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This story is partly true and partly fictional. Jake entered my life - and changed my life, in 1991, a severely abused, not-quite adult Australian Shepherd with big feet, a big head, and a heart the size of North America. The way in which he adopted the woman in the story is true to the way it happened in real life.
Jake was an extraordinary dog. He overcame massive obstacles, having had a lousy start on this life, and his courage gave me courage. Through his need for me and love for me, he helped me open my heart ... I didn't even know how much my heart was closed and frozen, afraid to really care, afraid to be responsible for another life, afraid to feel the pain of seeing the ones I love get hurt, or killed, and not being able to protect them.
Without Jake, it would have been a hard row to hoe, as my gramma used to say.
I'm enormously grateful that he came, and grieve every day that he had to go. Two years ago Jake got a tumor in his head. Anyone who has ever bonded with an animal knows what I mean when I say the grief goes way beyond that for a mere "pet". Even though I have two little darlings in my life now who own my heart and soul, I never forget Jake, and I miss him every day.