Sunday, August 11, 2013

Jack. Dog Extraordinaire.

A rough summer.

Broken bones, failing health for loved ones, grief over a beloved pet passing on.

A very rough summer.
We got Jack when he was just a wee little guy. 

Eight weeks old.

He cried the first week or so, missing his momma.

I cried the first week or so, over him missing his momma. And because K was afraid of him.

All five pounds of him. All twelve inches of him.
She was five when he came to us. She was a wee little one too. And she didn't quite have the moxie then that she does now.

She refused to come out of her room if he was loose.

She would peek out her bedroom door, look all around, and if she saw him, the door would slam shut and she would jump up on her bed and cry.

It broke my heart.
I started looking for rescue organizations. I was convinced we were not going to be able to keep this little bundle of fur.

The Man couldn't understand it. How could she be so afraid of such a little thing?

He told her she had to be the boss. She had to let Jack know that she was in charge. Not him.

I think that's when her bossiness started.

She didn't just stop with Jack. She extended it to the rest of us.

See? It's the Man's fault.
J was in love with this little guy from the get-go.

A boy and his dog.

Two best friends.

And they've been that way for over fourteen years.
If I couldn't find J, I'd look for Jack and sure enough, J was nestled up with him. On the couch. On the bed. On the dog pillow. Under the table. On a rug.

It didn't matter where Jack was resting. J was nestled in with him.
But it was the Man that Jack really loved the most.

He thought the sun and the moon set on the Man. The Man would come home from work and march in the back door and say, "Has anyone seen Jack?"

Of course, Jack was waiting for him at the door and couldn't believe that the Man ignored him. He would be jumping around, barking, doing all he could to get the Man's attention. And the Man would just stand there, pretending to look around for Jack.

Finally, the Man would extend one of his arms out and Jack would jump up and grab on for all he was worth. The Man would exclaim, "There he is! There's Jack!" And rub his belly for a few minutes. And then his ears and head.

And Jack would smile. Really smile.

All was right in his world. The Man was home.
Jack had his share of troubles. He had to have both ACLs repaired.

Jumping off Grandma's stone wall. The poor guy cried. And couldn't walk.

ACL number one.
A year later. Running after a frisbee.

Jumping in the air. 

More crying.

ACL number two.
After that, we called him the six million dollar dog.

Worth every penny.
A few years after that, a growth appeared.

The vet didn't have good news. They removed the growth but told us it had a good chance of coming back.

Six to eighteen months was the prediction.

We started to grieve, thinking he was going to be leaving  us. But he didn't.
After that, J refused to believe anything bad was going to happen to Jack. He looked at Jack like he was invincible. He played with Jack like he was a puppy. We would caution him that Jack was an old man. But J didn't believe it. 

And you know what? Jack loved it. He would play right back with J, acting like a puppy. Running, chasing balls, playing hide and seek.

J has struggled the most with this. 

He didn't want to say goodbye.
K has been quiet. Too quiet. She holds her grief inside. It's breaking my heart.

She just looks off, staring at nothing. But her eyes glisten. And one tear rolls out. Then another. 

And still she's quiet.

The Man found her standing at the table, looking at nothing, crying. He grabbed her in a big hug and she clung to him, weeping into his shoulder.

Her pain runs deep. 
She is not a frightened little girl anymore.

She is a grieving young woman who has lost a beloved one.
We spent some time today remembering things about Jack. And our life with him. Remembering a hike we took and Jack running ahead, getting away from us.

The Man wasn't worried about him. "He'll come back. He's just having fun, running around these woods."

Then we heard a dog crying and howling. The Man was upset that someone wasn't watching their dog. Or paying attention to it.

We soon realized it was Jack crying. Looking for us.

He was on the side of a cliff. Stuck. If he moved a few feet left or right he'd fall close to fifty feet. The Man was terrified Jack would try to jump as soon as he saw us.

The Man had to climb down the cliff, like a billy goat, to rescue Jack.

Terrifying moments for all of us.
I do not have any photos of Jack and Grandma.

I wish I did.

She misses him so much. She's been crying for the past four days, since this final ordeal started. 

He's been her companion. She talks to him and pets him throughout the day. He circles around and lies down by her feet, waiting for the inevitable treats that appear. She tells him what a good boy he is and he rewards her with faithfulness and loyalty.

He was so sad while she was in the hospital and rehab. He kept going in her room looking for her. After a while, he stopped. I don't think he thought she was coming back.
I am so glad she came home before he passed away. He wasn't the same dog, though. He wanted to be with her but he struggled to leave his pillow bed.

His old man legs just wouldn't let him go to her that often.

So she came to him.

She would sit in the living room and talk to him and pet him.

She would tell him how much he was loved.

And he was.

Boy, was he loved. 

I'm going to miss him. Probably more than I know right now. I still can't believe he's gone. I keep looking for him. Looking for his face at the screen door. Looking for him in the corner of the living room. Listening for his nails to click-clack on the wood floors. Listening for him to scratch at the back door, telling me he's ready to come in.

I'm going to miss him trotting out to my car when I get home from work. And that look on his face.

"I"m so glad you're home, Mom!" 
But most of all, I'm going to miss his eyes.

His chocolate brown, full-of-love, I-adore-you eyes.


May you rest in peace, dear one. 

You are loved.


  1. Oh, dear - I'm so sorry he's gone!

  2. Cheryl--I am so sorry--losing a beloved family member is very, very sad

  3. I was afraid your summer was going like this. That's just so much grief and stress. I'm so sorry.

    What a sweet soul, your Jack. How heartbreaking. I dread the day with Stuffed and am so sorry you're there now.

    Love and Prayers to you all, Cheryl.

  4. Thinking of you all, so sorry for your loss.

  5. I am sorry for your loss. My family has been there a few times too. What a beautiful tribute to your very special friend. Warmest regards to all of you. Louise

  6. Christine, your sissyAugust 12, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    Love him so much. Miss him so much. Every time I read this I just keep crying. Love you all xoxo.

  7. Never had a pet but your words made me feel all your hurt.

  8. Thank you so much for all your kind words. I treasure them. Anyone who has lost a pet knows the emptiness in the house right now. But all of you have made the grief a little more bearable. Thank you, dear friends.

  9. Dear Cheryl, I am so sorry you have had such a rough summer. I knew something was wrong when you were not blogging...this is a big part of your life, an important one, a one you do such a great job at. I am also so sorry for all these things you have gone through and for the lost of your dog. I remember such sadness when we lost Annabelle our beloved bunny of 8 years. The house wasn't the same but over time we came to realize how blessed we were to have had those special times with her. She will always be with us and your Jack will be with you. Beautiful photos...beautiful memories. Hugs.

  10. Thank you, Catherine. Very kind words much needed right now.

  11. Dear Cheryl and wonderful family - I know so well the heartache and pain of losing such a special dog, a part of our family. We had a springer spaniel dog that touched each one of us so dearly. We still cherish and talk of our special memories of him. May your days and hearts feel lighter each day. Love you all