Rainbow Bridge: Jessie

By Treva Bjerke

Jessie2It is with extreme sadness and heartbreak I share with you that yesterday we helped Jesse cross the bridge.  He was days shy of his 12th birthday.

Jesse came to MWCR when he was about 18 months old.  I was the MWCR treasurer at the time, and at 10 p.m. on a Sunday evening, I got a call that there was a young collie at the Oakdale Emergency vet who was dropped off with GI Bleeding due to Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) on Friday with instructions if they couldn’t find him a home to euthanize.  The vet said he was a wonderful dog, and they were able to stabilize and was wondering if MWCR would be willing to take him in, otherwise they would euthanize at 6:30 a.m. Monday morning when they close.

The Board approved bringing him in.  So I went to Oakdale and got this lovely guy.  He was HUGE, and definitely not your normal collie.  He was big, and thin, and long, long legs.  He looked more like a borzoi than a collie.  He had a long history.  Jesse was also a barker, so his previous owners had him de-barked, then he had issues with IBD and they could no longer afford to keep him.  He had bled about three times, was on meds since he was a puppy and the special diet, was sent to the gastroenterologist, was on IVs many times, had received blood, etc.  When Jesse came out of the ICU, he looked at me with those big brown eyes and my heart melted. I fostered him, and failed, and adopted him shortly after bringing him in.  When he came to us he was on a special diet of venison/duck, and 38 pills a day (combination of GI drugs, antibiotics, and steroids).  Within six months, he was stable.  No more bleeding.  He was weaned off all medications and just being maintained by the strict diet.  He thrived. Jessie

He was my Velcro dog. He’s the only dog I could completely trust off lead – he never left my side. He was great with the kids and other dogs. He was smart, and goofy, and funny, and a joy. Jesse was not your standard collie. He was tall, big, he couldn’t close his mouth because his teeth were deformed, so he swallowed his food whole. He had cluster seizures and was put on medication for that. Everyone loved Jesse.

After we stabilized Jesse’s IBD, he only flared (bled) twice and needed to be put on short term meds.  Not bad for the last 11 years.  Three years ago, he had a bout of aspiration pneumonia.  He went to the ICU for three days and almost didn’t make it.  The vet felt that due to his de-barking procedure, he was more prone to aspiration. So he survived that too.  Last year, his pneumonia came back for the fourth time, and we put him on long term antibiotics.

Over the last year, Jesse became weaker and weaker.  A few months ago, often he couldn’t get up without one of us lifting up his be-hind.  But he remained happy.  We were in the routine of lifting his back end when he would go in and out.  If he fell, we’d pick him up.  If he couldn’t get up, he’d whine and we’d come and pick him up.  It sounds worse than it was, but it worked.  Lately the bad days were more than the good days.  So last week, I made the appointment.

I’ve been with every dog I’ve ever owned when this time comes.  And it’s never easy.  But with Jesse there was this bond.  I knew it was time, and I knew it was the right thing to do.  He never struggled, didn’t pull back his paw, just looked at me with those big brown eyes, closed them, and laid down his head.  I’ve never had a dog relax to the point of closing his eyes when they passed, but Jesse did.  I know he was ready.

Jessie1Last night I had a dream.  Jesse was in a field of sheep.  He was running and jumping, and he had a booming collie bark – the way a collie should bark … not the hoarse “huff, huff” that was typical Jesse.

Thank you MWCR for giving me the opportunity to be his mom and have him in my life.  I will miss my Jesse for the rest of my life.

3 thoughts on “Rainbow Bridge: Jessie

  1. I lost my little Kei in January at age 3. She too suffered serious IBD issues and had been dumped along with other Collie breeding stock on a highway in California. We fought like crazy to bring her back to health and get her socialized, and she stuck to me like glue. She got a fungal disease and because of her IBD and associated immune issues, she couldn’t fight it off. Your story of Jesse reminds me of Kei, though we were only lucky enough to have her for two years. It’s never easy letting them go, but Kei was ready too – I just wish we could have had her longer. So glad Jesse had such a good, long life.

  2. T: I extend my deepest sympathy in the passing of your Jesse. Your tribute for Jesse was ever so tender. He needed you & your family. Maybe you needed him. There are just some dogs who become our special “heart dogs”. I met you, your children & Jesse years ago at one of the first MWCR Collie frolics at the Wolf Center, MN. I thought then that you had a Borzoi . . . . We chatted then & you shared his story. After many years of experiencing Collie love & fostering rescued Collies, I understand & appreciate good breeding. I truly understand backyard breeding now.
    Rest in peace Jesse. You will be truly missed by your family. Especially by your chosen “life guardian”. V.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s