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Saffron and Sage are our February 20, 2011 pups of the week

So much has been said about the beautiful Jackie Pool by so many that it seems impossible to add more.  Saffron and Sage are our pups of the week, two beautiful dogs, with pure hearts, but instead of me telling you why I will let Jackie's words tell you why.

Many of us first met her at Doggyspace, others at Facebook, and some at The Tanner Brigade.  She instantly added so much to the site, and helped us throw one of our biggest bashes, Saffron's wedding to Fella.
Her outstanding computer skills and imagination took us to the beautiful ceremony as we watched the happy couple enjoy their first dance.  You can also see the Smile box from their wedding HERE

While Saffron's wedding was fun, it was also a diversion, because at the beginning of 2010 Jackie's thoughts were with her sweet boy Sage:  "I had to take him back to the vet this morning. His blood count was worse than it was yesterday. More tests were done and we are pretty sure it's an autoimmune disease called IMHA. He's on 5 meds, got a vitiman shot and will have to go back Thursday to be rechecked," she wrote, asking us to pray for him, which she didn't need to do, as we already were.  

Two days later Sage was doing worse:  "I took Sage in for more blood tests this morning. His counts are seriously low and he had to stay for IV treatment. The vet also mentioned that he may have to have a blood transfusion. Please, please keep saying those prayers for him."  With everything headed downhill and the costs rising many of us may have had to make the hardest decision.  But Jackie Pool never quit, especially on her beloved pups.

"Sage did well with the transfusion today. He came home with his tail wagging! This morning when I took him in, I really did not expect him to make it. He could barely move and each breath seemed to take so much work. When I picked him up this afternoon, the vet said his cell count in his urine was down. This COULD mean that his body is slowing down on it's attack of his red blood cells"  Jackie, as always, gave more credit to her friend's prayers then her strong will.  

Within a week of the first vet visit Sage was strong enough to have the blogs in his words again.  "Dr Liles was pleased with the light pink color of my gums! He tood the IV port out of my leg, and boy it hurt when he took it out!...I ate a little bit of my breakfast, and guess what I had for supper- grilled steak!!! I'm never going back to dogfood!! This is the first time in my life I've had hooman food, and it's great!!"

There are two themes in this post that showed Jackie's heart.  One was her affinity with Sage:  Knowing his thoughts by looking in his eyes.   The second was her optimism.  For those of us who were in contact with Jackie in the last months we know that optimism in the face of long odds.  

The setback was only temporary and by March 8 Jackie was doing the Happy Dance.  "Mom loaded me up in her Hoopty ride and off we went to the vet's office. I walked right in, jumped up in a chair and made myself right at home. The girl that works the desk told me, "Good morning Sage!" of course I had to run over and give her a big kiss for greeting me. When they called my name, I trotted right to the scales and sat still while they wrote down my weight. Then off to the room with the table! I was a very good boy and sat VERY still while the dogtor took my blood, even gave him a kiss for his efforts. Mom and I waited for the results of the blood test and GUESS WHAT!!! MY COUNT WAS 40 TODAY!!!!! We are waiting for more test results, but I may get to lower the steriods again tomorrow or the next day!!! Mom is really doing the Happy Dance today!!!"

Here is the story of Saffron's first shopping trip: 
"Monday morning, Mom took me to see a new groomer. Her shop was inside a store called Petsense. I've never been inside a store before!! We walked up and down each aisle, and I got to sniff all the toys and treats! I even saw a cat in a cage!! Good thing my brother wasn't with us, he'd have had a barking fit at the cat!!  When Mom came to pick me up, I helped her pay for my haircut and trotted out to the car just like a big girl! I even jumped in the car all by myself! Mom was worried about how she was going to get me out to the car because she had The Little Monster #2 with her. (Granddaugher #2) Mom was VERY impressed with me!! She said I may get to go shopping again!!"

A true dog lover even on holidays Jackie would not let us forget what pups have done for us "Hoomans are not the only ones who have gave their lives for our country. Let's all take a moment to remember our furry brothers and sisters who have given their lives too."   She included this link:

At the end of June Sage was now having a problem with an infection on his back.  "Some of you already know that I've been having problems with skin infections. This medicine I'm on has really been kicking my butt!! The stuff is supposed to be for skin infections, but I'm having to take a large doseage of it to kill my immune system. Well I guess it's working because I'm having infection after infection!! I go back to the vet on the 6th so maybe I'll get to lower my dosage. Keep your paws crossed!!"  Again Sage's vet bills must have been very high, but that was no concern for Jackie.  Sage was her baby, and nothing was going to keep from doing everything possible for her baby. Even with this going on Jackie still took time out to support other dogs.  Sage's friend Savannah had leg problems and Jackie was the first to cheer her on.  "Let's all encourage Savannah to use her leg. Tell about your favorite place to go for a walk, take Savannah with you and show her the sights!"  She also showed concern for her friend Cooper who was found to have a skin condition at his groomer's:  "When his Mom picked him up at the groomers she was shown some red spots on Cooper's tummy and even in his mouth. She took him to the vet and they think it MIGHT be an autoimmune disease. The vet didn't tell her which one, just that one is treatable and one is fatal."  With Jackie, Saffron and Sage rallying the troops Cooper quickly recovered. 

The majority of Sage's blogs were about is precarious health.  From July 5:  "Tomorrow morning I go back to the vet for some BIG tests!! The most important one will check to see if I'm over the Rocky Mountain Tick Fever or not. Mom and I are both a bit nervous about this one, it's a biggy. If the test comes back good , I may get to cut some of these pills down. On the other paw if it's not good, well, we're not going to think about that one."  What a horrible hell to have hanging over your head, especially when you look in those deep brown eyes and wonder how long they will be shining back at you.  

The next day's vet visit did not go as well as hoped:  "Well is wasn't as good of a report as we were hoping for. My red blood count is down from last time, but not enough to get worried about. My kidney and liver levels are up though. Mom said it's caused from the pills I'm on. She will start giving me more Milk Thistle in my food, it's supposed to help protect the liver and kidneys. We won't know the result from the Tick Fever test until around Friday. I guess I'm doing ok, I feel pretty good and that's what counts the most!!"

Thankfully the next day came back with a positive result: "  Dear Sage's Mom and Dad,
Sage had great news on last cbc at LR lab; PCV is up to 45%; all diff. normal; platelets norman; NO SPHEROCYTES; other rbc parameters all normal!!!!!!!!!!!  NOW WE GET TO LOWER MY MEDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  A GREAT WAY TO START MOM'S VACATION, DON'T YA THINK???  We are still waiting on the results on the Rocky Mt. Fever test, but I'm pretty sure with these results, that one will come back clean!!

Being a good sister Saffron also reported on her brother's condition giving us an update after her Mom talked to a vet in North Carolina after more questions arose about his blood levels and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever "After talking to the vet in North Carolina, Dr Liles found out that the tick levels may stay the same for quite some time. As long as the reading doesn't go up, we are A-ok!!!  If Sage's next regular blood test comes back good-high red cell count- we will get to reduce his meds.  AND he will be immune to Rocky Mt.Tick Fever when he gets over this bout of it!!"

In October Saffron  reported on Sage's next serious bout of worry for the year.    "Sage has not been feeling well today. Mom said his gums are pale again. That could mean his blood count is down. If he's not doing better tomorrow Mom will be taking him to see the dogtor. We hope he's just having a "off" day and that he will be back to his barking self tomorrow.
Sage's blood count was down just a bit. Our dogtor thinks his body is just now adjusting to the change in his meds. It takes awhile for them to build up in his blood and awhile for them to lower, so he's just now feeling the results of his last dosage change."

More good news came Sage's way September 13:  " MY RED COUNT IS UP TO 42.2!!!
I get to quit taking so many pills and I don't have to go back until December!!!!"

But good news never stuck with Sage for long.  The next health problem to inflict Sage was arthritis in his shoulder.  "  All these years, I'm been snickering at Saffron because she has to stay in her crate when we are left home alone. Today Mom has ME in the crate!!  I've starting having trouble with my front leg. We went to the vet on Monday and she told Mom that I have arthritis in my shoulder. I got 7 days of pain pills, but they aren't helping much. The lady vet told Mom if I wasn't better in a few days to try crate rest for 3 or 4 days.  At least Mom did move the crate into the living room so I can watch TV and see what's going on while I'm in here. I hope this helps because I don't want to go back to the vet's and have x-rays done. It's just no fun getting old!!"  That was a hard lesson we had to learn.  It is not fun getting old.

Jackie's last post about Sage's health came after her own diagnosis:  "First I got weighed - 34 pounds, down from 37.5 last time. YIPEE!!  Then I had to let them poke me in the throat and get blood to be tested. I did cry just a bit this time, it hurt!! I tried to climb on top of Mom's head to get away, but it didn't work, they got blood anyway."  Knowing her prognosis it's hard to say if her final words about Sage's health were written with irony of optimism:  "FINALLY  he came back with the results-  ALL NORMAL!!! Every single reading was in normal range!!  WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!  Looks like I'm finally in the clear!!"

Reading all this you realize how the last months of Jackie's life were dedicated to keeping Sage healthy.  How she wasted no expense, made every possible effort, to keep her sweet boy with her.  There is no use in speculating if she put Sage's health before her own.  She followed her heart.  To keep a little Cocker Spaniel who occupied a large part of her heart alive.  I would like to think we will all have her strength when the time comes.  If we do, I suspect it is because Jackie gave us the strength.

While also coming up with the idea of the Christmas Card Exchange which kept the post office in business Jackie also used Sage's blog to list what they were happy for at Thanksgiving:

"I have so many things to be thankful for this year
1 That my Mommy and Daddy have taken such good care of me this year. It was very stressful on them and they could have taken the easy way out and had me put to sleep.
2 That my hooman sister finally came to her senses and moved back home with her little one. ( more dropped treats for me)
3 That my hooman bubby got a great new job and that he really likes it.
4 I'm thankful for all my good friends on TB. I know no matter what, you will all be here for me.
5 Finally I'm thankful for 8:00 every night, that's snacktime! BOL"

But Jackie was far more than the worried Mom her sense of humor made us smile on hundreds of occasions.  On July 18, 2010 Saffron opened the Saffel Worm Farm.  Ever the entrepreneur Saffon not only sold wrorms but worked her way up to other business ventures as well:   "HAVE YOU BEEN WANTING TO GET THAT SPECIAL LADY IN YOUR LIFE A LITTLE SOMETHING TO SHOW YOU CARE?  LADIES, ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A NEW SCENT, SOMETHING LIGHT AND EARTHY???  MAY I SUGGEST MY NEW PERFUME??  IT'S A WARM BLEND OF EARTH AND WORM, YOU WILL BE THE TALK OF THE TOWN!!"

And who could forget her wonderful special on Unicorn meat
When the Saffel Worm Farm did open they offered a unique cologne for the male dog:  "
1589 KIBBLE FOR 1oz bottle"

Saffron, having seen so many close calls with Sage, had great empathy for those who lost their pets to the bridge.  "One of my friends is going to the Rainbow Bridge this evening. His Mom found a growth in his mouth weekend before last. They went to the vet, but Dallas wouldn't let them look in his mouth, so he went back on Wednesday to have his teeth cleaned and the growth checked out. Once they got a good look at the growth , they knew, but took x-rays anyway. They found growths all over his body. His Mom, Dad and brother Diesel only had a week left with him."

There was also great concern for another dog who had taken ill:  "Shana has been missing from TB and DS. I got to worrying about her and started sniffing around, trying to find out if she is ok or not. Petey, her boyfriend has been worried about her too. He hadn't heard from her in over a week! Finally he got into contact by phone. She has had life changing events happen, and NOT good ones!"
When our friends Hattie and Smarite had a dust up she stepped right up to inform us and ask for prayers:  "You all know about the tuffle Hattie and Smartie had. Well it has turned out that Miss Smartie will be having some dental work tomorrow. Please keep her in your prayers that all goes well.
My other prayer request if for a friend from one of Mom's forums and FB. His name is Diesel. He just lost his brother Dallas a few weeks ago to cancer. This afternoon Diesel was rushed to the vet. We don't know what's going on yet, but I'm sure his Mom and Dad are very upset."

Saffron also used blogs to bring smiles to our faces

On December 12, 2011, Saffron posted an ominous blog that frightened us all: 
"Yesterday Mommy went to her vet because she has been coughing alot and having trouble breathing. They took pictures of the inside of her chest and saw 2 spots on one of her lungs. This morning, she went and had a cat scan her! Now why in the world would my Mommy want a cat to scan her??? Anyway the cat told her that sure enough Mom has a mass in her lung, maybe in both. Mommy has been crying alot this afternoon, I think she is sad and scared. Sage and I have been trying to keep her busy by acting like we have to go out every five minutes, but it doesn't seem to be working. Would you please add our Mommy to your prayer list? We know how powerful puppy prayers are and we could sure use alot of them right now."

Saffron's final blog brought us the sad news:  "Afraid Mom got very bad news this morining. She does have cancer, it's in both lungs and has moved to other parts of her body too. She's not sure if she will do treatment or not. Right now, she's leaning toward the not. She goes to see the cancer Dr on the 27th. I was a very good little nurse today and stayed by her side while she slept after she got back from the hospital. Sage stayed close by just in case I needed his help too. Keep those puppy prayers coming, we need them now more than ever!"

Last Sunday Jackie succumbed to the fight no person can win, the final one.  Everyone who ever met her, in person, on the phone, or by the ancient art of writing,  lost a beloved sister.  There may be those who come along who are who equal, we shall never meet a better person than Jackie Pool.

Jackie's favorite charity was the Bald Knob Animal Shelter in Bald Knob, Arkansas. They are also in a contest to win some money to improve their shelter.  To vote for them the link is HERE. The information to contact the shelter and donate is HER

I have been told that Jackie loved butterflies, which reminded me of the words of an Elton Johns song:  "Butterflies are free to fly, so fly away, fly high."

Out of all the wonderful tributes for her none were more poignant than the video posted on the funeral home site.  If you would like to see it click HERE

I hope we will meet again Jackie, with our dogs, our friends, and our loved ones, and we'll laugh together so hard together they'll hear thunder from the Rockies to the Appalachians.  Until then rest well my friend, until we meet again.




  1. This is an incredibly beautiful tribute to a very amazing woman. I know that if Jackie can read this she must be very touched just knowing the way you felt about her. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Foley & Pocket. aaaaarrooooooooooo, Blazer


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