Back in the old days, I used to see Jack running around town. That was before I met his mom. Jack never met a human being he didn't like. On some days when he disappeared, his mom and I worried about two things. Whether the dogcatcher had come by for an easy score or more likely, whether Jack had gone downtown to find some people to pet him. It was not at all uncommon to find Jack near the entrance of the grocery store, greeting people as they came out.
Jack was my ex-girlfriend's dog. He was a golden retriever with a giant "mombo" head. I met him in 2006.
The great thing about Jack was that he lived up to all of my expectations. We expect good dogs to hate cats and Jack did. We expect good dogs to love to go for rides and Jack did. We expect good dogs to play fetch and grab toys. Jack did better than that. He loved giant river rocks. Anytime he saw one, he would grab it and cart it around in his breadbox sized mouth. Gawd, I would giggle. He was obsessed with rocks. One time I saw Jack walk past a partially buried river rock, sniff the air, and then suddenly turn and dig up a softball sized rock. He carted it around for 30 minutes. He always had something in his mouth. Jack loved rocks and toys because he associated those items with happy times. With people.
Jack loved to play. In his later years, we would take Jack to the doggie beach. Jack turned into a puppy again, running through the surf and bounding everywhere, stealing every dog's toy. Jack was pretty sneaky. He would buddy up with some other dog- pretending not to care about the other dog's ball- and just as soon as Jack's new buddy would drop his ball, Jack would have it. And Jack was not above stealing two balls at once. He did that often.
One year at Christmas, the neighbor decorated an outdoor evergreen tree with these giant stuffed candy canes. Jack would sneak up to the tree, grab one of those ornaments, and then haul ass back though the trees and snow- to his yard. There he would begin the arduous process of tearing the stuffing out of those things. He shredded so many of those candy canes that I'm not sure there were any left over by the time Christmas rolled around. I always giggle when I think about that drunken neighbor of ours- scratching his head and wondering where the hell his decorations were going.
A couple of years ago, the ex got a black lab puppy. Jack taught that puppy how to behave in that secret, surrogate fashion that all good dogs are pre-programmed with. Jack was probably 11 years old when the new pup arrived. They loved to play and Jack showed great patience with the pup. During the training period, Jack delivered the final lesson one day. I call it the Quigley incident.
Quigley is a very popular, dog walking area east of Moonbat City. One day we had the puppy, maybe 9 months old then, out walking down Quigley Road. My ex had Jack on a leash. The four of us were heading back home when a gal showed up with what I will call- maybe a two year old German Shepherd. A mean dog. When the German Shepherd saw the puppy he let out this nasty growl and immediately went into a stalking mode. Before I could do much of anything, the German Shepherd had pounced on the puppy and pinned him to the ground. The shepherd was trying to hurt the puppy and the puppy was shrieking in pain. I tried to kick the shepherd in the head but missed. Seeing all of this action was too much for Jack who jerked the leash out of the ex's hand and shot into the middle of this mess. Jack bit that German Shepherd very hard- right on the rear leg. By that time, the German Shepherd's owner was yelling at us like it was us that had caused this mess.
People piss me off. I should have bit her on the ass.
We survived the Quigley incident. Jack went back to California with his mom. I used to joke that I missed Jack a lot and her...not so much. She understood my sentiments precisely.
Jack was the happiest dog I have ever seen. Nobody ever expected Jack to build bridges, save lives, or change the world. Somehow Jack was just happy being Jack. He lived in the moment, smelling the breeze, never worried about disappointing anyone. He didn't worry about the past, about money, or about dying. In a lot of respects, Jack had a perfect life. It's been about a year since Jack went to where all of the good dogs go. I miss him.
|Checking Kid for Hidden River Rocks|