Vancouver Island dog memorial encourages living in the moment

Owner of Jazz the black lab sets up tennis ball memorial one year after dog’s death

On the last day of her life, Jazz, a 13-year-old black Labrador retriever, played in the sun at the Esquimalt Lagoon.

It was Oct. 1, 2018, but the sun was out as Jazz swam in the ocean and played fetch with her human, Jen Raybould.

Raybould had taken her there because she wanted, in some way, to remember the day as being a fun one. Jazz’s legs were weak, but that day nothing could stop her from enjoying the popular beach.

“She just had so much fun… I think she just knew,” Raybould said.

Jazz passed away on Oct. 1, 2018. But a memorial placed at the Esquimalt Lagoon on Oct. 1, 2019 is helping her memory live on. (Photo Courtesy of Jen Raybould)

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Jazz was the typical sweet-natured lab, said Raybould, and was a doting, affectionate friend through life’s ups and downs, including Raybould’s own health issues.

“She was a loving, supportive, amazing, friendly dog,” she said. “Always leaning on you, following you everywhere.”

By her final days, Jazz’s legs no longer worked properly and the earnest, doe-eyed lab was in a lot of pain. Raybould knew it was her time.

Abby the golden Labrador retriever plays with one of the balls from a doggy memorial left at the Esquimalt Lagoon. “RIP Jazz,” wrote Abby’s owner Christian Vogl on Facebook. “Your spirit and your parents love carry on. Abby sends her love.” (Photo Courtesy of Christian Vogl)

One year after Jazz was put to sleep, Raybould carried a bucket of tennis balls to the Esquimalt Lagoon. On top of the bucket was a note, along with a picture of Jazz – her tongue out and her black fur illuminated by the sun.

“My sweet beautiful girl enjoyed her last day on this beach,” Raybould’s note read. “Please take a ball to play with your doggo! Enjoy and celebrate the love our pups bring us – there is nothing quite like it.”

She said she was inspired by a similar memorial she had seen on social media. She hopes people will stop and be reminded to take in the moment with their four-legged friends.

“I could see people stopping and reading and getting a little emotional,” Raybould said. “I thought it would be a beautiful reminder and a fun way to share her memory.”

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It didn’t take long for Raybould’s hope to be realized.

Christian Vogl posted a picture to Facebook of his golden Labrador retriever Abby enjoying one of the tennis balls. “As Abby ages, something like this makes one pause and contemplate and acknowledge what they mean to us,” he said.

Raybould still has Jazz’s sister, Ella as a canine companion, but says Jazz “will always be a part of my heart.”



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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