|Momma and Jack, October, 1998|
The horrible thing.
The thing I can't talk about.
The thing I knew was coming and dreaded and could not bring myself to face, has happened.
My darling Jack The Dog has gone.
Cancer sucks. Lymphoma sucks. Even when it's just your dog.
On Friday evening, he seemed much as he had - declining, but not broken - but when we awoke on Saturday morning, we knew that the time had come. He was suddenly no longer interested in eating and his legs could no longer support him.
His girlfriends (see below) came and spent the better part of the day with him and with us, all of us lying with him on the floor, petting him, loving him until the time came to let go.
The vet made a house call, armed with her pink syringe, and Jack quickly went to sleep in my arms.
It was horridly painful.
It still is.
It seems absolutely mad that just last week he was insistently barking for Pumpkin Cookies.
How in the world does time just keep moving on?
I couldn't write a word at first, but, as I'd felt compelled to write a tribute to Cosmo J. Bird less than a month ago, I now feel an even stronger urge to share the story of Jack The Dog with you. I don't need sympathy or comments or any of those things. Just, please, read on to share the life of one, very loved, Jack Dog.
|Jack the Dog at 2 years old.|
THE STORY OF JACK THE DOG
When my husband and I were first married, we lived in an apartment, but finally got enough saved up to buy a small house in a bedroom community, about 40 minutes north of where we worked.
My husband has always known that I simply can not live without dogs, and he had always promised me that we'd get a dog as soon as we had a house. He kept his promise.
Within two weeks of moving, I was reading the paper in my new dining room, sipping coffee and probably having a bagel, when I spied an ad in the local paper advertising three litters of puppies available in a nearby desert-ish town for $25.00 each.
Suffice to say that I didn't have too much convincing to do, and being childless at the time, it was easy enough for us to hop in the car and drive 20 minutes or so to Anza. As soon as we stepped out of the car, we were immediately swarmed with puppies.
Swarmed, I say.
There were SO MANY puppies-- three mothers, two fathers--all living on a working farm, puppies spilling out of the barns, puppies romping in the grass, puppies yelping, puppies panting, puppies running to the water dishes... it was sheer madness and hilarity.
The mother of one of the litters was a beautiful Chow and Shepard mix, the father, mostly Australian Cattle Dog. Most of her pups looked similar with crazy-fluffy long, thick under-coated fur, black and tan markings and purple spotted tongues. I had my eye on a little boy with the cutest curly fur, and I followed him around for a little while, attempting to catch his eye, when I noticed that his straight-haired brother was following ME.
I couldn't shake him.
No matter where I went, or which puppy I played with, this guy wouldn't let me go.
That's right. We didn't pick Jack The Dog. Jack The Dog picked US.
So that was it, then. He was coming with us. Aside from finding Jack (or the other way around, if you must), the most amazing part of the day was when his mother followed us to the car, stuck her nose in, gave it (and us) a good inspection, and then finally nudged Jack one last time and turned back toward the barn.
It was amazing. I'd never known a momma dog to say goodbye like that. I'll never forget Jack The Dog's Dog Momma and her goodbye and well-wishes.
He was named on the drive home - 'Jack', for the everyman. 'Jack' for the great Jacks in history and literature and song. 'Jack' is a good name for a dog.
And that is how I came to be the Momma of a $25.00 desert dog-boy.
It wasn't all roses and sonnets, of course. He was a bit on the aggressive side, a bit too crazy when people came to the door, but he was the smartest dog I've ever known.
He considered it a personal affront that cats and rabbits exist in the world, and had a special bark for each of them. In fact, the only not-so-smart thing I ever saw from him was the time when he was still less than a year old, and he was so intent on running after a cat across the street that he didn't notice that there was a car coming. Fast.
He ran smack into the side of the moving car, bounced off the door, and rolled in a fuzzy ball down the street.
He was fine. The driver was a little shaken.
|Opening Jack's Stocking, Christmas, 2010|
|Waiting for Santa.|
|Jack gets his first look at Miss M, April, 2007.|
|Run, Run as far as you dare.... then run back to Momma.|
At the Salt Flats, near Anza-Borrego State Park, California.
|Building Snow Dogs with Daddy on Christmas Day.|
|Under his favorite Bridge.|
|Miss Laurie comes to visit, Christmas, 2010.|
My heart will always hold you, even though my arms no longer can.