Yesterday my first granddog, Jack, died in his sleep. He was 13. Today we are gathering for a small memorial at his house to honor his life and all that he contributed to ours.
My daughter and I went down to a "backyard breeder" in Petaluma, answering an ad in the local paper. The Brittany pups left were three males, approximately 12 weeks old. They were sleek and healthy, their mom had three legs, the dad was a hunting dog, big for a Brittany. The backyard butted up against the fence which separated them from a four-lane crazy-crowded Hwy. 101. It was unbearable out there from the noise and fumes. The woman selling the dogs seemed angry, they were her husband's project. The dad-dog was a beauty, and took a liking to me, sitting on my foot and leaning into my leg. The woman offered him to me, cheap, she said, he likes you.
From that day on, Jack had a loving home, good food, and a nice bed which he liked to rearrange frequently. He adored Roy, after getting over their initial meeting. Roy had been on his annual hunting trip and came home to find this little orange and white guy in their bed. Oh no, Roy was having none of that, so little Jack was given his very own place to sleep. I (the mother-in-law!!!) of course, had just jumped right into spoiling my little grandpup.
My first pup was a Brittany. I worked all summer to pay for her, and that is another story.
Jack was "Uncle Jack" to our Meat Pie. He taught her some manners, as he really hated being jumped upon by a bratty little Chocolate Lab. At that time I lived down the street from him and his family. Now and then he would escape by climbing over, under or through their fence and come down and throw himself against my door. He was a consummate cat-chaser, and though I liked to think that he was coming down to see me, he actually was coming down to terrorize Tigger and Pixie. I discovered this one day by opening the front door and him flying in and up the stairs and under my bed while cats went up the curtains and across the ceiling. Whoa. JACK!!!!
Rebekah is a year younger than he was. He tended her from the first day she came home. She learned her first dog-training with him, found a place in her heart that responds to dogs. This will be a gift that will be with her for her whole life, even as her sweet heart is broken open in sorrow today.
Jack was nearly killed one afternoon by the neighbor boy left home alone with a house full of guns. He shot Jack, point blank, in the ribs as some sort of malicious experiment. He too, had known Jack for many years. That incident was never resolved, always hung over the fence. Jack recovered in a miraculous way, lived the next 3-4 years with a bullet lodged in between his lungs and heart.
In his 13 years, Jack loved and was loved. He stayed with his family through sorrow, through the joyous births of Rebekah and Mary, through moving, through divorce. He absorbed many tears, always soaked up his girls, and wagged that tail regardless.
You're free, Jack! Ride the wind, play in the river, visit us in our dreams. We love you.
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