Jack was born on August 31, 1997. It was the day that Princess Diana died. He became part of my family in November 1997. It was just a regular Saturday afternoon at the mall and I wanted to look in the pet store at the puppies. Now some people donít believe in love at first sight, but when I saw him, this little black and white ball of fluff; I fell. I fell in love with that puppy. I knew he was mine.
We brought him into one of the rooms and he was the happiest pup that I had ever seen. He ran around and looked us straight into our eyes. I had been saving my money to buy a car. Instead I bought a little black and white ball of fluff. My family normally doesn't get our pets from pet stores, but I felt that if I didn't get this little guy I would regret it for the rest of my life. I was only 17 when I took him home. Sonja(my sister), Erik(my brother) and my mom were all with me as we drove him back home. I held him in the front seat, and we thought of ways to convince my dad to let us keep him. We also had to think of a name. I had really like the movie Titanic so I thought that the name ďJackĒ seemed to suit him. He was the love of my life. While Jack started out as being my dog, he quickly worked his way into all of our hearts.
When he was 3 months old, my brother was taking him up in the woods and Jack pulled the leash so hard that Erik fell and broke his arm. Jack got his foot stuck in the clip on his dog run somehow and he had to have it removed by the vet, the clip not his foot. He chewed through every collar we ever bought him. He was 100% unique. He learned how to shake his paw in 30 minutes of training. He peed in the litter box one day when it was raining outside and he didnít want to go out. He made the connection in his brain that if the cats could there so could he. He could turn the faucet on when he was thirsty. Everyday he knew at 3 Oíclock that Connor(this boy my mom babysat) would be getting off his bus and he would wait at the door.
The thing that Jack loved the most of anything in the world was to play catch. It could be catch with anything from a Frisbee to a feather duster, if we were throwing it, he would chase after and bring it back. He bit rocks, he carried large sticks in his mouth. He chewed several of my shoes. He loved to chase after the hose and bite at the stream of water. We would play hide and seek, a game where I would place treats around the house and he would find them. He loved to be given tasks to do.
My family had a German Shepherd/chow mix named Buck when I adopted Jack and they became the best of friends. Jack would follow Buck around everywhere and they played all the time. We had a large yard backed only by woods and a stream, and Jack loved to go for hikes and swim in that stream. One time after swimming in that stream he smelled so bad that I said to him, "ew what's that smell??" He knew that I was talking about him, and looked all sheepish. After that anytime someone would say, "what's that smell?" He thought that they were talking about him and would leave them room.
When Jack was about 3 years old he also bit my brother, then he bit my sister while they were fighting and hitting one another. They both still have scars on their legs. Because my family had never had a Border Collie before we didn't understand the special needs of this fantastic breed. We werenít sure if we would be able to keep him as our pet. He couldnít just go around biting people. We contacted the Border Collie Rescue to see what we could do, and subsequently learned a lot about dog training especially and how he needed and thrived on working. While many families would have given up on him or given him to a rescue, we felt that with intensive work his behavior would change. He never bit out of aggression, he would nip to say, "hey pay attention!" Jack would only bit when my brother and sister when they were fighting with each other. He thought it was his way of saying stop. We worked with him a lot after that and he really got to be a wonderful dog and did not have that problem anymore. He was so smart.
There are so many more things I wish that I could write about Jack. I know dogs can feel love, and Jack loved me. He just fit in so wonderfully with our family. He was almost like another kid. He slept on my bed. My life was made better for knowing and loving him. He always had another dog to be friends with, either from Buck(who passed away at 14) or Lily an 8 year old abused boxer that my brother rescued. When I went away to college I was gone for three months and when I came home and saw him I thought there was something wrong with him, never have I had such a greeting! He was so excited his tail wagged so hard that his rear end went back and forth and the entire time I was home he wouldn't leave my side.
He loved the basement. He could be anywhere in the house and as soon as he heard the basement door open he would run to get down those steps. I don't know what he was looking for, but either way the basement was a fun place for him. He barked to announce visitors, but was actually kind of shy. As soon as anyone played with him though he would be their best friend. When I moved to Morristown my mom brought him over to see my new house. He wasn't on a leash and had never been here before, but he ran right up to the front door of number eleven. He could sense that it was where I lived.
He was loyal and loving. He loved broccoli. He was neurotic, always on the move, always smiling in his dog-way.
A year ago today, I took him to the vet. Now this dog had survived Lyme disease, a thyroid condition and he was just so tough, but he had been having problems with his hip and we thought that it was arthritis. This time though, the vet gave him a shot for his pain. His visits to the vet had become a weekly occurence at this point(my vet is my next door neighbor) and this time he told me that if it didn't improve to bring Jack back because he might have cancer. I took him home and brushed him, and talked to him and while I was there I just knew that what the vet had told me was probably true. We took him back to get xrayed and found out that my Jack had bone cancer that had spread throughout his body. He was given 2 months to live.
Two days before Christmas I went to my mom's because she called me that Jack wasn't doing so well. I saw him and he his condition had deteriorated. He was so happy to see me, as always and he just wanted to be as near to me as possible. That night I slept next to him on the floor, his breathing was labored, and he couldn't hold his urine very well, but he kept inching closer and closer to me. If my hand stopped petting him he would moan. The next morning we woke up and he was all Jack smiles as usual and we took him outside and he seemed to be doing better but still wouldn't drink or eat anything. It was snowing and he decided to lie down on the snow, and when he did I told my mom that it was time, I think that the cold made him feel better. I tried to get him to stand up and come back inside but he just didn't have the strength. Even Lily his boxer pal knew that something was wrong with him. His vet was away for the Holidays sadly, and we had wanted him to be the one when the time came, but we had to take Jack to a different hospital...it was once again, Sonja(my sister) Erik(my brother) myself and my mom with him in the car just like when we brought him home 10 years earlier. I kept looking at his feet, because I wanted to remember them-they looked kind of like Grinch feet with little tufts of hair. I think he knew that we were taking him somewhere to ease the pain. We were all in the room with him when he left, crying(even my brother who still has a scar on his arm from where it broke many years ago after walking him) and we just told him how much he was loved and how much he would be missed. I told him that it was OK to go. I still miss him and it's almost been one year since he left. Sometimes I hear my mom open the basement door and I expect to hear him come running down the stairs, or greet me at the door.
I know that if there is a dog heaven and he is up there running around, catching frisbee's and playing with other border collie and dogs. He was the best dog I've ever had and he will always have a huge place in my heart. He will always be mine...
I am going to post a photo of him I took the day I found out he had cancer and one of him with his favorite toy, one with Lily and also one of my new puppy Beau. He was always smiling that Jackdog....
* on a brighter note* because we loved Jack so much and grew to love Border Collies, and Lily the boxer was very sad after her dear friend left...there has been a new addition named Beau that we got from a rescue in Pennsylvania. He is very much loved and has helped the pain of losing Jack.