Thursday, September 9, 2010

Oh my dog.

My brain is so full of things I probably either shouldn't write about here, or at the very least aren't ready for me to write about here.

But I still feel like my blog has gone far too long without a substantial post.


Very suddenly and unexpectedly, we are without dogs. TBird went to go live at my uncle's house, where he may possibly father some baby TBirds. That was planned. We had to put Jackson down due to injuries that followed him abandoning the back of a pick-up truck after his collar loosened and then broke. That was unplanned.

I was able to grieve here and there as we drove to Washington to drop off TBird, but coming back home to an empty backyard (however full of dog hair and poop it may be) was horrible. I miss my dogs. TBird was a good boy and I loved him but Jackson was mine and has been only mine since the beginning. He knew me and I knew him and I so desparately did not want it to end like it already has.

He and I had a special bond. I know that if I had just a little more time to give him on a regular basis, he would have done almost anything I asked. He was already super loyal, even though he had gotten to stop trusting me about what deserved to be barked at or not. In his late puppyhood he once stopped mid-rabbit-chase, seconds after the initial BURST, just because I shouted his name (rather desparately, because I fully expected him to ignore me and continue tearing up the hill.) That incident still shocks me.

In the months after Elaine's birth (or was it before?) his anxiety shot through the ROOF and because I was so blind to my own anxiety it irritated the heck out of me, instead of making me stop and look at the vibes he was so obviously picking up. That dog. He didn't want me to be out of his sight. He always wanted to be in. This pissed me off, because I had a newborn and toddler after all and couldn't be catering to the whims of some nutcase dog. I put him out. He paced and circled the yard, whining constantly and urgently and chewed the gate in the side yard until his gums bled. I let him in. He immediately went to lie down in some out of the way place, always with an ear on me and usually his eyes, too. His crazy anxious behaviour stopped as soon as he was in my vicinity. I just didn't GET it. The cycle of him being in and then out and then in again repeated until I was SOOOOOO upset with him I sent him to my parents, where he appeared to be just fine.

Many months and a few medications (for me, not him!) later, he came to live with us where we are now. Never had a problem since. Somewhere along the line it occurred to me that the time frame of the severity of his anxiety mirrored my own and I was utterly stunned. I wish I could tell him how sorry I am for not understanding.

Yes, he was a little crazy, but who could blame him, given what little we know (not much) of his puppyhood prior to living with me? He did the best he could. He was a smart, SMART dog. He liked to lie down with his back all twisted until you couldn't guess which of his front legs was missing. He had a sense of humor. He was vocal. He loved to chase the lawnmower and threatened to chew its wheels off. He was ever suspicious and reserved, unless you had proven yourself to be trustworthy and then he was just a goofy, relaxed, loving dog, eager for you to throw something, or even better, play tug of war.

My Jackson dog. Oh how I wish it didn't end like this. I told him that, over and over again, whispered into his ears as he slipped away. I cradled his head in my arms and told him how I loved him and what a good dog he was. I thanked him for loving me like he did.

I'll never forget you, pup. Rest in peace.

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
- Roger Caras


  1. I'm so sorry. He sounds like a wonderful companion and friend.

  2. Beck, I'm so very sorry for your loss. Losing a beloved pet is never easy, but losing one with whom you had such a special bond is heartbreaking. I'll be praying for you as you grieve.

  3. I'm so sorry, love. Breaks my heart.

  4. Jackson was unique - in just about every way. I was one of his 'trusted few' and enjoyed rewarding his obedience with raw turkey. OK - I cater to dogs, and raw turkey necks were a special treat more often than a reward. I have precious memories of him barking at anything that moved en route to 7 a.m. choir, and then snoozing on a bench seat for the hour we waited. And I no longer complain (much) about the five hens he killed...

  5. Oh dear. I know how much Jax meant to you when you first got him while you were in LA. I remember tears welling up in my eyes as I read the gut-wrenching decision you were forced to make: 1. Spend untold thousands of dollars on shoulder surgeries as he grew, or 2. Spend a lot more than you had to have the leg amputated, or 3. Have him put down. I remember sitting in my bedroom, looking down at Cindy (my doggie who was to go to doggie heaven a year or so later) and without hesitation, reaching for my checkbook. I had just worked a ton of overtime and had been a little lax on my tithing...I got to meet him once. He thanked me with a huge kiss (caught on camera, I still have the picture). There are bad dogs, good dogs, and great dogs. Jackson was a great.I'm heartened to think that Cindy has a good playmate now. Maybe he'll teach her how to swim. She always tried to climb out of the water instead of paddling. I just watched the video file of Jackson and Shadow swimming. Off to go find tissue. Prayers to your family.-Brian, Emily, Julius, and cats George and Bartholomew.