Jajjuzza's Memorial


May 5, 1991 - April 12, 2004


May you rest in peace my best friend and soul mate


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  It was on May 5, 1991 that I met the love of my life! I had been going to the Galveston, TX animal shelter for weeks looking for my perfect mate and it wasn't until I saw Jajjuzza that I knew I had found her! She came in the package of a 1.5-2 year old female Australian Shepherd/Catahoula mix.  I still remember seeing this strange looking dog in the cage and how she came right up to me and was beaming with energy and love.  The first thing I noticed about her was her spots and then I noticed she had one blue eye and one brown eye. This really caught my attention as I had never seen such a unique looking dog.  Once I had her out of the cage and on the leash she practically pulled me in every direction. I really think dogs in animal shelters feel horrible about their circumstances - actually like they are in a prison. This is why they all come to the front and beg to be let out. I walked a few other dogs but quickly came back to my girly as I just knew it she was the one for me and I was the one for her.  After I signed the adoption papers and brought her to the truck, she got loose and almost got hit by a car. It was the first inkling that she had wanderlust! Weeks later I was informed that she had been a stray dog on the west end of Galveston Island and was garbage picking to stay alive. No wonder she was only 42 pounds and her ribs were sticking out! It took a good ten years for her to get rid of that garbage picking habit. Jajjuzza also had heartworms which were successfully eradicated - another problem from being a stray. In case you are wondering about her name - I made it up! I can't say exactly how the name came to me but she definitely fit a "Jajjuzza!"



  From the moment I brought her into my apartment she made herself at home.  She  immediately wanted to sleep with me and snuggle with me at every opportunity.  While I was at work she chewed my mail and took the toilet paper off the roll and ate my glasses and a pen on the couch.  She loved to run around and not come back for a while - a hold out from the garbage picking days.  She always ran crooked too, I called her a sidewinder, like how a snake slithers crooked.  Many years later I would realize why she moved like that - spondylosis.  Her spine was never good from the get go and that essentially is what did her in. The first three years we were together we lived in apartments, so I had no enclosed yard for her but I made sure she got plenty of recreational activities.  Shortly after I adopted her she won a ribbon for "most spots" in the animal shelter's dog show. Her spots eventually filled in solid black but for years she looked exactly like the photo (above) on the day I adopted her.



  We did plenty of activities together like going for long walks, surfing in the Gulf of Mexico and walking along the beach, visiting friends and going every week to a local senior citizens home.  Jajjuzza was a natural born pet therapy dog - she just craved the attention and gave her love out freely, much more than she got from the residents which is why they loved and adored her so.  We began by calling out numbers for bingo and then we moved on to visiting the residents in their rooms. She was an instant hit from the start. She had one fan in particular who indulged her with candy and even let her on her bed!  Jajjuzza was so into it that when we approached the senior citizens home she would cry and bark furiously until I parked the truck. She would literally leap out and beat me to the front door.  It was as though she was destined to do that kind of work and that she knew what a positive impact she made on the lonely residents there who had nothing but dull and boring lives to contend with. It was a sad day, when after three years we had to say our goodbyes to everyone as we prepared to move to south Florida.  While in Texas we had two birthday parties for her and both were hits, especially with Jajjuzza who absolutely loved and adored all of her guests and well wishers!



  While living in Texas we went on many trips together. She loved to ride in the pick up truck and was game to go anywhere I went. We went camping together, drove the 4 hours to my parents house countless times, went all over Texas and even went across the border to Mexico one day where she was served her own plate of food at an outdoor restaurant. They must have thought I was some weird American!!  Jajjuzza had a willing heart and a free spirit who had adventure in her soul.  She never complained about anything and was always ready to give someone who needed it her love.  I vividly remember her going from lap to lap one time as she said hello to everyone in the room. That was just the kind of dog she was!




  Jajjuzza and I continued pet therapy work in Florida but towards the end of her life it was apparent she could no longer continue to enrich the lives of the elderly.  As her spondylosis worsened she was unable to walk properly or control her bowels.  One day at the senior citizens center she pooped on the floor while walking.  It was the first sign that her condition had worsened.  Shortly thereafter she began having trouble getting up and then eventually she was unable to get up on her own at all.  For the last two years of her life I had to pick her up off of the floor and she had no control over her bowels.  At the very end, she could no longer stay standing for more than a few seconds.  At least her bladder wasn't affected so the clean up wasn't too bad.




  The last six months of her life I began to pray that God would take her in her sleep because I was too selfish to put her to sleep but yet I didn't want her to suffer anymore than she had.  Other than her spondylosis, the vet said she was amazed at how well Jajjuzza was and that it was obvious I had taken great care of her all of these years. Her hips were in good shape which was a surprise given her age and breed. She was, however overweight, in part due to her inability to move around.





  On Saturday morning, April 10, 2004 I got her up off of the floor and she promptly fell down. After a third attempt was made she hobbled out to the back yard but as she squatted to pee she fell down and peed all over herself. It was at that moment that God answered my prayer - like I was hit with a 2X4 on the head actually - it was instantly crystal clear that she needed to be put to sleep. I guess I was finally ready to let her go.  I called the vet and made arrangements for her to come to the house and put to her to sleep on the following Monday. I spent the entire weekend crying and feeling awful but then when Monday came I felt somewhat relieved. The irony was that shortly before the vet arrived, Jajjuzza and I were laying on the floor, snuggled together for our last love fest when she began licking the tears flowing down my face. It was because I was preparing to have her life ended that I was so upset and yet, here she was the one who once again was comforting me!! That was THE ESSENCE of our relationship. She always made me feel better about life. Jajjuzza made me feel special simply because I had her - I always thought of her as a person rather than a dog. She was an icon to me and I always knew that we had a very special love for each other and a very special connection and relationship.  I have never loved a human being as much as I loved Jajjuzza and I don't expect that I ever will. I dreaded the day she would have to depart this earth and I talked about it openly with family and friends which helped.  I think that because she had become so debilitated it was easier to make the decision to allow her to pass to the next life.  In the end I had to truly love her enough to let her go. It was the worst thing I had ever gone through in my life.


  When the vet and vet tech arrived they couldn't have been more kind and professional. Our vet knew that Jajjuzza couldn't be transported to the office easily so she readily agreed to come to the house. I wanted it that way anyway since Jajjuzza had lived in the house for many years and I didn't want her last hour of life painfully spent on a trip to die in a clinical setting.  We had to put Herodeus in the bedroom because he suddenly became aggressive - I think he sensed something was going to happen. Much to my surprise though, Jajjuzza never suspected anything. The vet took one last look at her and said she was in bad shape and needed to be put to sleep. This comforted me in knowing I had made the right decision. Jajjuzza could have lived longer but for what point? Just to keep me company, just to make me feel better about life? It occurred to me that I had only been thinking of ME, not HER. Once the vet put her IV in and gave her some sedatives, she asked me if I was "ready." I said I was ready as tears gushed down my cheek.  I held my very dear friend and soul mate in my arms, kissing her head and telling her how much I loved her, how much she had meant to me and that she was going to a better place where she could run again and would have no pain.  The vet began to inject the lethal cocktail of medication while telling Jajjuzza what a good girl she was and how she loved her too.  Within three seconds the vet said she was "gone."  She checked to see her heart had stopped and then declared she had passed.  The contents of the syringe had not even been completely emptied into her veins. I was relieved it went fast and painless for my girl. 


  On April 12, 2004 I said goodbye to my dearest friend and soul mate. Jajjuzza was approximately 15 years old at the time of her passing.  We had been together three weeks shy of the best 13 years of my life. I had her privately cremated with her ashes put in a nice wooden box with an engraved plaque. I had the dates engraved from when I adopted her through the day she died. No one knew her birthday or exact age so I used the date we met instead.


  Life after Jajjuzza has never been the same.  I have sought to find another dog like her - another soul mate - but to no avail. That is OK because that just makes her even more special. I have come to realize that no other dog or anything else will ever replace her. I miss her so much words can't describe it. I cannot describe the connection we had except to say it was like a spouse, a child, a best friend all wrapped up into one furry bundle of love and joy. It was that and more...


  • It was living with someone who unconditionally loved me, giving me comfort and peace just because she was in the room with me or lying next to me.

  • It was waking up in the morning next to her knowing that she didn't move one inch from me all night.

  • It was the slurpy kisses waking me up in the morning.

  • It was splashing together in the ocean, body surfing in the waves together. 

  • It was the anticipation of coming home from work and spending the rest of the day together. 

  • It was snuggling under the covers at night to keep each other warm.

  • It was the comfort of knowing she was with me on long drives.

  • It was sharing volunteer work with the elderly, knowing that she really brightened up the day for many seniors.

  • It was the way she bounced into a room, lighting it up with her love and positive energy.

  • It was because she laid her head on my chest while I read or watched TV or fell asleep.

  • It was because she was the most affectionate and attentive dog I've ever known.

  • It was because she was so in tune with my emotional and physical needs.

  • It was because she thoroughly loved people and truly gave them all her love and affection.

  • It was because she came to visit me at my office chair and nudged my arm or licked me in my ear.

  • It was because she wagged tail every time I came into a room.

  • It was a million reasons...


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DISCLAIMER:  This website was set up to SHARE my OWN experience with my reptiles, guinea pigs, ponds/fish, gardens and local wildlife and to post pictures and video of them. It was NOT SET UP to offer my opinion or expertise on ANY QUESTION that I am asked and what I post on this website should not be taken as "EXPERT ADVISE" or how to take care of reptiles, guinea pigs, ponds/fish, gardens or local wildlife. I AM NOT A REPTILE RESCUE GROUP, GUINEA PIG RESCUE GROUP, VETERINARIAN, REPTILE EXPERT, GUINEA PIG EXPERT, PONDS/FISH EXPERT, GARDEN EXPERT OR WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR! I have limited experience with reptiles, guinea pigs, local wildlife, ponds/fish and gardens, therefore, I am NOT QUALIFIED to give out advise or answer questions and you, as a visitor to this website, should not take anything on this website as expert advise or accurate information.  I present this website for fun and fun only - NOT as a reference website to instruct anyone on how to properly take care of reptiles, guinea pigs, local wildlife, ponds/fish or gardens.  I share how I DO THINGS for my reptiles, guinea pigs, local wildlife, ponds/fish and gardens and this is not intended for others to take as expert advise or to mimic. Furthermore, my political views are my own and not intended to offend, annoy, hurt or demean any person, entity or organization. I express my views as an American who has the right to free speech under the Constitution of the United States of America. Please feel free to set up your own website and express your views, post your pictures and video and share with the rest of us in cyberspace what your little corner of the world is like. Thank you very much for your kind understanding in appreciating the value and contents of this website.


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