I have always had a soft heart for animals, particularly dogs. Joan Jett was actually my 10th dog. I can't even begin to express how I feel about her death. The role she played in our lives was undeniable, and we are sad, shocked, and lonely as a result of her death.
I will never forget the day I adopted her. I "visited" her for about 3 weeks at the Petsmart in Scottsdale, trying to decide if I could manage a dog while living alone in my condo. After one of those visits on a Saturday in June of 2011, I began thinking about a name for her -- since she was black I wanted something that suggested that. I first thought of Jett but was afraid everyone would think she was a boy. So, as an "80s Rock" gal, I immediately thought of Joan Jett. Obviously, since I now had a name for the dog I had not yet adopted, I prepared to return to adopt her the next day.
One of her first acts of kindness was to help me identify a "good guy" to have around. Joan Jett was poorly socialized, and took awhile to warm up to new people. However, when she met Andrew Trujillo in October of 2011, she decided she could trust him and showed him cautious acceptance. Andrew and I eventually married in December 2013. At her death, we reminisced that we have ALWAYS been a family of three since we met. We travelled many places and tried to take Joan Jett along when we could because she really had anxiety when left behind. Her travels included several trips to Las Vegas and San Diego. Our friends, neighbors, and even my clients knew she was very important and spoiled as any Scottsdale dog should be.
The last trip she took was our rushed return to our vacation home in San Diego at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of this year. She had become accustomed to San Diego in the five years we have owned our home there, enjoying the many walks on the beach and around the neighborhood. She always seemed so much more comfortable in CA, likely because we didn't have the elevators, Scottsdale Road, and the xeriscape of Arizona to contend with.
Sadly, in the last few weeks of her life she had become a bit unstable and disoriented. We were scheduled to see the vet, which she HATED, made even worse by the fact that we couldn't go in with her (remember COVID). I believe she didn't want that stress and didn't want to put us through that either. The last two nights of her life, she chose to sleep in the guest room. I stayed with her to make sure if she woke up or needed something I was right there.
On the morning of September 22nd, I woke up to her stretched out beside me lifeless after taking her last breath quietly sometime in the early morning hours. I searched the internet to find Rainbow to Heaven, an organization specializing in dignified pet cremation. They came in a private van, and took her away with such care and compassion.
We were blessed by Joan Jett in so many ways, and even blessed in the end as she died peacefully at home. No painful decisions to make, no tragic accidents, just a paw-shaped hole in our hearts. When you lose a pet, as all pet owners do, you lose your best friend. Sharing your loss with others who understand helps to heal. And when you are ready, perhaps a new friend joins the family, not as a replacement but a new companion for a new phase of your life.