Reposted and expanded from an earlier comment.

Today marks the one year anniversary of the passing of Malamute Jack, a.k.a. Mr. Jack, a.k.a. Buddy...plus a plethora of additional nicknames that he earned in the too-brief time we had with him.

We lost him to bone cancer; he was mobile, stoic, and still having more good days than bad, but the vet's recommendation weighed heavily upon us. We knew if I wasn't around at a time when he had significant issues - if it was only HawkWife - then she'd be helpless to assist him, and at least one other leg was starting to show signs that the cancer was taking its toll. I couldn't do that to them. Neither of them deserved to be left helpless, dependent on me to be there or a passing stranger, or to have to wait while a call for help was responded to.

We showed him as much fun as we could until that fateful day was finally upon us, and gave him lots of extra-special attention, and then took him on his final ride.

It still hurts.

We miss him. We mention him many times a day, even still. And our little brown dog, Ember, misses him greatly.

My buddy.

I'm not finding it easy. He was with us for a relatively short time, and had come from a troubled background. He worked hard to be the best he could and to care for his family - he watched over us, literally as well as figuratively, and he still pokes his nose in (or at least a single strand of distinctively-Malamute fur) whenever he's most needed.

He's still with us in that sense. And, of course, in the box containing his ashes, upstairs. (Wifey and I can imagine him grumbling disagreement with any use of the reference "Jack - in the box.")

Here's a bit of Jack's story for folks. Actually, several bits.

This is Jack. In a hat.
  1. Someone to watch over me...
  2. You don't know Jack
  3. "Hannibal" Jack Malamute
  4. Whispers of Memory
  5. Jack has an aggressive form of bone cancer
  6. Mr. Jack has passed away

I really miss my big buddy. Mr. Jack. Malamute Jack. Jack the Malamoose. Buddy. Snapperhead. Banana-Boy. Carrothead. Mr. Woo. Snappy. Mr. Hissy-Face. The Monogrammed Malamute. Big Boy. Furball. Fur Factory.

Those are the most popular names he held, but it's not a complete list.


We still have our intrepid little dog - our "Little Woo" named Ember. (a.k.a. Ember the little brown dog. Snippet. Scorch. Ember-Elizabeth. etc.) I rescued her from the streets of a mid-sized OK town when she was 6 months old.

She's getting very wobbly - fifteen years will do that to a dog. Once in a while, she'll act like she's watching Jack (who was her favorite toy) - she'll circle, do a "play-slap" (or act like she's responding to one), then hare about like a younger version of herself playing with an invisible partner, leaping and swerving as if to avoid him or ducking as if he'd just leaped over her. She'll dodge, bounce, jump and keep her eyes on her invisible "foe" - and then, when she's "won," she'd act the way she used to when she was signalling that she'd had enough.

It's obvious that she misses him, too.

I gave Ember (a.k.a. "Ember-Woo" a.k.a. "Ember-dog" a.k.a. "Ember, the doggie of darkness" a.k.a. "Sasquatch" etc.) her name because she is a brindle-colored dog with black, brown and grey fur, and hints of reddish bits. She looked like a burnt ember; the name fit. (And until she was potty trained, she'd also had the nickname "Scorch" for the "burn marks" she'd make on the carpet...I became quite adept at carpet cleaning.)

We dote on her. Here's 30 seconds of Ember the little brown dog with her new bone - the bone we got her shortly after HawkWife & I celebrated our 10th anniversary, just a few short weeks ago.

(She's also trying for a driver's license. See why here: Driving Miss Ember (A "Little Woo" Tale)

She's a trip.

There's been a Malamute in my life for nearly 20 years. Now, I've just completed my first year without one - the big, fuzzy, opinionated and intelligent furballs leave a huge, gaping hole in one's heart, soul and family.

We're convinced he still pops in from time to time: we repeatedly find just a single, distinctively Malamute strand of fur in the weirdest, most significant places whenever he would normally appear to comfort one or both of us. It's been freaky-consistent, and a constant reminder of both his warm love and glaring absence.

Please keep Mr. Jack in your thoughts, if you can, amid all the other things going on. We miss him, and we think he misses us, too.


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