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Take time for the little nose bumps

Jeffrey in the Snow

This was our first Christmas without Jeffrey. Well, our first Christmas since 2007 – the year we adopted him. And, heartbreakingly, our first white Christmas here since 2010. Jeffrey LOVED the snow. He made me want to be out in it, even when I would have been more likely to opt for a warm blanket and the couch. I just couldn’t say no when he looked at me with those deep, soulful brown eyes. Let’s do this, Mom!

Winter walks and hikes were this boy’s love language. He wasn’t big into snuggle sessions and he simply tolerated my need to hold his face in my hands and smooch his beautiful caramel-colored forehead. He showed his love in more subtle ways, like with these little nose bumps. He’d walk in a room and give us a nose bump to say hi. He’d randomly get up from his bed for a just-making-sure-you’re-still-there nose bump. On hikes, we’d sometimes get a this-is-so-much-fun nose bump to the leg as he herded us along.

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Jeffrey was also a guardian of the kids. He didn’t dig the craziness, but this winter boy would hang out in the backyard for sledding sessions like a dedicated keeper of his pack. Sometimes playing, sometimes just watching over all the madness. I scrambled for my phone to grab this pic (below), but it turned out I needn’t have rushed. He sat like this for quite a long time, quietly observing his kids from the background and treasuring the togetherness. We MISS him madly.

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When we brought the tree home this year, we slid the dog beds out of the way to make room for it as we always do. I had Jeffrey’s bed in my hands and thought for a moment that perhaps we shouldn’t keep it here anymore? I shook my head tearfully and set it back down. I couldn’t imagine lighting the Christmas tree with only one dog’s bed illuminated by its glow. There was comfort in sitting in the living room and imagining Jeffrey right there beside his little brother Dasher. With US…where he has always belonged.


We lost Jeffrey in October and it’s still so difficult. Our connection to this creature who was part of our lives for so long was so very strong. He was family. Jeffrey was a complicated guy with a depth that is hard to articulate. We didn’t always know what he was thinking, but we certainly knew he was always thinking.

On his last day with us, my husband Derek and I carried Jeffrey from the car to visit his favorite places. We cried, we reminisced about all the things we’d done together, we took turns holding him in our arms.  We can still see Jeffrey leading the way on every hike. The snow will forever remind us of his free spirit and absolute contagious enthusiasm for life. You’ve taught us so much about appreciating the little things, Jeffrey. It really doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Just taking a moment in a busy day can mean the world. A short walk instead of an hours-long hike, stopping for a hug instead of hurriedly rushing past each other. And, don’t forget those little nose bumps. What I wouldn’t give for another one of those. We love you, Jeffrey.

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12 thoughts on “Take time for the little nose bumps

  1. Beautiful story ..
    And so very true.. always take time to appreciate the nose bumps..
    I’m so thankful I got to meet Jeffery ..
    He was a precious soul.

    And because of you & your husband Derrick, his memory will live on with @Fetching Apparel ..

    Thank you for all you do in helping other animals find true love as Jeffery did♥️

    Love & Hugs to you and your family ..

  2. Okay you have me absolutely bawling. I know Jeffrey and Sparky are having such an amazing time. The photo of you guys at Molly’s Knob mean so much to me. That was the last big hike I did with Sparky and was the night I almost lost him. That was the day, and hike I found out he was a bad diabetic. I see Sparky walking with me on every hike and the hurt is like no other. Sparky also loved the snow and I would shovel him a path, but in Sparky fashion, he had to blaze his own path. I wish I could put my love for him in the words you did for Jeffrey, but my love is still there. Hugs my dear friend, for one day, Jeffrey and Sparky will happily greet us once again.

  3. What a heartfelt story! I understand the love you had for Jeffrey, and he has made an imprint on all of us who love Fetching Apparel and its mission. I also understand nose bumps. My Bella gives them forcefully every evening at the dinner table. We have to keep a couple crumbled up dog cookies on a napkin between us and, like a child going from parent to parent, she forcefully bumps my leg for a crumble, and then slinks around the island to forcefully nose bump daddy’s leg for another cookie crumble. She’s back and forth for the duration of our dinner. We have created a nose-bumping monster! After reading your story, I will cherish every forceful nose bump from my girl.

  4. Hi Rebecca, your sweet story about Jeffrey reminds me of my best friend, Spunky. She became part of our family when she was 2 years old, rescued her from the Animal shelter when I lived in Asheville, it turns out she rescued me!!! She was with me through so many good times, tough times, changes and moving from NC here to Bristol TN. We were so connected, such a special pup. She truly understood me and “got me”, as your shirts say. She went to heaven 2 weeks shy of her 16th birthday, it will be 3 years this year and I miss her every day. She taught me so much. She will always be in my heart and in my memories. We have 3 Dogs, all rescues, they are our kids! Love them all, each with their own personality. Thank you for all that you and your husband do for shelter pets through your wonderful business. I love your apparel; I have several items. I had the honor of meeting your husband and daughter one day when I placed my first order and they delivered it to my house. What a wonderful surprise to meet them, so very sweet and thoughtful!! I always enjoy watching you on the News and your Pepin’s Pet projects. You are such a nice, kind person. Thank you. God Bless you and your husband and family.

    • Dearest Terry,
      Thank you for sharing this beautiful story about Spunky. Losing these special family members is so painful, but I know we certainly wouldn’t trade it. The joy they bring is unbelievable! Thank you for being a loyal customer, Terry. It means so much to our small, family business. 🥰

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