Friday, June 5, 2015

Dogs: Woman's Best Friend

My husband and I recently said goodbye to our little fur child.  His name was Rascal and he was a Jack Russell Terrier. We were lucky to have him in our lives for almost 15 wonderful years.

We never had any children and were used to a very solitary life of reading, gardening, and traveling. We were afraid that we wouldn't be good parents to a breed of dogs who are notorious for being high-enery and willfull.  Beforehand, we even found ourselves taking quizzes about whether or not we would be able to "handle" a dog with such special needs.  It was scary; but we were willing to take a chance.

I think I first fell in love with Jack Russell Terriers when I watched PBS's "Wishbone".  It was a show for children featuring a dog who was able to talk, read and travel back in time to become a character in literature and teach kids to love reading.  I'm an English Literature Major, so this was right up my alley. In the series, Wishbone would wear cute costumes and would be Sherlock Holmes and Robin Hood.

Then, I saw the movie, "My Dog Skip".  That had to be the cutest dog and the cutest story I'd ever seen. To top it all off, a flower shop in my town owned a little JR named Gumbo who would often hop up onto the window display at the store and I'd see him whenever I drove by. It really was like the song, "How much is that doggie in the window?"  And then, of course, there was the JR in the movie "Mask" and the TV series "Frazer."

So, with much trepidation, my husband and I threw caution to the wind and became parents to our little 8 week old JR who we named Rascal before we'd even met him.  We picked out his name, thinking that it best described the temperment of this lovable but challenging breed.  It was love at first sight.  He was the runt of the litter and had a interesting early life: his mother had become "Mommy Dearest" and attacked and killed the last puppy of the litter.  She had tried to kill our little boy, too, until the breeder intervened.  The breeder had to separate the mother from the rest of the puppies and bottle-feed the rest of the litter.  Everyone loves an "underdog" and that's who our little Rascal was.  I immediately considered myself his "mother" and protector.  I was going to save this little dog from his psycho mom.  He weighed only 6 ounces when we brought him home.  I was so afraid that I was going to step on him and crush him accidentally.

My husband and I love to travel: we have been to France, Italy, England, Belgium, Holland, Luxemberg, and Switzerland and many big towns in the US such as New York, New Orleans, and Chicago.  But our lives entirely changed when we brought this little bundle of joy into our world. Whenever we traveled, all we could think about was coming home and seeing our Rascal again.  We even cut vacations short because we missed him so much.  We were truly smitten. 

Our little fur child died almost a week ago.  He had "been there for me" through it all and was by my side when I lost both my parents and my brother and sister, who died 3 months from each other. Rascal and I were inseparable.  Whenever I'd be gone for the afternoon, when I opened the front door he was there waiting for me and would crawl on the ground with his tail wagging until I got down on my hands and knees and crawled right along with him.  He acted like I'd been gone for days.

 We brought his ashes home tonight.  I'm so glad to finally have him back.  He was the best dog in the world.

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