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                 My  Jasper
                                                                         by Walter Shiplov

We got him when he was 3 months old; such a cute pup with oversized paws. I had my wife, Laurie, drive home from Mt. Vernon, Illinois, while I held him close to my chest. Feeling safe & secure, we both bonded on that 4 ½ hour trip home. His name was Jasper, and he was such a cute puppy.

When we got home, he met Luke, our little Min Pin. Luke tried to be the dominant dog, but it was no contest. Jasper thought Luke was playing and sent his big puppy paws on Luke’s head. Game, set, match and from that point on, Jasper was the boss.

Paper training came first, then outside every 4 hours. He trained easily. However, he had separation anxiety, and chewed on our wicker furniture in the four seasons room. Eventually, he grew accustomed to us leaving for work, however, the furniture WAS ruined!

Jasper grew quickly and my wife regretted the lap dog she had created as he grew bigger and bigger! He was 100 lbs. at 10 months old, and 110 lbs. at a year old. His heart grew as well, as he became the most loving, loyal and protective family dog I have ever been around. I have never been closer to any animal since I was a kid. I know that I never loved any companion more than my “Bud”. His name was Jasper, but I, and only I, had an affectionate name for him, “Bubby”. When I called that name, he would sit and just stare at me, as if to say, “I love you, too”.

Without a doubt, Jasper would have laid down his life, not just for me, but for Laurie and our son, Kyle, who has a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. He had a sense about him, as many dogs do; he could tell good people from others that might not be so trustworthy. When I would answer the door, he would place himself in front of me, you know, just in case.

He had a humanlike empathy, like when our Luke was dying, he would lie down with him so he would not be alone. My son would tell me, if we were away on vacation, that he would not eat for a few days. I know when we got home, he wouldn’t let me out of his sight. I only hope that when I go, there is a dog heaven, and we can walk together like we used to. You know, all I had to do was put my arm down by my side and open my hand, and he would step under my hand and walk along with me, always at my side. When I had trouble going up and down the stairs because of bad back, he would allow me to put my hand on his shoulder for support. Like I said, he had a lot of empathy.

I know there are a lot of people who have stories that tell of the dogs in their lives and this is mine. Jasper died the week before Easter Sunday 2017. The Vet found a large tumor and transitory cancer cells. I held my Jasper’s head and talked softly as he passed over the Rainbow Bridge.

People have told me how sorry they are for my loss, but Jasper is not lost. Even though he is not physically here, he’s here, right here, in my fond memories, and always deep in my heart.