Jay the Dog, a Gift from God
Updated: Dec 3, 2021
It has been said that dog is man’s best friend, and that couldn’t have been more true with Jay, Pat Kirk’s Border Collie. But Jay was more than a friend. He was a gift from God.
Through the past 13 years, Jay didn’t just serve Pat Kirk as a fond companion and cattle dog, and he wasn’t just a popular, beloved friend of the community. He was so much more in so many ways. As a working dog, he served Pat Kirk on the Angus farm. As a fixture in the community, he brought happiness to people’s lives. As a faithful church attendee, he brought joy on an individual level with his doggy smile and caring personality. So now that Jay has passed, his impact lives on. This is a tribute to him.
He was a gift from God.
Jay, the Best Cattle Dog
What first stood out about Jay was his ability as a working dog. He was the best cattle dog around and smart too. This God-given skill came in handy out on the Pat Kirk Angus Farm.
Pat Kirk first met Jay at a farm progress show in Boone. Skillfully, the slim, black and white Border Collie demonstrated his training as he herded ducks and geese into a pen, then shut the gate. Pat was impressed.
You might be too. There aren’t many dogs that can corral foul. Most I know would rather use them as a chew toy, but not Jay. He was focused on the task.
Not long after the progress show, Jay’s breeder brought him up to the Pat Kirk Angus Farm to demonstrate his working abilities with cattle. Again, Jay did fine. He displayed calculated skills, herding in the calves on the White Fox Road pasture. What’s more is Jay didn’t work the cattle unless he was asked to. He was smart.
One particular summer, Pat remembers bringing hay in from the pasture. Jay ran back and forth with the rack - close to 20 trips way out to the north pasture. Jay was right there with Pat as he worked. Even when Pat Kirk would try to race that spirited Border Collie, most of the time, Jay would beat Pat to the gate. His energy and pleasure in life was unmistakable as he loyally worked alongside Pat Kirk on the cattle farm.
All the guys out there at the farm were fond of their canine coworker too. The men who are now cutting up the dying oaks out on the north pasture, the guys working on Pat’s well, and the hired cowhands were upset to hear of Jay’s passing. They were fond of Jay. He was a special coworker of sorts.
Even when we took the calves to sale in January 2021, the auctioneer at the Guthrie Center sale barn would say, “Where’s your dog? Bring him in! We want to know how he’s doing.” It was the same way at other sales.
Jay’s skills on the farm sealed the deal for Pat, but as we all would find out later, Jay’s cattle handling abilities were just the tip of the iceberg. Jay would show himself to be a companion, friend, and comfort to many during his lifetime.
Jay, Man’s Best Friend
He was loyal, laid back, friendly, and REALLY well known. From Paton, Pat’s childhood home, to Webster City, Jay was a beloved fixture in the community.
He was known and loved by the whole community. Annette Doolittle, the owner’s wife at Doolittle’s Oil Company, thought Jay was so smart, and Mary Clausen at Salon Calypso knew Jay was kind of special. Jay was also always welcome at the nursing homes, and always gentle with the people there. Then when Jay started going to church, the people there came to think of him as part of the family. From nursing homes and church to the salon and an oil company, Jay was a special friend to the whole community.
Jay was man’s best friend everywhere he went – with or without Pat. For example, before Jay was neutered, he started to roam. He would wander over to the Country Club, and when Pat went out there looking, he would find him out on the porch entertaining the people. The folks loved him.
Jay was such a blessing to people with his personality of care and bright eyes that he was even sought after as a stud. Because Jay had such a good temperament, the local vet asked Pat to hold off on getting Jay neutered so that she could breed him to her dogs. Although Pat declined because of Jay’s recent roaming, he was honored that Jay made that big of an impression. Truly, Jay was a friendly buddy.
Pat Kirk considered Jay as a best friend and a blessing from God. He was a beloved companion and cattle dog. If Pat went anywhere, Jay was sure to be there too. If not right by his side, he would be patiently waiting in Pat’s old blue Chevy truck for his owner to return.
Although Pat Kirk didn’t have a wife or kids, Jay was his family. Pat loved Jay like family.
There’s so much truth to a dog being man’s best friend.
Jay, the Church Dog
Jay was also a faithful church attendee. Pat and Jay would go to church three times a week, and everybody loved him there. You could tell that Jay really looked forward to going to church. He couldn’t wait to get out of Pat’s old blue Chevy and go in to meet people.
One day a couple months ago, Pat and Jay attended a Thursday men’s Bible study and meal, just like they had every week, but this time a shy boy was there. He was off on his own, doing his own thing. Knowing Jay’s gentle personality, Pat asked the boy to feed Jay a hot dog. Jay’s simple way of engaging with people helped the boy feel more involved and welcome. Jay had a way with people.
He was a blessing around Christmas time at the church too. For the past few years, Pat Kirk drives the church family around the streets of Webster City Christmas caroling, and would you guess it? Jay comes along too! The people loved to see him as he rode on the hayrack beside the carolers.
In 2020 Pat received a gold star for church attendance, but it was really Jay who motivated Pat to go. Jay was buried with that star in his honor.
Jay, the Dog Who’s Legacy Lives On
Through the last couple months, as our beloved friend lost his quality of life, and Pat Kirk had to make the heart-piercing decision to have Jay put down. “All I can say is, I did the best I could for him and with him.” Pat Kirk said, “He had a good life.”
That day, November 14th, was hard, but even in this, there was a little blessing from God. “It was gloomy on Sunday when Jay had to be put down.” Pat explained, “When we went in, the sun came out, then hid again when we left.” It was like God was letting Pat and the friend who went with him know that He was there and that He cared about what was happening.
After they left the vet, Pat pulled into the farm with Jay lying in the back of the truck. As weird as it sounds, even the cats seemed to act different.
So many people dropped off cards and called Pat, showing how much they too loved and would miss their beloved community friend.
Jay’s loyal, friendly, laid-back personality influenced so many people. We were blessed to be impacted by such a special buddy, and his memory will not soon be forgotten.
At the end of the day, we want to show gratitude, respect, and admiration to God for all the ways Jay impacted both cattlemen and community alike. He will be dearly missed.
Pat said, “Let me put it this way - to put it in a nutshell - Jay to me was a gift from God. The bond we had was loyalty, devotion, and above all, love.”
Truly, he was a gift from God.