood stars all the time when we were out dining, and acted nonchalantly about them. LOL! This trip was different. It was totally social – there were dogs to meet!
Dick and Melanie made such an effort to come to pick me up from my friend, Laura’s – to meet me and Impostor! Yes, I couldn’t take any of my dogs so Impostor went along. We spent the afternoon together and I watched in amazement at Jake – he couldn’t have been blind. Honestly!
We talked and we talked all afternoon about everything, and then it was time to leave. I couldn’t wait to return to LA to spend more time with them. That was May 2016. (Amazing Jake)
When Melanie had left a message for me about Dick’s passing early in the year, I had called her back and left also a message. We had not spoken. I had wondered if I would get to see her and Jake again the next time I’m in L.A. So I was really pleased to hear her voice. The connection had remained. But then I realised that she had a purpose in calling me. She wanted to tell me, not in a note, not a left voice message but to tell me herself that Jake had gone too.
Jake had been a nervous dog because of his disability but when Dick and Melanie decided to take him in, they gave him reassurance that he was going to be ok – that Dick and Melanie would take care of him. He maybe blind but he was Perfect in Every Way. Through love and patience, Jake became very much a part of their lives. He gained in confidence and no one would have suspected he was blind.
And because of his love for Jake, Dick searched the internet about Spoodles (as they call him in L.A.) and found our blog. Dick and I became friends on Facebook. This photo was taken by Melanie. She would often come home and find them both sitting together – maybe he was even reading our blog.
Dick urged me to write a book – a book about me and Darcy. I told him I liked the idea. He was blunt with me. When I told him about another idea – he blasted me for straying so far away. Anyway, the book is not written but our friendship cemented. He said he would be honoured to read my first draft. But I hardly heard much from him again after that visit.
Melanie told me that a few months after I visited in L.A., Dick’s health deteriorated. Jake didn’t take to it well. He refused to venture into the room where Dick slept. He didn’t want anything to do with it. When they thought maybe it was time to say goodbye for Dick and Jake, Melanie lifted Jake on the bed. It did not go well. Jake was beside himself with anger. He was angry that Dick was leaving him. He knew. He had a bad start in life, Dick rescued him and now he was leaving him.
Dick passed away a year ago today. He had one thing to ask of Melanie – to make sure that Jake is taken care of. But of course, Melanie thought, that went without saying.But Jake became more and more erratic. He would bite anyone who was a stranger and even people he knew – the elevator man in their building, the delivery man … and he didn’t even like the dog walker who walked him. It wasn’t even completely safe for the housekeeper to enter the home if Melanie wasn’t there. There was no knowing when he would turn. Melanie called in two dog behaviourists to help, and everyone she spoke to told her it was best to put him to sleep. 🙁
With a very, very heavy heart she knew it was best to let Jake go – for when he did bite another he would be incriminated and be put down anyway. She wanted to do it on their own terms – peacefully. On the last night together, she walked Jake, they had a lovely walk. But when they returned home, Jake bolted from her hold and went straight for the delivery man in the elevator – just when the door closed and he was trapped inside with the man.
Melanie knew it was for the best. And that was what she had called to tell me.
We both cried. We both wept. Sweet little Jake was just so angry with life – Why did life take away the person who saved me? Why did he leave me behind? He knew I needed him.
But through the tears, we knew that Jake and Dick are together again. And she did take care of Jake in the kindest way possible. Jake was too angry with life to help himself. He only knew to bite another in frustration. The human world would never tolerate that behaviour. Melanie saved him from himself.
I never said goodbye to Dick. But I will now. He was our fan. He was a mentor. I trusted him. And though I’ll never hear from him again, and the next time I return to L.A. there will be no Jake to visit either, it makes it just a little better to know that at least Dick and Jake are together forever.And for the first time, Jake could see Dick’s face.
I promise, Dick, I will get that book written because you believed in me.
So for all the doubts and the time spent writing this freakin’ blog for Darcy, this is one of the reasons why I keep going. It has opened up a whole new world for me – one which would never have happened if not for Darcy. I am blessed.
Melanie asked if I would like to keep in touch – how can I not? We both share a very beautiful memory and we both loved Dick and Jake. And one day maybe she will meet my two pooches.