You see I had started this campaign the previous June. I had started cutting out pictures and putting them on the refrigerator in hopes of wooing my parents with the “ultimate family dog”. They thought I was crazy. I was. I was also determined to change their mind. I had even named him. I thought Jack sounded like a strong name for a strong dog. My relentless nagging was carried on through the holidays and I remember my parents asking me what I had wanted for Christmas and I said…”Hello? The dog of course.” And in true naïve fashion I assumed he would be there Christmas morning. Because that’s how it works, right? You ask Santa…and he brings it! I was truly shocked Christmas morning when there was no puppy barking under my tree. I thought for sure my parents had grown soft on the idea and they too wanted a dog. I was wrong.
It wasn’t until two months later in February when my mom shocked all of us and brought him home. He was perfect. He was exactly what I had thought he would be like. And we named him Jack.
We soon became aware that this dog was not just any dog. He was truly a member of our family now. He was a lap dog….even at his heaviest weight. The floor and backyard did not apply to him. He simply was not going to follow any rules or guidelines that any other dog followed. We know that to be true because he failed two obedience classes….badly. We joked that he was a disgrace to his breed because he was afraid of water and what kind of a retriever is that? When it was clear that he preferred to lounge rather than get his coat messy, we simply renamed him “Just Jack” courtesy of the character on Will & Grace. Being a little light in the toes will get you a nickname like that.
I truly believe that we have been blessed with the best dog. He would never think to harm anybody and as much as we joked about his lack of being a strong guard dog, it was simply because he loved to be around people. And frankly, at times, he thought he was one of them. He put up with three grandkids coming into his house using him as a pillow and trying to ride him like a horse. He never once growled at them or snapped at them…he was just happy they were there.
As much as my heart aches…and it hurts like hell…I know that he is better now. There is no struggle to get up anymore. There is no pain in his step and there is no hurt in his eyes. He is at peace. There are no words that can express our loss. Our family, especially my mom, has lost a true friend.
I will eventually get used to opening the door and him not being there…but I am not there yet. His love and commitment to us was showed every time we opened the front door or the garage door because no matter how tired he was or hurt he was, he ALWAYS got up to come greet us. We would say to him…your fine, we see you, just don’t get up. And he would ignore us and come greet us, tail wagging.