The Calm Before The Storm

Posted on August 12, 2010. Filed under: 4. Guest Bloggers | Tags: , , , |


Several months ago I started my first blog entry by saying “Jasper has cancer.”

Since that time, I’ve met people whose pets lived years with cancer and others whose beloved animals passed away days after being diagnosed. That’s the thing with cancer – you just never know what’s going to happen. It’s almost enough to drive a person crazy.

Jasper’s cancer – officially a soft-tissue sarcoma – was first identified in October 2009. Over the past eleven months, he’s undergone everything from surgery and chemotherapy to radiation and experimental drug therapy. And yet he soldiers on. I could learn a thing or two about strength during times of adversity from him.

Jasper has never been an average dog, though. His breed is Vizsla – aka “the Velcro dog” because of their love of people. They’re also notoriously high energy. Not Jasper. He’s the calmest Vizsla around. Oh, and the sweetest, too. Every time he looks at me with those sad eyes, my heart just melts.

If there’s one thing that Jasper loves above all else, though, it’s water!

My wife and I still smile when we recall the first time we took him down to the dog park along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. For a while he just walked along the beach. Then he decided to be brave and take a few steps into the water.

He stood there for a few seconds and then came running back to us with a look on his face that said, “That was FUN! I’m going back in!” He’s been swimming ever since.

On sunny days he would swim the entire half-mile stretch of river that runs along the edge of the park. Some people take their dog for a walk. I take mine for a swim. And not just during summer.

One frigid January when I wasn’t looking, Jasper decided to venture out on the frozen river. I heard a crash and I turned to see him in the water clawing to get back to land. Without thinking, I threw off my coat, got on my stomach and slid out on the ice. I grabbed his collar, pulled him up and we both made it back to shore without the ice breaking further. That’s when I truly realized how crazy he was about the water.

Jasper still loves our trips to the lake or river, but now that he’s a “mature” dog, he stays a little closer to shore and takes a few more breaks in between swims. Despite the cancer, spending time in the water allows him to just be “Jasper.” I love the break from all the vet visits, pills and tests. And seeing him so happy.

Getting back to where I started, we still don’t know if Jasper has three weeks or three months to live, so all we do is wait and try to enjoy each moment. He’s been doing great lately – running, swimming, eating all his food and jumping on the bed, but could this just be the calm before the storm?

To read more, visit the Jumping Jasper Blog.

– Todd Reubold


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4 Responses to “The Calm Before The Storm”

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You amaze me….everyone should have someone like you to love them. Jasper is a very lucky dog. Keep the positive outlook . Prayers are still coming.

[…] Petopia asked me to write a guest blog a couple weeks back. The entry I prepared for them – “The Calm Before the Storm” – is now available online. In it I write about J’s diagnosis, his never-ending love of […]

We hope Jasper has many more swims to experience. He obviously really loves the water. But he should definitely stay away from winter ice.

[…] dad started a beautiful blog about him, and his story has been picked up by Petopia, All Dog Blog, The Happy Wag, and even Bark Magazine. It’s become a way for them to cope with […]

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