My dog Captain died last week. She was 17 and a half years old, which is old for dogs in general but many Jack Russells live as long as she did. She came into my family when I was 29 years old, a life-time ago.
She had a good checkup a month ago, but last week her health failed suddenly and we decided to give her mercy. I wasn’t home. I was visiting relatives about four hours away. On Friday morning, I woke from a dream. I was at my childhood home, and Captain was with me in the backyard. The gate was open. She ran out. I didn’t worry because since she became deaf and mostly blind, she’s easy to catch. But in the dream, she wasn’t old, she was young again.
I followed her out into the front yard, and she ran down to a neighbor’s house. She started to get close to some construction, and I didn’t want her to fall into a trench so I caught her and held her in my arms. Then she became my childhood dog, Elsa. And then I woke up.
When I got the call later that morning that she was sick, I was able to know that she had said goodbye to me already. There was no need to go home. She was with the rest of her family and everything would be ok.
We named her “Captain” which was short for “Captain Jeanne Luc Picard of the Star Ship Enterprise.” She looked a little like Patrick Stewart. We thought it was hilarious to call her that. Her real name, however was Nipton, and her friends called her Nippy.