Monday, April 23, 2012

There blows no wind but wafts your scent to me

It is pouring rain today, but here is Pie on a sunny ride last week with our special lilac bush in the background. This little shrub is in full bloom right now, bursting with periwinkle flowers. I was mucking the pastures and could smell its heavenly scent in the wind. Maizie and I played tennis twice last week and she remarked how fragrant it is. I have always loved lilacs so when my sweet Black Labrador, Jet, passed away in April 1997, I planted this lilac for her. 

Jet was the perfect Labradorable sweetie pie for 10 wonderful years. Here she is, above, in 1991 on a trip to Yellowstone. I got her as a puppy when I was a sophomore in college at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Jet and I lived alone in an apartment there, but we spent our days with a group of students who also owned dogs. There was a field on campus and we all gathered to study while our dogs played. USF at that time was a low-key kind of place and everyone brought dogs to class, especially in the art department. Jet was my constant companion. Once, I was walking across campus and someone yelled, "Jet!" I turned to look and this guy said, "I am sorry, I can't remember your name, but I know your dog is named Jet."

Dogs were not permitted on local beaches but one park had an island/sandbar within swimming distance of the shore where dogs were allowed. My friends and I would swim out there with our dogs beside us and carry our towels and coolers on our heads like baskets. It must have been dog heaven for our pups as they tumbled and raced in the sand and surf of the Gulf of Mexico all day. I know that my memories of that time seem to me to be a dream - it truly was magical.

When I was finished with college and graduate school, Jet and I moved home to Pennsylvania. I wanted to move us to England but the quarantine prevented that. Wouldn't my life be different if we had been able to go!?! Instead, we discovered that our Pennsylvania house was near a 12 mile valley stretch of the Appalachian Trail. The trail here is flat and gorgeous and full of English-looking woodland. Jet and I walked everyday on the trail. She also accompanied me on daily rides on my mare, Penny Lane, on our farm. Jet was a super great horse/barn dog. She followed behind me on all my rides without frightening my horse or running around. I learned to be a good mommy to Maizie and the horses by being Jet's mommy first. She taught me so much!

Jet loved to lie in the shade by the tennis court and gaze off in the distance. I always joked that she was writing a novel because she was so pensive and meditative. When she passed away from cancer we buried her beside the tennis court, her favorite spot on the farm, and planted the lilac bush there.

The enormous puppies I own now had a great week of riding. The weather was superb and the trails are lush and very pretty. Here Pie is making his way through a small path. I cut this open but it still is a tight squeeze for my big boy.

Thankfully chubby boy can grab some sustenance after such an arduous trek!


  1. Note to self: Never read a blog post about a beautiful dog who died of cancer and was lovingly buried by the tennis court where she wrote her first novel WHILE AT WORK. I am a little misty here at my desk. I'll have to tell People I have very bad allergies! Rain here too. But a blessing: we needed it.
    Chubby boy--hah! I've got one of those: Chubby girl!

  2. Three inches of rain yesterday. We needed it, but probably not all at once. ;)

    Reading about your lilacs makes me jealous, and wish I had smeller-vision. They just won't grow here.

    I enjoyed learning more about you, and reading the story of Jet too, even thought it's a bit sad. Sounds like she had a wonderful life. My thirteen year old Gulf Stream Retriever Sweetpea, (lab/pit), has cancer too and is in her twilight times...

  3. Thanks guys for the great comments - glad for everyone's much needed rain too!

    Calm, Forward, Straight - I did not know about Sweetpea's illness - I love her photos and her sweet name. I don't know how I missed that she has cancer - good thoughts from me and enjoy her up. I knew about Jet's liver cancer for six months and we made the most of that time. Glorious twilight days as you say. Twilight is always the prettiest because it is fleeting. Love and hugs for Sweetpea and you!

  4. Juliette, What a precious story about your dear dog, Jet. And how special are those lovely lilacs in his honor. And the love he left in your heart, which has grown three times bigger with your sweet horses, is also his legacy. What special times you had with him in college. I'll bet your dear horses thank him for how he made you an even more wonderful mother to them and Maizie. What a sweet story and post. He was quite a special dog!

  5. Wonderful post about Jet--and a lovely memorial too. I wish I had done something like that for our 2 Rotties. Maybe when I buy the farm I dream of, I can lay their ashes under lilac bushes too. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Oh, I loved reading about your sweet girl Jet...what a special pup. Labs are the best! TBs too :)


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