by - 1:36 PM

If you haven't heard, it's been a pretty big week at Casa Hodges. I got a job offer for a position I've been dreaming about for a long time and will soon be on an adventure that begins with moving vans and lots of boxes. Right now we are in hyper-find-a-house-PRONTO mode, which is proving more difficult than I anticipated.

In the next week or two, I need to buy a car and a phone and find a place to live. My husband needs to launch his new business. I have to wrap things up at my current job, turn in my company car and say goodbye to a campus that's been my home since 2009.

I guess you could say that the heat is on. Pressure cookin'.

In the midst of all this joy, anxiety, and excitement, we lost our 10-year old German Shepherd, Jayco, on Wednesday evening.

When Ryan was in his early twenties, he brought home a 12-week old German Shepherd puppy who would accompany him through the next decade. He would fill every home with enough dog hair to completely reconstruct another dog on a weekly basis. He would bark at every rogue leaf, slow-moving car, and child screaming with joy. Also, the ice-cream truck and mailman. He would paw-smack his little brother Jack when he got too in his face.

A decade. This dog has been present every single day of my relationship with Ryan, but what's more -- he's been with Ryan for nearly the entirety of Ry's adult life.

You know who else has been along for this ride? Our other dog, Ralph. A year older, Ryan brought home Ralphers when he was only 8-weeks old and those two puppies have been together for Jayco's entire lifetime. Imagine knowing  a friend for your entire lifetime. Imagine you and your friend, who've you've spent your entire life with, have a third friend -- the guy who brought you into his home, and fed you and loved you, and walked you.

I will never ever be able to accurately write about the way that Ralph responded to Ryan when he walked in the house after Jayco died. It was so evident that he understood what was going on and that he felt something special towards Ryan.

Jayco and Ralph were brothers. Every single time they ever got naughty and ran away -- every single time-- if you found one, you found them both. They always stayed together. Now they're permanently separated, and Ralph is feelin' it. You can tell. He's not himself right now.


Jayco barked incessantly. He shed enough hair that it will be found in the crevices of our current house for the next ten years. He was a picky eater and rather sparse with his kisses. He was mischievous and could open doors with his snout. He burrowed his nose under your arm when he wanted to be petted.

He took a girl who hated dogs, who was afraid of dogs, and he made her love him.

On Tuesday night, I let Jayco sleep on the bed with me. I'm really not supposed to do that, but I did it anyway. And I'm not sorry.

All dogs go to Heaven, Jayco. 

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