1997? – 3/28/2008
We know little of Jessie’s life with her first owners. We have heard she lived with an elderly lady and her son for her first 9 years. The son drove a truck and left Jessie in the care of his Mother for the most part. Things turned bad for this elderly lady as she was placed in a nursing home, and Jessie was left to the kindness of a neighbor’s care when her owner went on 5 day driving assignments. Her owner soon realized that it was best to give Jessie up so she then went to a kennel where she waited for GSRNE and a foster Mom. This we assume was with great pain to Jessie’s owner and performed out of love for Jessie. Jessie became ill while in the kennel environment with whipworm and wasted away to 61 lbs. Jessie’s angel came along via GSRNE and in the form of Foster Mom, Dottie Paquet. Jessie was one sick lady but with the proper care and love she was nursed back to health over a 3 -month period. Jessie added another 10 pounds and although still very thin was now up to 71 lbs. Jessie’s foster Mom was caring for her in a method that provided discipline, exercise and affection. Dottie had reservations about giving Jessie up to adoptive parents as she had become very attached to Jessie. Dottie stuck to her guns as she had made a promise to a German shepherd (Shane) that she recently lost to disease. Dottie had promised Shane she would foster some German shepherds and find them good homes.
We, as Jessie’s new adoptive parents, had recently lost our German shepherd to disease and were searching on the Internet via the GSRNE web site and saw many German Shepherds needing homes. When we came across Jessie’s picture and story (an elderly gal looking for a retirement home) we knew we had a place in our lives for this sweet lady. We applied through GSRNE and were approved. The first meeting with Jessie and her Foster Mom went well, we knew from the moment we saw Jessie that we wanted her to enter into our pack/lives. Jessie was very comfortable and secure in her present Foster Home, receiving discipline, exercise (playing ball with her Foster Mom when we first met Jessie) and love. We played some ball and took her for a walk, wishing we could take her home with us. We know that GSRNE wanted us to think it over and the same for them. We called a couple of days later after giving this responsibility serious consideration and expressed our interest in adopting Jessie. We knew Jessie was an older dog, and we knew we would not have her with us for more than a few years. We knew we had love to give, and we had a great home to share with her. We said yes to Jessie and Jessie, GSRNE and Dottie said yes to us.
The parting of Jessie and her Foster Mom, Dottie was a difficult event to watch but both stood tough. Dottie had made a promise and Jessie seemed OK with the separation. You wonder what a dog thinks at a moment like this. Dottie had provided us with Jessie’s bed and a pillow case with Dottie’s scent. The car ride home went well and then came the next ride, a boat ride in the dark to our island house. Yes, Jessie was off to live on an island in the middle of Lake Winnipesaukee in NH, Cow Island. We arrived at our island dock; I remember helping Jessie out of the boat, and she almost stepped right back into the water. I don’t think she was seeing all that well and this was unfamiliar to her. We introduced Jessie to her new house/home and set up her bed in our bedroom. After a walk outside she settled right into her bed and remained there until daybreak. You can guess the next few days of walks in the woods, swimming in the lake, drinking water from the lake, chasing the ball, barking at ducks, chasing chipmunks and no danger of cars (there are no roads on Cow Island) she settled right in. Now I can’t remember if it was week one or week two that I was concerned about Jessie’s weight (she was not eating well and our vet indicated she could stand to put on another 10 pounds) so I started sautéing hamburger and chicken livers, adding this to her dry food mixed with some cooked rice. Jessie ate like this for the rest of her life, and we maintained her weight at 80 to 82 pounds. She usually finished all of her meal, both morning and evening. Jessie was in seventh heaven, eating good food, free to roam (never strayed far from our house), swimming at will, drinking lake water, playing with our neighbor’s dog, receiving discipline, exercise (two to four, one-mile walks every day) and love. Jessie joined our pack in September so by November we discouraged her from swimming in the cold. Soon the ice would start and we’d leave the island and head to our Killington home where she seemed just as comfortable. She liked the fireplace, meeting new people and being with her pack. Killington would last until Christmas and then we were off to family until early January; Jessie fit right in here also.
Mid-January brought us back to the island and a walk over the ice to the lake house. Jessie and her pack would settle down now for the winter. Lots of snow, lots of ice and lots of cold, Jessie seemed to thrive in the cold. Now is when I discovered that Jessie would ride anything with me, she even joined me on the snowmobile. She seemed to like anything that involved the word walk or ride. We now stayed on the island until there were signs of ice out, usually April 1st. I set some rules when we had our previous German shepherd, Jack. If you stayed out on the island for a winter you earned the surname, Island. So there was Island Bob, Island Penny, Island Jack and now Island Jessie.
Now the bad news: Jessie developed a small blister type wound around her anal area and it broke one evening in December 2007. We were unaware of this blister until this break occurred, a little liquid and some blood had appeared on the floor. Jessie seemed to treat this wound fairly well by herself over the course of the evening, but we took Jessie into the vets the next day as a precaution. Our vet examined Jessie and indicated her anal gland had developed a tumor and due to the hardness of this sac it was likely cancerous and had spread. Due to the likelihood of spreading the cancer still more, the vet advised against an operation. The vet gave us a time frame of 1 to 8 months and warned us about cancer attacking the lungs. Cancer in the lungs would be fast-spreading and a very unpleasant way of crossing that Rainbow Bridge. The vet indicated we could explore and confirm this by taking Jessie to the cancer diagnostic center in Manchester, which we did. Jessie had an ultrasound and this confirmed our fears, the cancer had spread to her liver, spleen and lymph nodes. They also indicated cancer was likely in her lungs and gave Jessie 1 to 6 months. After having Jessie in our family/pack for just a year and a half we decided to make her remaining days as happy as possible. We were praying Jessie could make it through another summer at the lake; she loved the freedom at the lake and had only experienced one summer there. Jessie’s remaining days consisted of three or four walks a day, stick gathering, snowmobile riding and eating her usual meal (which she loved) of sautéed hamburger and chicken livers mixed with dry food. Jessie lasted about 3 months before her breathing become very laborious. We also knew Jessie was not sleeping well and she only went for walks to please us. After serious consideration and thoughts of her suffocating, we decided Jessie’s time had arrived to take that walk over the Rainbow Bridge. We were not going to keep her alive just for us. So now she walks on that “other side” with our previous German shepherd, Jack. They play, run, walk, ride, breathe and eat; all the good things they enjoyed here on earth. And yes, someday we’ll join them.
Jessie passed away March 28, 2008 and we miss her every day. We want to hug her, kiss her on the nose, have those two-way conversations and some day we will. We love you, Island Jessie.
Island Penny & Island Bob