Just over two weeks ago now, we had to say goodbye to a very loved member of the Fealy Family, our little dog Jerry. I grew up on a farm so I am no stranger to the fact that animals come and go, having seen many animals killed for meat, humane purposes and pest management. So, I was a little surprised by how hard it was to say goodbye to Jerry. We had to have him put down as he was nearly twelve years old and had become too sick, a result of a disease in his gums (yes – he did have the worst set of teeth and smelliest breath getting around!). We have missed Jerry lots these last few weeks. We keep expecting him to be waiting at the door when we get home, to see him curled up in his bed in our room, or come trotting back home satisfied with himself after scavenging some yummy treat off the worker’s in their camp kitchen!
It has taken me until now to feel like I can write a post about him without having to leave the computer in tears – such a sook I know! But, he really was a big part of our family and deserves to have his own post written to remember him, so here it is!
Jerry (also known as Jezza, Jerry Dog and Stinky) was a supposedly ‘purebred’ (we have our doubts!) maltese terrier, born in July 2002 and came to live with Matt and I when he was just over 8 weeks old, not long after we moved in to our very first place together. Matt bought him as a gift for me, along with an engagement ring, and presented them to me for my 22nd birthday. I had once said to Matt during our early ‘courting’ days that all a girl ever wanted was a puppy, a diamond ring and Prince Charming, so when Matt offered all of those things when he proposed, how could I possibly have said no?!?!
Jerry was our first baby, he was our practice run at what parenting would be like. Matt and I argued over whether he was allowed to sleep in the house or not, and after 2 nights of puppy Jerry howling outside our bedroom window, upset at being relegated to an old tv box kennel, we ‘compromised’, and Jerry spent the rest of his nights in his dog-bed at the foot of our bed! Matt learnt that while positive reinforcement when obedience training our ‘first child’ is good, if you over-reward with the doggy chocolate, then you will have dog who vomits chocolate bits for days and who then never responds to a doggy treat ever again!
We are so sad that Jerry never got to meet Fealy Bub No 4. He was very much a part of the baby years of all the kids! Matt and I distinctly remember lying in bed a few nights before Jack was due to arrive and having a conversation about how on earth we were going to love a child as much as we loved Jerry – little did we know! As our family grew, Jerry was always there! When Jack was born he would get up from his bed and follow me to the nursery for every night feed. When Toby was born, Jerry would wake and look at me from his bed with one eye open as I fumbled off to the nursery. By the time Lexi was born Jerry didn’t even wake, a progression much like a certain Dad!
Jerry went everywhere with us. Once we had the kids though, Jerry did get a little neglected. There was the time we nearly left him behind after a BBQ at Cedar Creek and were lucky enough to have another picnicker come running after our car with him. As well as the time that we left him at the park after loading 3 kids, 3 scooters and 3 bikes in the car and we didn’t realise until 9pm that night. We were lucky that he attached himself to another family at the park with a pram who had noticed us and they realised what had happened and handed him in at the vet for us. And the time that we nearly left him behind in the car park at the botanical gardens, we’re not sounding like the best of family for him are we? It was no wonder that every chance he got he would try to jump into someone else’s car!
Despite what it seems, we did love him so. We now miss the looks he used to give us while waiting to be invited to jump on to our laps on the couch, the sleeping ‘nightmare barks’ he used to do which would wake us in the night, the cleaning up of crumbs he would always do for me underneath the kids chairs at the table and the warm cuddles he would give at night lying on your tummy after a hard day at work or with the kids. He didn’t do any fancy tricks, he could not even chase a ball, but he put up with all of us and was a huge part of our family.