West Tisbury
Posted January 19, 2006

By Hermine Hull - 508-693-2525 - hrmhull@gis.net

My heart broke as I read last week's column when the paper came out on Thursday. We had Jake put to sleep Wednesday morning after two hard diagnostic days of vet visits and phone calls, x-rays, consultations, and a biopsy.

Old dogs seem to be fine until they are not, uncomplaining and their loving, but slowed down, selves. Jake seemed himself last Saturday, when we all spent the day together outside working on the woodpile. Sunday evening we noticed his leg was swollen again, what we thought was a sprain somehow re-injured. Off to the vet Monday morning. We expected nothing serious. But his breathing had become very ragged and he couldn't stand up. We should have been suspicious. Mike and I have adopted older rescued dogs for many years, so have sadly watched them grow old and develop cancer or bleeding tumors or arthritis.

Jake had come from Cambridge three years ago. He adapted beautifully from city dog to country dog. He would sit proudly in Mike's truck, well-recognized around town, the king of Mike's job sites. As Talley would run ahead on our walks, Jake walked sedately, always by Mike's side.

Our home feels very different without Jake's regal presence. We could use our kitchen door again (he always slept in front of it, so after we added the new room, we all became accustomed to using that door and leaving Jake undisturbed.) We could, but it somehow doesn't feel right anymore.

Our friend Tara Larsen was with us, as she had been the day we drove to Cambridge to pick up Jake. She told him to "run to the light." We all wept.

I went up to Town Hall on Friday to get Talley's 2006 license and to let Prudy (Whiting) and Joan (Jenkinson) know that Jake had died. Of course, they already knew. Our friends know there will be another Golden Retriever in our future. They all are looking out for a good one.

Town Tax Collector Brent Taylor asked that everyone be notified that third-quarter tax bills will be mailed in early February. If you would like to make a payment before receiving your bill, you may mail it to PO Box 3000, PMB 3153, West Tisbury 02575. The address will change after new bills are sent, but an addressed envelope will be included. Please feel free to call Brent at 508 696-0104, or stop by her desk upstairs in Town Hall if you have any questions.

The Library trustees met last Thursday evening and have asked the Selectmen to approve the appointments of Bea Phear and Ginny Jones to our Director Search Committee. The Friends of the Library will be represented by Mary Lu Keep, and the staff chose Ebba Hierta as their representative. Trustees on the committee are Elaine Pace, Leslie Baker, and Hermine Hull. Our meetings are all open to the public. The next one will be Friday, January 20, at 2 pm at the library.

Sunday afternoon, January 22, at 3 pm, the Friends of the Vineyard Haven Library will sponsor a talk by Jane and Peggy Thayer called "Elderescence" (as opposed to "adolescence.")

The weather is finally wintry, i.e. seasonably cold, snowy, and windy. We have all been spoiled by the past two weeks of mild temperatures. It has been easy on the psyche and the heating bills, but I think unhealthy. So many people around town are fighting off terrible, long-lasting colds. I hope the low temperatures will kill off whatever germs are floating around in the air. Bundle up and get outside. Open your windows to air out your houses. Take Vitamin C. Wash your hands. Stay well.