Joogsie - A Friend Few Will Know
But she's been an amazing and loyal companion whose memory we'll cherish for the rest of our lives.
Joogsie...how'd she get a name like that?
We've had other Great Danes, one named Clifford and the other two named Jessica (I and II). We lost the first two in one night when they got to the freeway. It was a tough day. The other we had to give away, along with my blue heeler (Abed-Nego = Benny) due to changes in our life that precluded our ability to keep a dog.
This one was a gift to my wife from the boys. We had just moved and had been without a dog in the house for too many years. And we all love Danes, so the boys set about surprising their mother with a pup. They found a good breeder in Wisconsin (we lived in Michigan at the time), so me, our son and his eventual wife-to-be headed down to take a look.
Our son just had to pick the most headstrong one of the bunch. To be fair, we both recognized she'd be a major challenge and he agreed that she wouldn't be the one. But she made that decision, refusing to leave him alone as we checked them all out.
So, in spite of my protests, we brought this headstrong AAAlpha female personality home with us, and hid her for a day as we prepared to give her to wifey.
She and I went to grab lunch and a flick in celebration of her birthday. When we walked in the door, there was our younger son sitting on the floor with an amazing little puppy. Wifey's squeal scared the pup, but she quickly recovered and the furry friend love affair began.
Two things developed that we didn't foresee. My wife wasn't healthy, so didn't focus on the pup as much as she might have otherwise, meaning that they didn't bond as well as they might have otherwise. So the pup and I started bonding. In a sense, she adopted me.
The other was that she couldn't come up with a name. She wanted to, but just couldn't settle on one. All she knew was that she wanted it to start with a J. So, after weeks of not knowing what to call her, I told her that I'd just call her Joogily Moogily, at least until she came up with something. We both laughed, but I did start calling her that.
Well, a few months rolled by, during which time I had shortened her nickname to Joogsie. Wifey didn't like it, but still hadn't come up with a name. Finally, she settled on Samantha. Yeah, where's the "J"? It's absent. But Joogsie stuck for me, and I've called her that ever since.
That was over 8 years ago. This summer she celebrates her 9th birthday. That's old for a Dane and we're watching her fade. Her heart and mind are still puppyish, but the body just isn't keeping up anymore, as she is evidently in pain. Hearts are breaking in the Johnson home.
We're changing up her diet and giving her meds for pain, which she's responding to nicely. While we doubt we'll see our bounding puppy again, we are hoping to extend her life and provide comfort, perhaps granting her a couple more years before her body simply can't keep up anymore or the pain becomes unbearable. Ten years is ancient for a Dane. We'll see if God grants it.
We're grateful to God for our loyal friend, who's been by my side almost incessantly except when I travel. Even now, she rests within view (almost within reach), keeping guard where she can watch out the window while I get to hear her gentle snores.