Our household is very sad today because last night we had to say good bye to our beautiful Jasper pup. Jasper came to live with us as a puppy almost sixteen years ago. We already had a little white dog called Lucy who had very much been Aaron’s and my fur baby. But we were planning for a human baby and felt that Lucy needed another four legged friend for when our attention was drawn to a new baby. As it turns out, Jasper came home to us just after my first miscarriage and his gorgeous puppy antics were a welcome distraction from the pain I was feeling. 

Jasper was one of those dogs that had to be in everything. Until he went deaf about three years ago, he had this innate ability to hear even the smallest piece of food being accidentally dropped on the floor. If I uttered the word ‘Oops’ while in the kitchen, he would be at my side in a flash cleaning up whatever I’d knocked to the floor. He was social, funny, and an absolute delight to have around. 

In recent years, we had noticed that he was really getting old. He had become a bit of a grumpy old man, only wanting to be around his family, and not really interested in the other pups or cat we have running our family. He was happy to sit at our feet and just be there. In the last few months, he had become less mobile, and yesterday, he finally couldn’t walk at all. We knew it was time. 

It is never easy saying good bye to a family pet. Jasper had been a constant companion for a long time. We used to tell the kid that we had a last in first out policy, and Jasper had been there longer than she had. He was very, very loved by us all, and today, our home is a little quieter and our hearts are a lot heavier.

So, today I’m revisiting an old post of when our gorgeous little pup accidentally became a diabetes alert dog, waking me when I was low. This wasn’t a one off – he did it again a few weeks after I wrote this piece (and I shared that here). I’m sad to say that Jasper’s hypo detecting abilities were not especially reliable, but I still do think that he was a wonderdog in his own special way. 

We love you, Jasper. Thank you for bringing so much joy to our family. We are going to miss you very, very much. 

We have two dogs and one cat. (Ed – actually, that number grew to three dogs and one cat because clearly we are soft touches when it comes to tiny puppies…) They are fluffy, cute and very much part of our family. And while I like to think that they are wonder animals, they’re really not. Bella, the Maltese/poodle cross used to sleep under the coffee table and every time she woke up, hit her head. She did this for three years. Until we got rid of the coffee table. Jasper, who is getting old now, has only one thing on his mind – food. He’ll eat anything, including the green leaves at the top of a strawberry and watermelon rind. Cherry the cat is, as most cats, quite brilliant, and manages her staff (the three humans of the house) in typical cat aloofness with a side of purring cuddles thrown in so we remember how much we love her.

Gorgeous? Yes. Smart? Not so much.

For years of I’ve heard stories of dogs and cats that can sense if their owners’ BGL is dropping. Clever hypo alert dogs are being used by people with impaired hypo awareness to notify them of undetected lows. I’d read these stories. And then think of our little pets whose skills don’t go much beyond sleeping, eating and looking cute. I was resigned to the fact that none of our pets would save me in a sticky situation. Except, I think that the other night, Jasper may have done just that.

Until recently, Jasper slept at the end of the bed. A new, higher mattress and his old age have meant that jumping up was becoming harder and harder. Instead of effortlessly leaping up, he would run from side to side of the bed, front paws on the mattress, his boofy head popping up, looking a little like a meerkat as he waited for one of the humans to lift him up. After getting sick and tired of this routine, we bought him a bed and he now sleeps in a corner of the room.

The other night, I put myself to bed early and promptly fell asleep. After about an hour, I stirred because Jasper was doing his meerkat impersonation, but only on my side of the bed. Suddenly I felt him gently tapping at me. I told him to leave me alone and go back to his bed. But he refused. Dozing in and out of sleep, I could feel his paw on my arm and then he stared whining.

Finally, wide awake and annoyed at being woken, I started to get out of bed, thinking he needed to be let out or wanted his water bowl filled. As soon as I stood up, it hit me. I was low. Really low. I slumped back on the bed and grabbed the lolly jar from the bedside table and threw down a handful of jelly snakes. Jasper sat down at my feet, watching me earnestly. As I started to feel a little less woozy and could sense my BGLs coming up, Jasper padded back over to his bed, got himself comfortable and fell back asleep.

I ate a couple more jelly snakes and checked my BGL. It was back in range. I could hear him snoring gently in his corner and ten minutes later, as I started falling back asleep, I thought that maybe he is a wonderdog after all.

Jasper the Wonderdog