A Dog Named Jersey
Updated: Sep 7
“Flo, Jersey is gone.” This is the text message I received from my aunt 6 years ago. Although I was already expecting it, it still bored a hole in my heart. I really believed she could still live even until her 15th year. But I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Jersey was a mixed Dachshund. I used to call her a “fake Dachshund”. I had her when she was still 3 months old. I got her from my former boss. I remember when I fetched her from my boss’s house. I was trying to sneak her from my boss’s youngest son because he didn’t want to give her away. At first, I wanted to choose the hairy one but then I saw her and I just fell in love. While I was walking to the jeepney stop, my sandal’s strap snapped and I ended up limping with her in my arms. It’s a good thing she was just a tiny dog. I survived the walk until I reached the jeepney stop.
I named her Jersey because I named my previous dog, York, short for New Jersey and New York. My aunt and I used to name her dogs countries or cities before. We had China, Jordan, Fiji, Sydney, Kobe, Kenya, Venice and Beijing. : ) We had dogs ever since I was a little girl but it was when I was already working that I had my first dog, one that I would take care of and provide for by myself alone. The first one was York and then came Jersey. But it was with Jersey whom I had felt a deeper and unbreakable connection. Jersey gave me so much that I couldn’t even give her back. She gave me complete unconditional love. She was my shock absorber. Every time I felt down, she would just sit on my lap and snuggle. She would greet me every time I came home from work. She would sleep beside me in the middle of the night, climbing up to my bed from the floor. I would wake up in the morning being pinned to the wall. And she’s there, sleeping comfortably, having all the space to herself. If she was outside, she would knock at my door early in the morning. We played together. She would listen to my nonsense prattling, not caring if she didn’t understand as long as she looked at me attentively. I never felt more connected to a dog. She really went into my heart. The only thing I really regretted was that I wasn’t there when she needed me the most. I guess she got heartbroken that I left her when I went away to work abroad. I didn’t see it coming. I really thought she would still be there longer. Until now, it still makes me feel guilty, thinking I should have done more for her. Years ago, Jersey was stricken with parvo, an airborn virus which strikes on dogs. The veterinarian didn’t assure me that she would get out of it. I exhausted all my resources just to let her live. And she did. And I vowed to myself that I would take care of her more from then on. And I failed her. The last time I saw Jersey was 6 years ago. My aunt was telling me she was already sick and weak. When I saw her, she wagged her tail, stood up and began to look well and alive again. She was happy seeing me as if telling me, “I just miss you. Please don’t go away.” Then I went away again and a few months later, she passed away. I could never take away the guilt that I’ve been carrying inside me for not doing more for her. Until now, I’m still carrying it in my heart. I still miss her a lot. I wish she was still with me. I wish I had showed her more how much I loved her and how sorry I was. If she was a person, I would say she’s my TOTGA (The One That Got Away). I know she’s in a happy place right now, where there’s no pain anymore, where every animal is happy and running around. I just hope that what they say is true, that she’ll be waiting for me on the rainbow bridge when it’s my time to go. I love you forever, my Jersey Bunny.