Today – September 14th – is National Pet Memorial Day and the month of September is National Pet Memorial Month. Although they are never forgotten, I wanted take some time today to specifically honor three very special pets who have touched my life.


Jake was my first dog. He was abandon with his siblings at my parent’s vet office. The veterinarian himself picked out Jake to adopt, but shortly realized that he did not have enough time to give him all the love he needed. My parent’s had recently lost another dog, Kenyon, so the veterinarian asked if they had any room in their home and hearts for Jake. Fortunately, they said yes.

Although Jake came with his name, we always used to joke it was a combination of mine and my sister’s names – my initials are JAS and hers are KES. JAKE S.

We thought Jake was part Doberman and part Greyhound. He had the color of a Doberman and the body style and speed of a Greyhound. He was the friendliest and gentlest dog. He loved everyone and everything, except for thunderstorms and my grandpa, unless of course it was thunder storming. Then he could be found right next to him for extra protection. He really taught me how to love a pet and how a pet could give back so much love.

Jake lived a long and happy life, but we unfortunately lost him to canine cancer.

Jake was my first dog.


Pika was the first pet that I was allowed to invite into my family. My parents allowed my sister and I to each rescue a cat when I was in elementary school. I picked Pika and named her after a Pokemon, while my sister found Freckles who is still with us today.

Pika was a bit of an oddball. She wasn’t very trusting and she always had to make the first move. She wasn’t big on being cuddled, but seemed to always want to be in the same room. Pika also had some health challenges like feline diabetes, but she taught me that every pet is different and unique. While some people and animals will freely give out their affection, you have to earn it from others. That was one thing we could agree on.

After over 14 years, Pikablue left us last July. As a young cat, she loved Jake and took it hard when he passed. I can only hope they are reunited somewhere now.

Pika taught me that all pets are unique.


Rho was the first pet that I took full responsibility of and it was only by silly coincidence that he came into my life. During my sophomore year, the veterinarian club at Cornell was selling betta fish as a fundraiser. I had been missing my furry friends back home so although I had never taken care of a fish before, I decided to give it a try.

I take great pride in knowing that I spoiled that little guy. He swam freely in a 5 gallon tank and had all my attention. I wasn’t expecting much of a relationship out of a fish because I couldn’t really pet him, but there was something there. He used to perk up when I walked in the room and follow my finger from the other side of the glass. I used to talk to him all the time too and I’d like to think that he listened.

Rho was with me for two and half years. He traveled with me countless times from NY to VA and back again and he was the inspiration behind one of my very first posts.

Rho was an incredible friend.

Thank you Jake, Pika, and Rho for being such amazing friends and for teaching me valuable lessons. You will always be missed.

You can view more photos of Jake, Pika, and Rho over on Flickr.

What pets are you no longer with you, but are never forgotten?

Jessica Shipman
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