Yesterday marked the 7th anniversary of the passing of my beloved Jake.  How time flies.  I can’t believe he’s been gone that long! My best friend and constant companion from my 21st birthday until shortly before my 34th.  He was at my side for over a quarter of my life, and during perhaps my most formative years.

I got Jake during my third year of university and brought him everywhere with me on campus, even to class.  Everyone knew him.  I used to come out of class to find people playing ball with him, and some would bring him treats from the cafeteria.  After I graduated, we moved 5000km away to Vancouver.  Not long after arriving, we road tripped to Whislter, BC.  Always off-leash, Jake trotted down the pedestrian mall of the elite ski resort ahead of me.  Suddenly I heard someone shout “Hey!  I know that dog! That’s Jake.  I knew him in college!”  I had no idea who the person was, but that person knew my dog.

That was Jake.

Jake, my love, I still miss you and think of you every day.

Every day?  Yep.  He crosses my mind every day, at least once.  But not in a sad way.  That dog was such a part of so many things that it’s hard for me to think of the past without him being intertwined.  One day, or perhaps in little pieces like this, I’ll write more about my life with Jake.  While I’m at peace with his passing, a process that in and of itself taught me more than I could ever have believed, it’s still not easy for me to talk about him without getting emotional. I’m not up to that tonight.

Jake and I lived in Vancouver for 5 years.  Next, we moved to Ottawa, then Boston, then Houston, then back to Boston.  Finally we moved to Chicago, where we said our long goodbye, 7 years ago yesterday.  We also traveled together extensively.  At one point I spent 2 months living out of my car, with Jake as my companion.  We toured the American southwest, sleeping in car or tent, hiking and photographing California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Colorado.  We spent weeks traveling similarly around British Columbia, and the east coast of Canada.  And so, so many places in between.  Wherever I went, if Jake was at my side, I was home.  I never felt lonely, I never felt scared.  He was my best friend, and my protector.  He took care of me and watched over me.  He was my guardian angel.

He still is.