Jesse Odie Bodine James by Tonya and Michael Strang / Mom and Dad

Jesse James came to me unexpectedly. One day in 1992 I just decided to buy a dog, but I didn’t even know what kind I wanted, but something was calling to me. My parents and I looked through the newspaper to find a dog and went to several places but we didn’t connect with any of the dogs, until we went to Jesse’s home. The minute I saw him I knew he was meant to go home with me. He was eight months old and full of life. He had a look of incredible joy in his eyes and an energy of pure innocence. Everyone who met Jesse claimed he was so special, so sweet and so precious. He wasn’t any regular dog,
he was a gift from God.

Jesse was such a loyal friend. When I went off to college he stayed with me in my apartment and helped me feel safe and kept me company. He was with me when my father died, when I became very ill, and with me through many other trials. He was also with me during some of the most wonderful times of my life.

I married Michael in 1997 and Jesse fell in love with him. Jesse adored Mike and they were the best of buds. They loved to play tug of war with Jesse’s favorite toy- the rope! Jesse would always let you know when it was time to be petted. He would come up to your hand, butt his head right under it, and nose you until he got your undivided attention. His trick never failed. 🙂

Jesse loved to snuggle with Michael on the couch or chair and be by his side. He knew when Mike was coming home from work before I did! He would let out a distinctive whine that he only used when Mike was coming home. What a smart guy.

Jesse was quite the character. He managed to hop up on the kitchen chair, then the kitchen cabinet, and would eat a loaf of bread while we were gone! We call that the “Missing Bread Incident”. He loved to go to PetsMart and became very excited as soon as we pulled into the parking lot. His favorite place in the house was the patio door. We left the blinds raised for him so he could look outside. He would sit by the patio door and watch people and other dogs go by.

His favorite treat was Frosty Paws Ice Cream for dogs. He got that for every birthday and acted like he was in heaven.

He became like a son to us and we treated him as such. On cold winter nights he slept in the bed with us, although he had a two heated doggy beds, he preferred to sleep with us, and we preferred to have him there.

During the last year of his life he began to slow down. He developed heart problems, liver problems, bone problems, and neurological problems. He also became deaf. The vets did everything they could do for him. I won’t speak of his last days as they are too painful for us to remember, but we did right by him by sending him to heaven. He knew it was his time and we knew we had to let him go.

Our hearts have been torn apart and we know we will never have another dog touch us the way Jesse James touched our heart and soul. We now “see” Jesse playfully bouncing around heaven in a beautiful clearing with vibrant flowers. I know he’ll be waiting for us and we’ll see him again one day. Rest In Peace Our Beautiful Boy!


Forever In Our Hearts,
Jesse Odie Bodine James
Tonya and Michael Strang