Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cold Nose and a Warm Heart

Thirteen years ago, after begging for a dog, Mom and Dad told us at Christmas that soon we would be getting a puppy. John and I were beyond excited and couldn't wait until we got the puppy we had been begging for. During that same time a sweet lady in Montevallo was getting ready to welcome into the world a litter of Jack Russell puppies. Jump ahead a few weeks later, our family ventured out to her farm to pick out which puppy would soon join our family. Right away, all four of us knew which one. The pudgy puppy with the black spots. We still had to wait a few weeks until he was ready to come home with us, but little did we know, this was our first glance at the puppy that would change our lives.
Now this puppy, had quite a beginning. The week that we were supposed to pick him up, we get a phone call from the sweet little lady. There had been a mix up, and our puppy was on his way to Arkansas. She asked if we still wanted that puppy or did we want to pick out a different one. Nope, we wanted that puppy with the black spots. A day later our puppy was back in Alabama and ready to come home. ***side note: The guy who brought him back from Arkansas told us about giving him a McDonald's cheeseburger on the drive back...I bet this was were he found his love for cheeseburgers.
I remember Mom and I picking him up and I being amazed at how little he was. We brought him home and we decided to name him Jack. What better name for a Jack Russell right?
From then on, that little bundle of energy had my family wrapped around his paw.
We survived the puppy stage where he chewed on anything and everything. Watched that ball of energy run until he couldn't run anymore and play just like a toddler. We learned that if we didn't leave him toys, that he would find all kinds of mischief to get into. We watched him as he would pull every toy out of his toy box to find exactly what toy he wanted. He thought he was as big as John and I and would often eat more than us! He had a love for green beans and wouldn't eat french fries unless they had ketchup on them. He could open Christmas presents as well as a toddler could and knew exactly which presents were his. He had the most expressive looks and noises that he would make that you could swear he was talking to you.
I can't remember a day at home that I didn't get a hug from Jack. He was the most loving dog that I have ever met. He would put one paw on each shoulder and then lay his head on your chest, or put his head on your shoulder. He loved to get hugs as much as give them. His cold nose would "snoot" you until you loved on him. We always said that his cold nose meant that he had a warm heart. During the time that I was dating, my parents would go to bed but Jack would stay up and wait for me to get home. Once I would get home, I would pet him and tell him goodnight and he would go to my parents room. In the mornings, he would always come to my door to make sure that I was there. Most mornings, after my parents had gotten up, he would come and get in bed with me.
He was the best snuggle buddy. He loved to be right up against you and he would keep you warm during the coldest times. He would also wrestle you for the covers. He had this way of starting on top of the covers at the end of the bed, and then sometime during the night, make his way to the top of the bed and get under the covers.
Even after John and I moved out, Jack still would get so happy when we would come by and visit. He would great us at the door with a wagging tail and couldn't wait to get in our laps to hug us. He would stay in our laps or close to us until we left. When we went to leave, Jack would let us know that he wasn't happy with us leaving.
Words cannot explain how much my family loves this dog.
We have known for a week now that he didn't have much time. I went by my parents house on Thursday to love on Jack. I could tell that it was only a matter of time. He could barely walk and barely ate his favorite foods. His breathing was labored and it took all he had to hug me. I cried as I held him in my lap and he placed his head on my shoulder.

This afternoon, Jack went to sleep for the last time. He went peacefully and wasn't in any pain. Mom said that she and Dad had just gotten home from running some errands. Jack got up from his doggie bed, walked to his water bowl and drank some water, went back to his doggie bed, and laid down. They thought he was asleep but then realized that he wasn't breathing. We feel as if he was waiting for them to get home. Mom called me and I immediately went over. I sat with him and loved on him while my parents prepared a space for him in the yard. Mom and I lovingly wrapped him in his favorite blankets and brought him outside to my Dad. Dad, Mom, and I buried him under the cedar tree in the yard. It was one of the hardest things I have had to do. Afterwards, I stayed at my parents house for a while. I kept hearing sounds in the kitchen that I would think was him. I kept waiting for him to come and sit with me on the couch.
I know he was a dog, but our family loved that dog. He was a brother to me and another child to my parents. When any of us was sick, Jack would take care of us. He lived the best life that he could have possibly asked for. We knew that this was inevitable, but it is still hard. As my dad pointed out, "realizing it was going to happen was easy, accepting that it has happened is hard."
Please keep my family in your prayers as we slowly accept this. Jack was my Dad's constant companion and the house is going to be very quiet without him. I miss him already. I have cried most of the afternoon. Please pray for peace for my family. I leave you with a few photographs of a dog well loved.
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JC said...

I am so sorry!

Bailey said...

I sit here with tears streaming down my face and my heart hurts for your family. I know exactly how you feel and we will be praying for your family. Jesus is loving on Jack and I'm sure he and Blaze have already met :)
With Love,