DR JJ – A Short Story
According to spiritual doctrine, animals may reincarnate six times before taking on a human form in their 7th Life. I am now a human Doctor. In my past life, I was a Doggo Doctor called Dr JJ although I wasn’t formally trained. Love was enough. This is my story of Life, Love and Death. And my doggo Mummy, Miranda.
15th May 2010
“¡Mamá! Mira… La madre ha dado a luz!”
“Look, mum! The mummy has given birth”
It was my first day on Earth that I can remember. It was quite hot and dusty. I couldn’t see but there was lots of noise. Other doggos and my mummy doggo. She wasn’t interested in me. I listened to conversations. I was the ‘runt’ of the litter, whatever that meant. Someone kicked me. That hurt.
As the days passed, I started to become familiar with my surroundings. The sky was blue, the ground was golden. We lived near the water, but I was scared. My brothers and sisters had left for some reason and I was on my own with my mum. She said to me in doggo language “This is your 6th incarnation, beautiful boy. You have a Life Purpose to fulfil and a Sacred Soul. You may have a difficult start in Life but you will find a wonderful human friend to guide you to the 7th Life. Be patient. Run free and go find your Human”.
I didn’t really understand all that stuff. I just wanted to stay with my doggo mum – she was beautiful. But she told me to go and you are supposed to listen to your mum, so I did. I didn’t like being kicked about anyway. So I ran… and kept running, not sure of where I was going or what I would find. It was hot. I was hungry. Some people in cars stopped and gave me water and some food. They were kind humans but I was scared they might hurt me like the Spanish family did.
I spent many nights wandering in the Spanish grasslands – fields of poppies; flashes of pink and red and orange. What beautiful scenery. Bugs crawling everywhere – butterflies overhead, guiding me and telling me which way was the best view. I found the sea and eventually plucked up the courage to go in the water. I was still scared and alone. I loved to chase the birds. They were such gossips, those birds. They made me laugh though.
A human couple on the beach put something around my neck and pulled me towards them. I wasn’t sure where I was going but went along with it. Maybe, THIS was my human. At first, they were nice, then they started to get drunk a lot and left me outside, forgetting to feed me. One day, the man human started to put cigarettes out on my fur. That wasn’t funny. The lady human just laughed and pulled my tail, so I bit her. She cried and the man hit me. The next day, I was put in their car with the same thing around my neck and taken somewhere with lots of sad doggos. I was apparently in a rescue centre. I decided not to bark anymore and just hid away.
I sat in the back of the pen for months on end – sometimes it was boiling hot, other times, it was freezing cold and wet. There were no poppies anywhere, just dust and mud and mountains. I saw signs around called ADANA. According to the other doggos, I was in a doggo rescue centre in a place called Estepona, wherever that was. My heart was hurting a bit and I couldn’t always breathe properly. My nose was dry and I didn’t want to stay there. The humans at the Shelter were nice to me but I knew they weren’t MY human, until one day, in August 2012, I heard a powerful car engine turn up to the Shelter. The magical butterflies who guided me along the roads were now in my tummy. I was a bit excited and they told me to “get ready”.
3rd August 2012
I saw my perfect human from the back of the pen. She bent down and said “Hi!” in the kindest of ways I have ever known. She had beautiful eyes, just like marbles. THIS was my human but I didn’t know what to do.
“I saw Charlie on the website. My nephew is called Charlie and he is special. I want another special dog to be friends with my lone wolf rescue doggo, Pucci. She needs a buddy”
I didn’t know my name was Charlie and I certainly didn’t know what a website was. But I loved her voice. It had a calming quality, reminding me of my own doggo mummy. I decided to move towards her.
“Hey Charlie, hello darling…”. As I got closer to her, I could smell her. She was perfect. She was my Life Purpose. I knew it. I hope she did too. I still couldn’t bark though.
She put something around my neck and walked about with me. I was so excited I could have popped. She looked into my eyes and I looked into hers. My doggo mum’s words were in my head and I just knew.
“I’ll take him,” she said.
She took me into the special clinic – I started to pull her along now, after she put a thing around my neck. I just couldn’t contain my excitement. I was microchipped, meaning she was my new human mummy. I had to take some tablets and she put me in her cool fast car. The roof was down. She strapped me in and off we went.
She drove fast. The wind caressed my face and I closed my eyes. I was almost home. The butterflies came to see us en route and winked at me. Now I knew why butterflies had markings on their wings. To wink, of course. When the car stopped, she carried me out carefully and we walked up the stairs to her home. And then reality hit.
A stunning Cocker Spaniel with bright eyes and golden curls was there to greet me. What a biatch. Pucci was her name. She told me she was boss and that I came last in the pack order as she wiggled her perfect bottom at me. She wasn’t flirting like some of the female dogs in the rescue centre. She was just a Princess and she told me I had to refer to her as “Princess Pucci” at all times. She said our Human was perfect but she cried a lot because the man she loved didn’t love her. Pucci said we had a lot of work to do and that my new name was JJ, after our mum’s late mother, “June” and late father, “Jack”.
Over the next few months, Pucci, myself and my new mummy became a family. I would lie on my mummy’s bottom. She had a nice bottom. Pucci would lie in her arms or cuddle into her tummy when it hurt every month. I am not sure what happened every month but I let Pucci deal with minor ailments. She was like a nurse and always licked our mum’s eyes when her head hurt. I wanted to be the Doctor of the House – I needed to save my mummy. Pucci told me we had to check her breathing every night so we took it in turns to make sure our mummy was still alive every morning. She was.
Our mummy kept crying though and seemed to be in a lot of pain. I could smell something weird in her neck. I knew what it was. I told Pucci and she just got angry. “It’s cancer,” I told Pucci. Pucci started to bark at me. She wasn’t having that. But as time went on and we saw our human crying more and more, I just kept licking her neck, obsessively. She had to realise there was something wrong. She was sleeping a lot and was visibly suffering – when her legs burned, I lay on them. I wanted to take her pain away but didn’t know how. She would tell Pucci and I how much pain she was in. Pucci and I had regular meetings to discuss a plan of action but our human needed human help too.
…”JJ just won’t leave my neck alone. There is definitely something wrong. He always knows when I have a cut or bite. He sniffs it out, licks it and it heals within days. My throat feels like it is full of razor blades. What am I going to do?”, said our mummy to her human sister, (Aunty) Monica.
“I told you!”, I said to Pucci. Pucci was thinking and didn’t want to be disturbed – she paced up and down on the marble floor. We could see our human crying, alone and feeling lost. She was reading and re-reading an email saying she had cancer. Pucci jumped up on the chair and tried to read but she couldn’t read human English. She just stomped her paw and let out a howl of frustration.
We just didn’t understand how the best human we ever knew was on her own so much of the time AND had cancer. That just didn’t seem fair. Pucci had also had a bad start in life. Humans had beaten her and left her pregnant on the road. She was a tough, angry doggo but she loved our human with all her brittle heart. And I could never hate her for that. Our mutual interest was our mum who loved us with all of her bottomless heart. Pucci was like our mum’s outside personality – the tough survivor. I was like her soft, vulnerable and gentle inside. Like a watermelon, Pucci and I agreed. We both loved watermelon.
We didn’t see our human for a while but when we did, she had a big hole in her throat and couldn’t really talk. Her voice changed and she struggled to move her neck. I tried to get the dressing off her neck but couldn’t. I just wanted to make her better. I worked out that the cancer must have been removed as she smelt different. That was a relief, at least. I couldn’t believe that she was taking us out walking, me ahead and Pucci following my lead, even though she had a hole in her neck.
I had designated myself as the King of La Cala, where we lived. Pucci and I had agreed that she was the boss inside the house and I was the boss on the street. She had little legs so struggled to keep up with my longer strides. We found our balance though and our darling mum stood between us as we walked the streets, greeting locals as we walked.
More people started to come to the house – adults and children alike. Spanish voices, English voices, sometimes the queues went all around the street. I was plonked on people’s laps for some reason. I knew when one of them was sick. It was obvious to me. It was beneath Pucci’s pay grade, as she kept telling me, to sniff other humans. “I am like a super model. I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day,” Pucci would regularly remind me. I now had a nickname… “Dr JJ”.
The people kept on coming until I could smell a change of season in the air. Then the film crews and photographers. I loved the cameras. My mum and I would do loads of selfies anyway. I knew how to pose. Pucci hated photos so this gave me more time with our mum. She showed us the TV and magazines and newspapers. Pucci was jealous, I could tell. I was famous and she wasn’t. I was Dr JJ.
I was a bit tired of being a doctor by the time it got to winter. I had been busy for so many months but wasn’t feeling great myself. My heart was hurting more and it hurt when I breathed. My mum took me to the vet. I bit her too. She was horrid so they muzzled me. I knew she didn’t like me – the vet, that is.
I had to take tablets – six a day. That was a lot but mum made it into a ritual and a game. She gave me a nice teeth cleaning stick every morning after my tablets. It was like a routine and if she got confused or forgot to give me my tablets, I stomped my paw on the dustbin. She still wasn’t well though. She kept falling over and hurting herself. Six times in total; she dislocated her shoulder twice (and popped it back in – I heard her do it, gross) and fell on the balcony door frame and fainted. Her leg had a massive deep wound. I licked her face until she was OK again.
When my mum’s throat closed over altogether, she really thought she was dying and genuinely panicked. It happened so many times, but I heard her saying that she only had half a throat and one half of one vocal cord that worked. So her breathing was compromised. I felt so helpless. I didn’t know what to do. I was angry with a world that allowed my perfect mum to be sick.
People still came and went, looking for answers about their children or parents’ health. I had to be on tip top form but in all honesty, I didn’t want to use my skill for anyone except my human mummy. I loved her more than life itself. She had no idea how much I adored everything about her – when we danced together to songs she liked; when she shared her ice cream and smoothies with me; when she took Pucci and I to the beach to play stones. She was just “pawfect” to us.
I was getting tired. Pucci started to act weirdly. She was staring at walls and barking. She went for me for no reason and chased her tail. She would stare blankly into space at any time of day. She didn’t really know who I was. She smelled different. I knew something was up but I couldn’t tell my mum.
Over Xmas 2018, when I was eight in my 6th life, Pucci went mad. She didn’t even bark at the fireworks on New Year’s Eve. She hated fireworks normally. Our mum was so sweet, she never went out on New Year’s Eve as she knew we were scared. Mum was crying a lot again. She was telling people on the phone that “Pucci has dementia”. Don’t know that disease but made a mental note to look it up on Wikipawdia.
On January 1st 2019, Pucci had to go to the hospital. She was just up all night, jumping on mum’s head, acting like a weirdo. I knew I would never see her again in the same form. On 3rd January, mum came in with Pucci’s lead and no Pucci and cried like I have never seen her cry. She was broken in spirit. I kept seeing Pucci everywhere and was sad I didn’t get to say goodbye.
One day, mummy was sweeping up Pucci’s fur and I just followed the fur ball. I really missed Pucci even though she was a Madam. She was my family. Mum just kept on crying. The rains kept falling inside and outside our house and I just stayed with mum all the time. She stopped the Dr JJ visits. I was pleased as I wasn’t that good anymore. I felt weaker.
Mum started packing up boxes. I am not sure where we were going. I knew she wouldn’t leave me. The next thing I knew, I was on a bus with seven other dogs. I was a bit scared and it was bumpy but after a long journey, the air smelled different and I knew my mum was near. I jumped out the van and I knew where to go. Home.
We had a new home with new smells and lots of grass and mud. I loved grass. Every day, mum would take me to a special place called ‘The Rec’. I literally would run and jump for joy. It was like magic. The birds and the butterflies came to see me and told me this is what Heaven was like. Just perfect. As I rolled on my back in my pink harness, I knew something was wrong and that I didn’t have long left. I made lots of friends on The Rec. It was so different to Spain and I was in my own 7th Heaven – I even got to eat some bird feathers – they were nice and crunchy.
I would just sit and stare at my mum for hours. I was trying to tell her that I needed to leave soon. I had been with her for seven years and saved her life seven times. She told me she liked a human JJ. I had never seen her with a human boy that she loved as much as me, or for any boy for that matter – she never really recovered from her heartbreak. She asked me what to do about this boy she liked. We kept dancing but she couldn’t pick me up anymore and it hurt sometimes when she cuddled me. She kept hugging me and started looking at websites for rescue doggos. Maybe she knew I needed to go and let her get on with the next phase in her life.
I would lie on her til she fell asleep every night and then sit and guard the bed, just falling asleep for a few hours. I wanted to spend as much time as possible with her. I didn’t have long. I would sit on the terrace, knowing that these would be my last few days with my mum. My doggo mum been right. There was a perfect human out there for me and I had lived my 6th Life Purpose, right here with her.
My mum had a vision during that period. She saw Pucci across the road, sitting next to a Pound Close road sign. She was licking herself. Pucci had come to see me that day. She was a cat though now, not a doggo. She wasn’t ready to be human. She had a few lifetimes to go yet. I told her I was ready to be a human. It turns out mum got a house next to the sign where Pucci was sitting, in Pound Close. Cool or what. She even got me a garden but I knew I wasn’t going to live there. Mum had a new Life to get along with; with a human boy I hoped and with a new doggo, for sure. She couldn’t be without a doggo.
My human mummy told everyone that I had saved her Life seven times. She was so proud of me and showed me as pure a love as is possible when you are a human. Only animals are supposed to love so freely and without limitation. Then, one day in August, I knew it was time to go. We were out on our evening walk and I saw the shadow of death behind me. I barked insistently as I was angry that I had to leave my mum. Mum just pulled my lead and told me that no one was there. There was, sadly.
When we got home, I started to vomit quite violently. It went on til dawn and I was shaking but felt so bad for my mum. I watched her all night. When she woke, she took me to the clinic and I could barely walk. I used every ounce of energy because I couldn’t help but respond to her beautiful voice and the tone of her melodic words, encouraging me along the road. The lovely vet, Phoebe, told my mum I was really sick and that I needed to get to hospital immediately. We went there and I could feel myself fading. I had final stage liver failure, secondary pancreatitis and due to my chronic heart and lung condition, they couldn’t operate or do anything. I was a dying doggo.
The next time I saw mum, she had been crying. She looked awful. I could barely stand and I had weird pointy things in my legs. She just cupped my face and cried, telling me how much she loved me and that I had been the greatest thing that had ever happened to her. She held my paw and kissed me. She was a shell of a human but I was so weak I couldn’t cuddle her.
Phoebe just pushed something into my leg, I tried to snarl but couldn’t and I went to sleep. As the light in my doggo life faded, I could see Madam Pucci calling me to the next phase. She was telling me to hurry up as we had lots to catch up on. I saw my human mum’s mum and her dad too. They gave me the biggest hug and thanked me for looking after their baby on the earth plane.
The lights were bright up there – there was a welcome committee for me. I was being honoured for my Life’s work and how I had looked after my mum, Miranda. G-d… “dog” backwards, took my paw and bowed his head in respect. I was told this was Heaven. The butterfly winks were everywhere – gold and red, bursting with energy and charm. I even saw my doggo mum.
I asked G-d what happened next and what would become of my mum who was just an empty shell of a human without me. He said “Your work is done as a doggo, JJ. Your next job is to become a human doctor and to save humans from cancer in the traditional sense. Your mum will grieve for you most tragically – just look at her; she is sleeping with your bed just to be close to you. But that space will be filled with a human JJ soon. She will be an amazing mum to many other doggies and maybe even humans as a step-mum, one day, as she can’t have children. She has her own path to follow. You brought out the best from within her. You showed her what it was to truly love, be loved and be vulnerable at cellular level. She loved you with all her heart and you her. You can’t ask for much more in Life. It was magic, JJ, you were a magical dog and you were a gift from me to her”.
And with that, G-d just disappeared. The butterflies disappeared. My doggo mum disappeared. Pucci was still an earworm though. She always would be. I was sitting in a very bright operating theatre, surrounded by robotic arms. A young cancer patient lay in surgery with very advanced thyroid cancer, like my mum had back in 2014. I knew I had to save him – he was just a kid. It was my 7th cycle. The human version. I just hoped and prayed I would meet my mum, Miranda, very soon, human to human. Regardless, she would always be my 7th Heaven and I will live on inside her forever.
In memory of beloved “Dr” JJ The Adventurer and Princess Pucci of Malaga.
Dogs throughout the UK and Europe are being trained to detect cancer, malaria and neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s. According to Medical Detection Dogs, “there is growing evidence to support that elevated levels of a ‘signature’ of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) are associated with disease growth. Our research has shown that dogs can be trained to detect these odours and identify the signature associated with cancer”.
Thyroid Cancer is the fastest growing Cancer in the world, particularly amongst the young. We need to protect our children’s thyroids through iodine uptake in food as a primary source.