Jack

Foreword: I know this is not my normal story post.  This is non-fiction, almost an essay (cringe), but in light of recent events, this just had to be said…

Jack was my family dog.  His full name was Jack of Spades.  When we first got him, I was really into card games.  This left it between clubs and spades.  We got him from a place called “Jack’s Dog Farm”.  As we left, the owner told us that he was the Jack of Clubs, so our dog was the Jack of Spades.

He was a birthday gift when I was a child, still in elementary school.  Like most kids my age, I wanted a pet, so we got Jack.

Naturally, he was a small black dog.  When we first saw him, he was in a pen with two siblings, both of whom were golden.  He was part lab, and part hound, though he always looked like a full-blooded lab, but would never grow as large.  Even as he got old, people we met still thought he was a puppy.  True to the playing card theme, he always wore a red collar, though as time went on, this became a minor detail.

He was only a few months old when we got him.  He was born on April 2, the same day as Charlemagne and Hans Christian Andersen.

He always liked to play.  He had a rag bone, which I always enjoyed playing tug-of-war with him with, though he always seemed more interested in whatever side I was holding.  He liked to run around, and he liked to be chased.  I always found this puzzling; in nature, if an animal is being chased, they are usually trying to save their lives.  He always was a crazy dog.

But he wasn’t perfect: he had a loud bark, and me, with my sensitive hearing, couldn’t take it.  My dad always said he was quiet for a dog, but he wasn’t quiet enough for me.  Plus, he was a pain during mealtimes.  Dad fed him from the table, which only encouraged him to hover around the table while we were eating, something mom and I didn’t like, especially that time I dropped almost an entire drumstick, and before I could pick it up, Jack was there and ate it…bone and all.

Even when we told him to leave the kitchen, he just came right back in a minute later.  I always felt mom and dad didn’t do a good enough job making it clear to him that he needs to stay out of the kitchen when we’re eating.

Even as he grew older, he always was a puppy at heart.  He always liked to play, for as long as his body was strong enough.

He lived with my family seventeen years, from when I was a child to less than a month ago.

In his old age, he started to act stranger.  He suffered kidney failure, which made him unable to hold it in, and started to go inside the house.  It made us nervous when we went anywhere, as we feared we might come home to find a mess on the floor.

He began to get fussier about what he ate.  Where before, he would happily eat anything, he now refused to eat most anything.  He wandered around most of the day, and would not sit down, though at least he was able to lie down and rest.  He became less obedient, and noisier when he wanted to go outside, until he eventually stopped barking entirely.

On the last day, his condition started to escalate, rapidly.  He got stuck in odd places, started going to the bathroom inside the house more and more often, and would not lie down, at all.  All he did was walk around, and his walk became more and more unsteady, until it was almost a shamble.  Eventually, he fell down in the kitchen, and could not get up.  That’s when my parents knew it was time.

He was put to sleep, and buried in our backyard, under the apple tree, with the rag bone in the box with him.  He was a part of my family for most of my life – we will not forget him.


Author’s Notes (may contain spoilers):

I don’t know what more I have to say about this one. It’s non-fiction, it speaks for itself. I just felt the need to write it after reading an article that suggests writing about a recently deceased pet can help you move on.

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