Lost My Best Friend

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Minister of Fire
Mar 17, 2009
Las Vegas, NV
I knew it would be my turn to post one of these threads eventually. I was just hoping to put it off as long as possible. We had to put down our Jesse James Sunday night. It wasn't the tumor in his neck, or the cancer in his lungs. Not even the worn out knees and hip. Sunday was a beautiful warm day and he was out playing ball, running, jumping, etc. Mrs. Flatbedford had even taken him for a walk along the river earlier in the day. About the time we decided to stop our work outside and enjoy the late afternoon sun he started coughing or gagging. He was in distress. He couldn't get anything up and he was whimpering in pain. Mrs Flatbedford and I brought him to the 24/7 emergency vet and they brought him in for examination. The vet came out and brought us into a separate room. She explained that he had bloat or Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus. It happens when, for unknown reasons, a dog swallows a bunch of air and his stomach fills and can twist 180 or even 360 degrees closing the entrance and exit. If not treated with major surgery it is fatal. The vet advised us that at 10 1/2 years old and already fighting cancer he may not even survive surgery or be able to heal. After discussion with my stepson and the vet we decided to let him go. We were able to hold and pet him until he left his old, broken body.
We got married and bought the house in the summer of 2003 and Jesse James became part of the family in January 2004. He was just 10 weeks old and I could hold him in the palm of my hand. Over the last 10 1/2 years he was there for my stepson when he went through his teen years and all the drama that comes with them. He kept my wife company during my long, day into night work weeks and comforted her through her diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer over this past winter. My nieces played with him at family gatherings. All our friends knew and loved him, even those that weren't "dog people". In fact those were the people that he worked hardest to get attention from. He and I walked every morning and night no matter the weather,and he was always with me outside. My wife and I did not have children. He was our baby. We loved and cared for him as he grew from about 12 to over 70 pounds.
In February of last year he developed a tumor in his neck. Further examination showed that he also had cancer in his lungs. Two vets told us that the tumor was inoperable. It was too close to too many blood vessels. My wife was determined to save him and, against my wishes spent quite a bit of money on radiation treatment for the neck tumor and started a mild chemotherapy to fight the lung issues. The radiation beat him up a bit, but, magically the neck tumor shrunk down to nothing and his health improved. It was as if we had a puppy again. He had the twinkle back in his eyes! We cooked his food from all natural ingredients at home and my wife found all kinds of supplements to keep him healthy. At follow up visits the vet was amazed at how well he was doing. In the last few weeks the neck tumor grew a bit but all was going well until Sunday. Not only did the xrays show the stomach bloat, but it also showed that the cancer in his lungs had worsened a bit in the last year. While we lost him suddenly I am kinda thankful that it worked out this way rather than watching him slowly decline as the cancer, his worn out knees and old age took its toll.
Even though I knew this was coming for the last year or so it still hurts like hell. Anybody who has loved a dog knows what it feels like.
Looks like I have written quite a story here. I'll finish up with some pictures of my best friend over the last 10 years.
IMG00434-20100523-1829.jpg 2011-07-09_20-39-58_390.jpg jjtongue.jpg 2010-11-30_14-20-16_33.jpg
RIP JJ 11/17/2003 - 4/13/2014
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Minister of Fire
Mar 17, 2009
Las Vegas, NV
A few more pictures of our baby.
IMG_1235.JPG IMG_0355.JPG IMG_0400.JPG DSCN2463.JPG
IMG_1333.JPG IMG_1086.JPG DSC04840.JPG DSCN2592.JPG
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Accidental Moderator
Sep 30, 2007
Bend, OR
Always so damned tough. Sorry for your loss. Rick


Minister of Fire
Aug 8, 2011
Long Island NY
Sorry to hear about this FB. Sounds like you always did right by him, even at the end and I'm sure he loved you for it.


Staff member
It's hell to lose a good friend.

This pic says it all.


Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
Sorry to hear about this Steve, yet can also feel relief for your puppy. Like with most of us, he will still live in your memories.


Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
Unity/Bangor, Maine
I both hate and like posts like this at the same time. I hate to read about someone losing a beloved pet and friend (and yeah, I'm not afraid to admit I teared up a bit . . . I think many of us folks would admit to tearing up when we've lost such a great buddy) . . . but at the same time I really liked reading about JJ's life story . . . a fitting memorial to a good buddy.

Sorry for you loss Flatbed. :(


Minister of Fire
Jan 29, 2012
Shenandoah Valley, VA
Sounds like Jesse was just as lucky to have y'all as you were to have him. Every dog deserves a family like yours.
Sorry for your loss, Flatbed.


Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2010
Michigan's U.P.
Sure is a rough time for the two of you. Sounds like not only did Jesse have a full life, but he also made your life also was fuller! 99 had to put down what is best described as her dog, over 7 years ago. She is still not quite ready for another.
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Minister of Fire
Dec 10, 2009
Coastal Virginia
What a sweet, sweet baby. How lucky you all were to have each other. We are so sorry for your loss. The pictures say it all- Jesse James was a happy baby, all the way to the very end. We particularly love the picture with the gray whiskers, the tennis ball in the snow. For us that picture says it all. Your baby was a happy puppy for his entire life. :) :) <:3~


Minister of Fire
Bloat is something that dog owners should learn to recognize since it's one of the worst things a dog can endure. Deep chested dogs are more susceptible to it and some owners will have there dogs stomach sutured to their body to try and keep the stomach from torsion. A dog like a Great Dane or a Greyhound would be the kind I'd think about having that done to. I'm sorry for your loss.


Minister of Fire
Oct 3, 2007
I must have written five sentences and then erased them-just can't find the words... Jesse reminds me an awful lot of our lab Hank. Just the thought of losing him scares the heck out of me. Not that it will make it any easier right now, but know that you did the kindest, most selfless thing you could do for him by letting him go. We walk a fine line in caring for our animals, and often we hold onto them for too long because we're too afraid to let go of them.


Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
South Puget Sound, WA
I'm sorry to hear of your loss of a companion and good friend FB. It's damn tough losing a cherished pet.


Feeling the Heat
Feb 15, 2011
Southern Ma
I feel your pain,lost my blackey black lab a year ago Feb.14. Had him for 8 years then one morning
he had trouble standing up so off to vets seems he had a goth in his head so we put him down. On the good side we still got sister dog Misty a yellow lad mix she;s 12 but showing age now. We got both at a shelter as we have a farm we took both even tho they were big dogs we had the room for them to run.
Blackey was funny he thought he could fly as he would go for the turkey buzzards,hawks and wild turkeys,he would see them and take off full tilt can still see him trying to get them. GOOD MEMORY'S
The little girl dog lays next to as I type nothing better than a good dog.


Minister of Fire
Sep 27, 2011
Dayton, OH
Flatbedford, I am so sorry for your loss. But you have entered the club of the luckiest men who ever lived. You got the privilege of sharing time with one of the finest representatives of his species. You got ten years when so many of us get single digits. That's real wealth. Grieve for now but remember there's a dog-shaped hole in your heart and some funny looking little boy or girl is coming to fill it. You may not think you're ready, but your heart can honor the love of the past while developing a love in the present.



Minister of Fire
Jan 22, 2010
mid-ohio via St.Croix USVI
Flatbed, sorry for your loss. We lost our Hailey last year, think about her everyday. Otis helps to fill the void but it is really obvious that a St Bernard is not trying to cuddle you on the bed, which she did everynite.


Minister of Fire
Mar 17, 2009
Las Vegas, NV
Thanks to all for your kind and inspirational words. I liked Soundchasm's "dog shaped hole in the heart". We will have another puppy for sure. We like having a dog around and we think we are pretty good dog parents too. We have decided to take our time and find the right new addition to the family. We know there are many options on what to look for and where to look. I also want to be sure that we are starting fresh with our new little guy/gal and not just trying to replace JJ.
I keep expecting to see him around the house. I'm still getting up early enough for a walk around the block before I head off to work. Its a lot like the feeling I get when I stop running the stove in the spring. A part of my life is missing. Damn I miss him! We always said he was pure love.


Minister of Fire
Nov 2, 2008
So. Me.
Making the decision to bid adieu to a beloved pet is alternately the toughest and most liberating decision we'll ever make. It's the ultimate "grown up test" because it involves putting yourself on the backburner, and being an advocate for a pet who can't speak for himself. You passed the test, Flat.! And I'm sorry you had you to do it. Sucks, all the way around. Jesse had a great life and it was you and missus that provided it. That's a good thing, a very good thing!

Your next dog will reap all the benefits of the lessons your beloved Jesse James taught you; how great is that?

I bet the house is a lot quieter now... and I know how deafening that silence can be. I bet you miss him a lot.
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Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2011
Carroll County, MD
In another time, another place, your friend will be romping along side of you.
Til then, may you have your memories to ease the ache in your heart.


Moderate Moderator
Staff member
Aug 2, 2006
Northern IL
For a friend and part of the family that asks so little and gives so much - it is always tough. Take some solace in knowing that you gave the pup a good home and he lived a good life because of it. Very sorry to hear of your loss, Steve.


Minister of Fire
Feb 23, 2008
Northern MI - in the mitten
and not just trying to replace JJ.
I'm sure you know this Steve, but this really isn't possible......but only because every one of 'em has their own personality.
We've got 4 labs right now, and I think all the time about when one of them might have to go.....had to do it more times than I can stand to think about.
You did the right thing.
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