As we say goodbye to our beloved Jack, we reminisce about all the crazy, fun, adventurous things he did over his life with us.
He came to live with us December 3, 2003. I had been checking each day on a dog at our pound in Mesa. On this particular day, I walked through to check on that dog and to my left was this cute little black and white dog, wearing a bandana, just sitting there looking at me. He looked like a perfect little dog and I checked the information cards and looked at him again. And I knew! That was the dog I was taking home with me. His information card said he couldn’t go to a home with small children, I thought, perfect! I don’t have any small children. As I was checking out at the front desk, I asked why he couldn’t be around small children; they told me “he likes to hump them”. Really? That’s why this perfect little dog was sitting at the pound? (We later found out he did like to hump small children as he did with my cousin Lucy - she just thought he was dancing with her. )
I promptly gathered him up and took him home with me. I had another dog at home that was really old, couldn’t see or hear, and growled at Jack every time he went by Jack. That was Pepper. Jack just ignored him. As I went about my day, I let Jack get a feel for his new surroundings. I never had a problem with dogs wondering the house, so when I left for a few hours that day I didn’t think much of leaving Jack to his own devices.
When I returned and looked for my new perfect little dog, I couldn’t find him. Panic set in as I ran from room to room looking for him. He wouldn’t know his new name, but yet I called for him over and over. I ran outside looking for him, looked under all the beds, behind furniture; couldn’t find him. As I was running outside one more time, something caught my peripheral vision. There was Jack, lying as flat as he could on my dining room table. You see as we later learned, Jack loved to be up as high as he could be – surveying his domain.
Jack became MY dog. He followed me everywhere, slept with me, well when he wasn’t licking his paws. We found out that he licked his paws as a comfort thing. He didn’t have allergies. After Pepper went over the Rainbow Bridge, I brought in another dog – Jill. She had been so abused by a previous owner she was petrified of everything. But Jack was gentle with her and they quickly became best buddies. They would run in the backyard like cartoon dogs; running so fast it looked like their paws were going in circles. Jill was possessive of all the toys and Jack would let her take his toy. But he loved his toys. He would throw the toys in the air and then catch them.
I dearly loved Jack. He went on adventures to our property in the mountains. While he hated going outside at home, he loved the outdoors in the mountains. He also loved the time he spent with my parents and aunt & uncle. They fed him anything he wanted. One of the things he loved to do though was go through ladies purses. My mom and aunt were notorious for leaving their purses where he could go through them. He was a gum, candy, mint, whatever bandit. Yes I know, none of that is good for dogs. He was clever, he could unwrap a stick of gum and have the gum gone before we knew what happened. The only evidence was the wrapper left behind.
In addition to Jack’s ability to unwrap candy and hide in plain sight, he had an uncanny ability to act like a human. We swore he was a little man wearing a dog suit. He just couldn’t find the zipper. He loved to be in the middle of human conversations, moving his head from human to human like he was following the conversation. He was the unspoken alpha dog in our house. He was always in charge. Jack loved to sit at the dining table and be part of the party.
When my 21-year old son was assaulted and spent many months in the hospital, Jack was the only dog who got to visit him at the hospital. He wasn’t a certified therapy dog, but he knew how to make my son respond to him.
As Jack got older his adventures slowed down. He still liked to get in purses, steal gum and whatever. He still loves being part of the party; he’s just sleeping when he’s participating.
As I write this with “leaky” eyes and remember all that he has brought to our family over the years, I can’t help but think when he crosses the bridge and gets to Heaven he’ll seek out my granny and sit with her until we can all be together again. He has fabulous friends on Twitter (@Jack4Presidente) who showed him so much love and I hope he has made a difference in someone’s life. Raise a glass and say a cheer that Jack lived and he lived with such vigor.