One being that has been left out of Jack’s death, is our baby pug, Julia Bleu. She has just turned five, and has held her position at Jack’s side. As I write, the tears keep flowing. However something remarkable has happened since Jack’s passing. Julia Bleu has assumed her PLACE; a place we were not sure she would ever rise into. She has been a constant source of comfort and as I write she sits squarely in my lap, licking the steady flow of tears that just keep pouring out.
In 2010, Camie and I started talking about getting another pug. A girl, named Julia Bleu. We wanted a black one to go with Jack, as Jackson was now 10, and starting to get up there. Jack continued to be loved by all of us, we never in his life spoke a cross word about him, or had anything but pure shear love for this magical little being. We found a breeder who had bred black pugs at the beginning of 2011. As life would have it, sadly our marriage was crumbling as well. We signed a contract with the breeder for her next batch of puppies. Even though the parents were both black, there was a chance that there would not be a black puppy. We signed the contract for a black female pug, and or pick of the litter. Times were hard at home, and each of us sought out Jackson’s unyielding love and comfort. All our tears, would come to fall upon Jack. On April 2, 2011 the litter was born. There were three black pups, 2 females and a male. Two days after the puppies were born, my daughter and I went armed with the name my wife had chosen, and drove an hour to the breeder’s to pick out of baby Julia Bleu. They were all so tiny and with eyes still closed you really couldn’t tell, but we picked Julia Bleu, and happily went home.
Julia Bleu came home on May 29th, 2011. Jack had no idea what to make of her. We had tortured him without mercy with the addition of our Siamese-mixed 8 week old kitten earlier. Jack being tan light the color of the kitten’s mother, was the best thing ever for our wily kitten, Greyer. Greyer did everything he could to be with Jack. Poor patient Jack put up with all that Greyer dished out. Greyer took to trying to nurse off of Jack, and with the kitten sucking away on Jackson’s fur, Jack just sighed heavily and never moved. He was just as patient with our daughter, who on occasion would dress up Jack in clothes. However Julia Bleu was even crazier than Jack. Jack had no idea what to do with this little wild, black fury teeth bearing soul. He was so patient, and never once growled or snapped at naughty Julia Bleu. Jack had every good reason to bite and snarl, but he put up with Julia Bleu as he always so gently demurred.
Life changed for ALL of us in July 2011. Camie and I reached a point where it was time to separate. I chose to leave, and Camie was not keeping Julia Bleu under any circumstances. My saddest words were to my daughter, as I promised to see her the very next morning and told her just how much I loved her. My most important words were to Jackson. Can you imagine? My marriage is crumbling, my world is falling apart, and my most important words were to my best friend, Jack. I took him aside and held him real close. He sensed the tension and was fraught with worry. I said, “Jack please listen to me. I love you my friend and I need you to do something for me.” “Please,” I pleaded, “take care of our Bella and be there for Camie. I love you Jackson and I would leave them with no one else but you.”
So began my life with little Julia Bleu. I was sad and broken; she was young and filled with a lot of hurricane and a little sunshine. As the years have passed, we have all come to love Julia Bleu. How could you possibly not love this thirteen pound being with bright black shiny fur? Trying to follow in Jack’s hallowed paw-prints was no easy task. As a female, she was an Alpha, and unlike the always agreeable Jack, Julia Bleu with a great spirit has a mind all her own.
Jack and Julia were inseparable when they were together. The many pictures of the two of them, are some of the many mementos Bella needs upon her arrival home. So it was with great delight on Friday night, when Julia Bleu greeted the ailing Jack. Mother nature is so filled with wonder, without nary a word, Julia Bleu was calm. She wore a worried look I had yet to see her express. She laid with Jack right through to the end. I know Jack was comforted by her for the very first time.
Since Jack’s sudden passing, Julia Bleu has not been right. We had lifeless Jack in his bed until we brought him to the vets on Sunday. I should have thought better for poor Julia Bleu, she smelled and realized death more than I ever could. She has yet to eat, so today we are going to see the vet. Praying this incident hasn’t traumatized her too bad.
We went to the vet, and on the ride up, I marveled at Julia Bleu’s meteoric rise over the last couple of days. She has displayed and shared a great deal of emotional fortitude and basic human empathy; truly a rarity.
The vet explained Julia Bleu was in deep mourning. It can happen to animals just like humans, and sometimes can be quite significant. The vet decided to run some blood tests, and while examining her noticed a growth on her bottom side. Without much concern, the vet decided to aspirate it just to be safe. All seemed well, we were all still in mourning, and I made my way home with my newly emotive Julia Bleu. We got home, and I tried one more time to feed her. To my delight and surprise she readily ate….I hadn’t realized Julia Bleu’s capacities and she was just as much affected by Jack’s passing, and my stress as anyone else was.
I was so happy she ate, and I grabbed her up and snuggled her close. There is no replacing Jack, but to see Julia rising was purely a gift. I called the vet to check on the aspiration and blood results. At only five, and so full of life I didn’t really have a worry. I called and asked for Julia’s results. “Please hold on a minute while I see if the doctor is available,” said the front desk person. I was a bit taken back, why did I need a doctor to give me normal results? “Hello is this Corey?” “Yes, doctor,” I said. “Well the blood labs look fine, but I have a serious concern.” As soon as I heard those words my stomach bottomed out. “The aspiration is not good at all. It appears to be cancer and surgery is required right away.” Honestly I thought as I reached out to pet Julia Bleu, this really can’t be happening. “Okay”, I said. “Please just give me the entire picture.” “I understand Corey, so let me make it simple. There are three stages. If the growth comes back a stage 1 or 2, Julia Bleu should be all set. The tears for my baby pug filled my eyes, cancer I thought, how must worse could it get. “If it is stage three than it probably has spread.” “Thank you doctor, could somebody call me back with an estimate as soon as possible.” “Yes Corey of course , and this really needs to happen as soon as possible. ” I said as I held my tiny Julia Bleu so tight, “Whenever you can take her I will do right by her.” “I am so sorry for this news, “the doctor trailed….”It is fine, Julia Bleu is going to be fine lets just take care of this.”
I got off the phone and fought off my tears of disbelief. I was just starting a new found love in this being. I am not sure why I am being tested so much, but as I held Julia I promised her I would do right by her as I had by Jack.
BORN THIS WAY -2016