All the baby pumpkin stacking and trick-or-treating and piano playing and your babysitters… it all seemed like so much to talk about, piling up in my head, but isn’t very important today.  We just got back from saying goodbye to Jasper, my sister’s yellow lab.  He has had fluid around his heart, and suddenly was in too much pain, and will likely be put to sleep today.

We drove down my favorite winding Humboldt road with the sun shining through the redwoods and the clouds breaking up the rich blue sky but everything was dull.  So dull and that road never seemed so long.  I looked at my phone but we’d only been traveling for 13 minutes and I swear it was twice that.  I didn’t want my sister to have to wait so long.  That 15 minutes took forever, but suddenly we were there, turning right on my sister’s street, and my chest was crushing and hurting and I didn’t want to cry.  You were saying funny things right then, but I can’t remember what it was.  You’re so funny, Sam.

Jasper was lying down outside and he lifted his head for us and I pet him and pet him and pet him and kissed him too.  (I never minded Jasper’s stink.  Though I did try to wash it once.)  His eyes were so black and he wasn’t smiling today and when my sister stood up, his head followed her anxiously.

His hair is on my sweater.

Jasper has always been a goofy dog.  A happy dog, clumsy and sweet.  You kids can climb all over him, and he might only sigh for help, and never make a sharp or scary motion.  He loves to chase sticks, more than anything, I think.  More than eating cat poop or taking toast from a baby’s hand. (He does do that, you know.)

He doesn’t like to give the stick back, so we have to get another.  And another and another.  And we throw the stick into the river, and boy, this dog can swim.  He’ll go after the stick, fighting the current, quite a strong swimmer.  But he won’t let go of the first stick, so he’s swimming against the current, stick in his mouth, and he gets the second stick, and then goes after that great big log that’s out there.

He’ll whimper because the log is stuck.  He needs that log.

Be careful when Jasper has a stick in his mouth.  He’s so happy that he’ll run right up to us, knocking down toddlers with the long branches hanging out of his mouth.  Smiling.  Always smiling.

I didn’t take enough pictures.

Sam, you asked about Jasper all the way home.  After your dad carried him to the car, we told you about his owie.  “Jasper hurt,” you said.  Yes.  “Where dog go?  Where Jasper go?”  And we told you that he was going to go for a car ride with Aunt Candi.  That he was going to see the doctor.

(On the way home I worried that you might think going to the doctor for an owie means you don’t ever come back.)

I’ve been missing Jasper for a long time now — been wanting to borrow him for a while.  I wasn’t sure if the landlords would approve.  They don’t want us to have pets here (and made an exception for our four cats).  I wish I had asked.

I didn’t spend enough time with him.  Such a good dog.

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