Jack’s Week at Camp Tracy

Jack and Boone
Jack and Boone

I recently went out of town on a trip, so Jack (and Spec) got to go to Tracy’s house for a week. Her house is much more fun than his at home. Tracy works with dogs. Here’s a link to her website, ZenPaws. Here are a few of Tracy’s notes about Jack’s week at dog camp:

Tuesday, May 24
Jack rode really well in my car — maybe because Spec was in it. Jack didn’t want to get in the car, though. He didn’t even want his leash on to leave the house. Mike (the handyman) was here when we got here and Jack jumped all over him.

Wednesday, May 25
Jack barked for about 30 minutes at bedtime. We all got up at 5 a.m. and then went back to bed. Then Jack barked from 6:30 – 7:30.

Thursday, May 26
Last night I left Jack out with McQueen. Jack whined when I went to bed but didn’t bark. He amazes me by how fast he runs. He can keep up with the big dogs. His little legs do triple time.

Friday, May 27
Jack and Boone were up all night playing. And they bark while they play. Boone was afraid of Spec at first (well Spec lunged and barked at him and chased him all around the yard) but Boone just did three play bows in an attempt to get him to play. Spec didn’t know what to do. Boone ran off with Jack.

Saturday, May 28
I have a headache behind my left eye called “Jack.” That monkey/hyena barking is enough to drive a person … well, drive a person to drive away. It takes a village to care for Jack. And, luckily, I have a village. Almost every dog has given Jack “what for.” And they do it so nicely and then go right back to playing with him. Sadly, I’m the only one bothered by his nightly barking!!

Sunday, May 29
I don’t know what the dogs did while I was away, but the white one were covered in mud. It’s bone dry outside. Maybe they dug a well. Jack has been spending a lot of time outside with the big dogs. He’s usually the last one to come when I call.

Monday, May 30
Hey, I think Jack misses you. He finally started paying attention to me. I was brushing Ginger and he was standing underneath her and was totally orange by the time I was done. He stayed out with the big dogs last night and didn’t bark at all.

Tuesday, May 31
Jack was quiet all night. He was out with Layla and Boone and I think they are finally too tired to play. Spec had the honor of waking me this morning with his low, raspy bark. Jack isn’t giving Spec the time of day. He’s too busy with the big boys and I think Spec is glad!

jack
Jack slept for 2 days after he got home from camp

Jack and Friends

JackI love Spring. I love pups. And I love taking pictures. Here are pictures from photo shoots this spring with Jack and his good buddies, Spec and Girlfriend.

It was Jack’s eyes that caught our attention when he was a tiny puppy. And when his eyebrows aren’t too long, you can still see them. Aren’t they the cutest eyes? He’s wearing his St. Patrick’s Day bandana in this photo.

 
 
Here’s Jack again in his lucky Irish bandana. I used one of The Pioneer Woman’s photoshop action to make this photo dramatic. Not that Jack needs any help with drama …Jack

 
 
In the middle of this photo shoot, some people walked by. Jack’s always alert and he jumped up to bark and growl and watch the people until they left “his” street. (See what I mean by drama?)Jack
 
 
Jack’s buddy, Spec, stays with us a couple of days a week. (He stays with us when Sandy, his human, is traveling.) Spec is 13 years old very wise. He’s also nearly deaf and doesn’t seem to mind Jack’s sonic bark. He’s a handsome guy.Spec
 
 
Spec is such a cute “little old man.” Here he is on the back porch. As I said, he can’t really hear. But he loves to be outside on the back porch, keeping watch and randomly barking. Bark! (“I’m in charge here!”) Bark! Bark! (“Is anyone out there?”) Bark! Bark! Bark! (“This is my porch!”)Spec
 
 
Girlfriend is the dog next door. Girlfriend is a miniature Schnoodle (Schnauzer and Poodle mix). She was Jack’s first friend after we brought him home. He has great fun playing with her. I took these pictures of Girlfriend one night when the light was so perfect and the grass so green.Girlfriend
 
 
Girlfriend’s got a hurt knee, so she and Jack don’t get to play together very often. Jack’s pretty sad about it. When Jack arrived, he was smaller than her. She still can’t figure out how he got so big.Girlfriend
 
 

If you are still reading after all this canine photo love, thank you — and here’s one last picture of Jack. Did I mention that I love, love, love the Spring. And pups. And taking pictures.Jack

Lessons from Jack

Puppy Jack
Puppy Jack

It was a year ago when Jackson (a Scottish Terrier puppy) came to live with us. He’s brought joy to this household and has taught me a few things about life. Today I celebrate Jack and the things he’s taught me.

  • Love — I love this dog. And I think he loves me. Love’s such a wonderful mystery — and a gift.
  • Patience — You can’t make a puppy do his business. It’s a process of growth and learning — for both puppy and human.
  • Fun — You don’t need expensive toys to have fun. Fun can come from  a sick, a leaf, or a plastic bottle. (That’s a good lesson for me in this season of wanting new gadgets.)
  • Friendship — Jack has a bunch of friends, both human and canine. He has a great sense of hospitality, welcoming visitors with a smile and wagging tail.
  • Happiness — Happiness is … having a puppy.

Jack’s Fall Vacation

Jack at one year
Jack the Scottie -- First birthday portrait

I’ve just returned from a short fall vacation in Wisconsin. Jack got a break, too. He went to Tracy’s house.

Tracy is Jack’s best friend. He doesn’t mind that she’s not a dog. (He’s very accepting of everyone.) Tracy and her lab, Said (sī – ēd), regularly welcome Jack to their home. Here are Tracy’s notes about Jack’s vacation (he said I could share this with you):

Thursday, November 4
Jack made up for lost time playing while he was here. At 1:00 a.m., Said and McQueen were half dead on the floor and Jack still wanted to wrestle. I only had to chase him around the house twice to get him in a crate.

Friday, November 5
When did you say the “quiet, cuddly time” was? Jack woke us up, raring to go. He spent most of the morning outside. It’s trash and recycling day. Very exciting around here — lots of trucks beeping all over the ‘hood. There are as many leaves on Jack as in my yard. He is very crunchy.

Saturday, November 6
Boone is here! The giant labradoodle that Jack loves. They are wrestling nonstop. Jack went to bed at 1:00 a.m. and woke us all up at 6:00 a.m. Everyone went back to bed after peeing, but Jack barked that high-pitched bark for 30 minutes. We all slept ’til 7:30. Then wrestle, breathe, wrestle, wrestle, breathe.

Sunday, November 7
Jack slept from 11:30 p.m. – 6:30 a.m. (Playing with Boone is very tiring.) They picked up in the a.m. right where they left off. He spent most of the day outside wrestling and inside with Said chasing him.

When we got home last night, Jack was moving pretty slow. I think he’ll probably sleep for two days … dreaming of his friends Tracy, Said, McQueen, and Boone.

A few pics from Jack’s vacation:

Remembering Tigger

The last picture of Tigger
The last picture of Tigger

We lay Tigger the Scottie to rest this last Wednesday. He died peacefully at the vet, surrounded by strong women who loved him. Two of the women present for his death had been there for his birth and had cared for him when his mother’s milk had dried up. They fed him and his siblings every four hours with a baby bottle for weeks. Tigger was purchased and went to live in his new home, but was returned at about six months when his genetic illness surfaced. He had “wobbly Scottie” and his new owner was thinking of putting him down. He was given a new life with the family who helped him come into the world.

Though he was disabled, he led a full (and sometimes spoiled life). Towards the end of his life he could go up stairs but not down them. We would often find him waiting for us at the top of the stairs, waiting patiently for us to find him. He became increasingly less mobile and unable to eat. The last several weeks, he had been in “hospice care” until he was ready to go on beyond the rainbow where he is free from the bonds of disability and illness.

I’m grateful to God, to the universe, for letting me share Tigger’s life for a time. Teacher, lover, friend … he is missed.

Special Care

Tigger the Scottie
Tigger the Scottie

I have the privilege to live with a Scottish Terrier named Tigger. He’s 11 years old and just about the sweetest pup I’ve known. He’s precious — in that way that all companions are precious. I’ve been fortunate to live with him since 2000.

Tigger has one of the genetic disorders that Scotties sometime develop. It’s Canine Cerebellar Degeneration, commonly known as wobbly dog syndrome. The disease manifests itself in his inability to go down steps and his tendency to fall over. When he runs, his back end careens out of control like some cartoon.

The past couple of weeks, he’s be going through some tests — trying to figure out if he has some sort of cancer. I felt sad that this little creature may be nearing the end of his life. I often wonder why dogs and cats have shorter lifespans than humans. Perhaps it’s so we can be companioned by several of these wonderful animals throughout our lives.

While Tigger was at the vet’s yesterday, they took some blood samples to send to a research study at North Carolina State University’s veterinary teaching hospital. It felt great that he could contribute something to the effort to identify the gene mutation that causes his disease. Not that he could enrich the world any more than he has enriched my life …

I’m grateful for Tigger; for his presence in my life and for the many gifts he has given. Thanks, God, for Tigger.