A note from Jake's adopted Family:
When my husband and I first met Jake at the shelter, our jaws dropped. We had never seen a dog that huge.
It wasn't just that he was a big Mal, but someone had allowed him to get up to 150 pounds! My goodness,
the poor fellow looked like Jabba the Hut, lying on his beanbag. But, our hearts went out to him and
after spending some time with him and seeing how sweet he was, we took him home, at first as an Amrone
foster until we got to know him. Well, Jake personified the term, "couch potato." Sure, he had his issues,
not the least of which was weight, but I had never met a dog who didn't like to walk. At all. It was a
victory to get him to walk around the building on our street's corner! In his defense, he was overweight,
and must have been a wee bit depressed since his original owner had died and the first person who adopted
him didn't keep him very long. And he had Lyme disease in addition to being a senior boy. So, we understood
and were patient with him. He grew to trust us and it was a delight to see him "smiling" and walking with that
tail up and over. After about a month, Kathy asked if we wanted to adopt him permanently. Of course we did-Jake
had worked his way into our hearts, big time. As with humans, with diet and regular exercise, the weight started
to come off our little fuzzy boy, as I liked to call him. Slowly but surely, he got the concept of walking and
came right to us when it was walk time. For months, each day we tried to prolong the distance, usually to no avail,
but occasionally he'd acquiesce. One day, miraculously, as he and I were on a morning walk, he continued on past our
house…and kept on going! I was genuinely concerned that he would, at some point, simply refuse to go any further,
either way. That could be a problem, as Jake could be stubborn. I know, that's quite a surprise. : However, he
went the distance around the long block-nearly a mile-and I hugged him and praised him to the rafters when we got
home. And, of course, gave him his favorite incentive: treats. (Not too much, since he was on a diet.)
Ever since that "miracle morning," he practically always went a mile or so with me every morning. He got
used to the idea that he'd get a treat about half-way through the walk. He'd know the certain spots on our
various routes where I'd give him a treat and would start looking up at me in expectation, and of course he was rewarded!
Jake was a beautiful, friendly boy. He was happy to meet anyone new, liked most dogs, and even tolerated our cats.
Our cats made a game out of scratching at their hallway litterbox in an exaggerated way because that always got
a chorus of "woo-woos" out of Jake. Jake even had his own fan club on our morning walks-two ladies who were
out every morning who were always happy to greet and pet him. Jake loved going with us to family cookouts
and hanging with the humans and the other dogs, beagles ("the boys") who belonged to my brother and my nephew.
We knew going in that our sweet Jake was old and most likely wouldn't be with us for too long. But, we couldn't
stand the thought of him spending the rest of his days in a shelter, as kind as those folks are. After he was
over the health issues he had when we first brought him home, he stayed quite healthy and we hoped he'd be with us longer than we thought. But, it was not to be. Last fall, he lost his appetite, and his doctor diagnosed him with a tumor on his spleen. He rebounded the first time, but when it recurred several months later, he didn't.
I am so grateful to Amrone and all the good work they do, and for allowing me the privilege of being part of the larger
family. I especially thank Kathy Ferragamo for all her kind words, support, encouragement, and wisdom.
Jake was a joy to share our lives with, and he is dearly missed. I swear, I still hear him woofing . . .