My dog Jackson is coming up on 11 years old. We went to college together, went to frat parties, had beers at Louise's West, and moved into what seemed like a new apartment every year I attended KU.
He came as part of the package when I moved in with my then boyfriend, and was "best dog" when the boyfriend became my husband. Hubs and Jackson have had a rocky relationship, but my husband knows how important that dog is to me, so he rolls his eyes and admits defeat when it comes to the wonder pup. We've added another dog, and two children to the brood, and Jackson always gives me his disapproving look like "really? another one?", but accepts the new members into our family. He's learned to love snuggling with Sloane, because he can always count on her to pull a snack out of somewhere and share with him. Jackson is my life travel partner. We ride the roller coaster together.
More recently, we've been riding Jack's cancer roller coaster together. For the past 6 months, we go to the vet, find the tumors, cut them out best we can, and go on our way. It's getting harder for Jackson, and the tumors are getting more aggressive. We're starting to have long talks of "are you up to this again?" and I'm talking to my husband about "the day". It's heart breaking and sad for me.
Jackson is more than just a dog to me. He is a friend. He is also the last remaining piece of my "past life." When I moved here, I wanted a companion to start fresh with. Jackson has been here through thick and thin, happy days, and heart ache. My early twenties when I was looking to find my place in this world, and today as I am settling in to my calling as a mother and advocate.
It's going to be hard when "the day" comes, and it's coming sooner than I had planned on. Even if his time on Earth is coming to a close, he will always be one of my first true loves. My love before a husband, or a house, or children. My travel buddy through the journey of young adulthood. My buddy.