By Matt Rosenman

This article is a personal reflection on the life of my old dog and forever best friend. If you do not appreciate dogs, this article may be a waste of time for you. If you have ever owned a dog, or if you didn’t but still appreciate them, you will be able to fully relate.

I grew up with two dogs; their names were Jake and Shadow. Shadow was the older, wiser dog, and Jake (pictured above) was the goofy, playful one. I loved them both for different reasons, but they were always there for me.

I lost Shadow one summer day in high school, and at the time, it was one of the worst days of my life. She went peacefully, but that did not take my pain away.

With every ending comes a new beginning. That day marked the beginning of a newfound friendship with my Golden Retriever, Jake.

Dogs can teach us so much, but their unconditional love is the greatest lesson of all.

If you love and trust somebody, you’ll give anything for them.

Through the years, Jake became my best friend. After losing my first dog and his lifelong playmate, we both had a large void in our lives to fill; we found it in each other. If you have never owned a dog, you will never fully understand the bond that I formed.

Jake was a goofy dog, and somehow always had a huge smile on his face. He would greet me at the door every single time I walked in with kisses and a smile. Before bed, he would “say goodnight” to me and rest his head on the side of my bed, waiting for me to pet him before he lay down. Every morning, he would get up and greet me as I left my room.

When I was sad, he could always tell and would always come to me and offer me whatever help he could. I don’t know how, but a dog can tell when you are upset and will do anything to cheer you up and see you smile.

Jake did so much for me, and I always wanted to return the favor.

He was always afraid of thunderstorms and would run down to the basement to escape them. One night, the storm was really bad, and I could see him sitting at the bottom of the stairs, fear in his eyes. I passed up an opportunity to go out with my friends, ordered Chinese food, and sat on the couch with him in the basement for the entire night. I’ll never forget that night, and I think that is a memory he took with him as well.

Toward the end of his life, I could tell Jake was slowing down. He wasn’t as playful as usual, but he was still as goofy and happy as ever. As he lay on the floor of my room one afternoon, I sat down next to him and cried. I told him that I didn’t want him to leave me and that I was going to miss him so much. Jake licked my hand.

You may think dogs don’t understand what you’re saying, but I really think they do.

It wasn’t very long after that when my parents called me home, telling me that I needed to say goodbye to Jake. When I got home, he was simply lying on the floor, but the look in his eyes was totally vacant. Jake was alive, and it seemed like he was holding onto his life for something, and I think that something was to say goodbye.

How do you say goodbye forever to your best friend? I did, and it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

I cried so much. I cried more that night than the rest of my life combined.

They put Jake down, which was inevitable. But when my father called me from the vet, I couldn’t believe what he told me.

My dog had a tumor in his stomach the size of a football. With a tumor that large, it means it had been growing for quite some time. When my father told the vet that Jake showed no signs of pain, the vet was astonished.

My dog was experiencing so much pain, but he never showed it.

I felt horrible upon hearing that, but it opened up my eyes. He must have been in pain for so long, but his love for us and his will to stay by my side kept him going.

This dog loved us unconditionally and never wanted to leave us. No matter how much pain he was in, it was tolerable because of the love in his heart.

From that day, I learned a very valuable lesson, and my outlook on life still reflects it.

Love heals all wounds.

If you truly love someone, everything in life is okay. I’m currently in a great relationship with my soul mate, and whenever we’re together, everything seems perfect. If there is a rough patch in my life, she is always there to make it better.

A dog loves on a higher level than we could ever comprehend. If you treat your dog well enough and create a mutual bond, there is nothing your dog can’t overcome for you. As humans, we need to realize how strong our love can be, too.

I haven’t gotten another dog like Jake, and I know I never will.

I miss my best friend, but he left me with lifelong memories and a valuable lesson that I want to share with everyone.

Spread love with every single fiber of your body. And when you find love, be it with family, best friends, or a significant other, hold onto it and cherish it forever.

“Eventually you will come to realize that love heals everything, and love is all there is.”
Gary Zukav

Thank you, Jake.

Matt Rosenman is a web and graphic designer who recently started to provide online support for the many people out there who are afraid to follow their dreams and go after what they love. He is encouraging those who long for and define success as pure happiness, a comfortable living, and never spending one day feeling like you’re “working” to experience and move through the frustrations and sacrifices because at the top of every mountain, there is a beautiful view to be witnessed. Matt can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.