Yesterday – on December 31st, 2015 – the sweet, special, incredible dog known as Gentleman Jack passed away.
Here’s what Chris Hughes had to say about his passing:
And as quickly as he came into our lives, he was taken from us, though we are forever changed. Our hearts are heavy at the loss of our Gentleman Jack, his courageous battle ended this morning. His brave body was tired, his heart so full of love, he graciously let us know he was ready to move from this life into eternal peace. Everyone hoped for a miracle but no one saw the miracle that each day was. When he first came to us he barely lifted his head or made eye contact, he didn’t want to be cuddled or carried but today, he wagged his tail, he looked for us to hold him and kiss him, he trusted us to end his suffering and set him free. He looked to us for love and comfort, the family he has known for 34 days, we had the honor of giving him peace, we had the honor to love him for his last month, we had the honor of being the last voice he heard and the last face he saw but we also bear the burden of a loss so great it is hard to put into words.
Gentleman Jack died in our arms, but he will live always in our hearts.
Rest in peace, Gentleman Jack.
If you’re not following Chris and Mariesa Hughes and their amazing rescue family – which includes three Pit Bulls (Gremlin, Sammy, and The Stig), one Bull Terrier (Meatball), one mystery mix (Quinn), and two former racing Greyhounds (Money and Tejas) – then you need to rectify that as quickly as possible for your own d**** good. Not only do they have an incredibly entertaining Facebook page (I mean, good lord, just watch this dog jumping back and forth between couches), they also do endlessly wonderful things for senior dogs courtesy of their non-profit, The Mr. Mo Project.
The Mr. Mo Project was started in 2014 in honor of the Hughes’ dearly departed Mr. Moses, an elderly Pit Bull who’d been surrendered by his previous owners because he was “too old.” Except he wasn’t too old. He was an incredible source of love and good humor and adorable dog noises to the end of his days, and that was all on top of the fact that he made for a fantastic canine chef.
In the past year-and-a-half, The Mr. Mo Project has saved countless dogs from being euthanized. (They also provide lifelong medical bill assistance to every dog in the project. Just FYI.) One such dog was Gentleman Jack, an adorable little guy found wrapped in a blanket abandoned on a boat dock in North Carolina. He was severely starved and dehydrated – so much so that he couldn’t immediately travel – so The Mr. Mo Project worked with a local rescue to get him vet assistance, and then, once he was well enough, worked with Pilots and Paws to get him to New York.
After having a nasal gastric tube inserted into Jack – which allowed for higher calorie liquids to be fed to him even when he wouldn’t eat – Chris and Mariesa Hughes basically worked around the clock to get his weight up from 7 pounds to his ideal 15. They had initially intended to just get Jack well before finding him a forever home, but then his weight started slipping again. His health started deteriorating. An ultrasound revealed that the lumps on Jack’s neck were an aggressive form of cancer – NOT Salivary Mucocele, as was the original diagnosis – and they were growing so quickly that he wasn’t, unfortunately, a candidate for surgery.
So Chris and Mariesa made a difficult choice – they took out Jack’s feeding tube and decided to give him “one great night at home” with the intention of euthanizing him the next morning.
At that point, we decided it was not fair for him to die alone and not part of a family, so we officially adopted him as part of our family.
Tanya Bissaillon – a photographer who works with the Mr. Mo Project – came by that night to take pictures of Jack and the family so they’d have something to remember him by. Just look at how sweet and perfect his little face is:
Then, the next morning, something surprising happened – Jack was bright and alert, almost like a completely different dog. Chris tried to feed him some Vienna sausages and he didn’t just eat one, he ate two. After talking to the vet, Chris and Mariesa decided, instead of euthanizing him, that they’d just take things day by day. Jack would let them know when he was ready to go. And right now, he’s just not ready.
According to Chris:
We’re living each day with him as it if it’s his last, and while I’m not a religious person, I’m so hoping for a miracle because [Jack] deserves to live the rest of his life loved. [It’s] clear he didn’t have a great life before being abandoned in a blanket in a boat dock.
In the meantime, Chris and Mariesa are treating Jack with cannabis oil – which studies have shown can help fight cancer – in hopes that it will shrink his tumors.
Though Jack obviously got the short end of the stick before he was saved by The Mr. Mo Project, he’s now hit the jackpot with one of the most caring and compassionate dog rescue families this world has ever known. For however much time he has left, he will be loved, he will be cared for, and he will know nothing but happiness. All dogs should be so lucky.
If you would like to help these amazing people save senior dogs like Gentleman Jack, please consider donating to The Mr. Mo Project. And if you want to follow the continued adventures of Jack – and his gigantic family – make sure to follow Gremlin on Facebook.
Thank you, Chris and Mariesa Hughes – and all the people who work and volunteer for The Mr. Mo Project – for everything you do.
Featured Image via Gremlin’s Facebook Page