Tuesday, 12 April 2011


A-Z Challenge – ‘J’

 You’ve met Jack, the Brown Bomber, before in this A-Z Challenge (under the letter ‘D’). I’d like to tell you more about him. 

The other three dogs had never seen a dog like Jack. As the only male till he arrived Sam liked to think that he was in charge. There was no hope of this once Jack found his legs!

Jack was a rescue dog in a sorry state. He had been so badly treated mistreated that he had been taken away from his owners. He could only stand on three legs. However once he had four feet on the ground he was in charge. It was no good Maxie and Sam arguing just because they were older.

He was so fierce when he first arrived; if the other dogs got in his way he would attack without warning. He even snarled and snapped a lot at people, especially if they touched his back. Because of the way he had been mistreated he got away with a lot the others would have been severely scolded for. 

Sam, Maxie and Gem learned very quickly not to go too close when he was eating. They had to rush their food as Jack just bolted his and then would proceed to bolt theirs as well. Once he was mobile it became a never ending battle to keep the dog food secure and out of his reach. The dogs were often in trouble for creating a mess in the kitchen – but it was Jack who knew how to open drawers and cupboards and how to empty their contents; he even succeeded in taking a frying pan through into a bedroom.

Jack still acted as though he was fierce when unknown people visit. Once when his mistress was home alone you should have seen him bristle, growl, snarl and bark when an armed marauder knocked upon the door. Sam, Maxie and Gem were proud of themselves It was just routine for Jack

 He became a big softie really when he grew older. Who would have thought that macho Jack would proudly carry a soft cuddly toy named Piggy all over the place? He may have been the alpha dog but he was still scared of guns, thunder, fireworks and any sudden loud noises. You should have seen see him scurry when you threatened him with a squeaky toy.

 The dogs had a ‘game’ called running the gauntlet but this wasn’t about playing with a leather glove, even though that might be fun for them. It was about how they had to take their lives in their paws when they had to pass Jack lying on the mat just inside the back door.

Dog flaps in each door made it easier for the dogs to get in and out of the house, and from the garage into the corral. This meant that they had the run of the house when they were left home alone.

Jack, the scourge of the other dogs had a problem with his back legs and, according to the vet was in continual pain. This may have explained Jack’s short temper and why he snapped.

Because he slipped on the parquet floor, carpet strips were placed strategically from the back door into the kitchen to make it easier for Jack to get about. He had another privilege denied to the rest of the dogs, unless he was not about. He had his own little room inside the back door equipped with a duvet on which to sit.

Unfortunately, outside the door to his room, just inside the dog flap from the garage, there was the mat on which Jack laid in wait. When the other dogs entered the house through the flap at peace with the world and one another – Snap! All hell broke loose. Many a wound was inflicted before they had the chance to run. 

Sam developed a phobia about going through the flap in case Jack was waiting inside. If there was anyone at home he adopted one of two strategies. First he went on to the deck and stood at the door from the lounge hoping someone would take pity on him and let him in. Failing that he just sat in the garage and barked. He knew that it was safe for him to traverse the flap when he heard, “It’s OK Sam.” Then he entered quite nonchalantly as if that was what he intended all along.

Jack had other annoying habits, some comical enough to make an English Cheshire cat grin – but most just annoying or downright embarrassing. He persisted from time to time in trying to hump all the other dogs. You can imagine what Sam thought of that.

We never worked out what was his pleasure in licking the air. He pestered the rest and if they let him, Sam was too scared not to, would lick the wax out of their ears. It’s too delicate to mention where else he licked. 

When swimming in the lake Jack became quite manic, snapping at the water surface. He couldn’t really think could he, that he had a hope of catching fish? Sam, of course standing in the shallows with water up to his knees, was bemused by this behaviour. To him anyone in the lake was mad anyway.

Once when diving in to fetch a stick Jack let out a yelp as he hurt his back. It wasn’t really funny – he might have drowned if his owner had not dived in to rescue him. Then, for a while, whenever Jack went swimming he had to wear a harness that made sure he wouldn’t sink. There was a length of rope attached so that he could be pulled out if he got into difficulties. He would have looked more macho than usual – if it hadn’t been for the rope.

 Jack had a nasty habit, mind you Gem did too, of eating any deer poo he can find. He and Gem often played outside with a Frisbee and then they were good mates. Outside the corral they often wandered off together to explore the neighbourhood and Jack developed selective deafness to all shouts to come back. It has been known for them both to have to be fetched. Gem didn’t not like being scolded. Jack? He didn’t seem to care and gave the impression he was coming back anyway.
However Jack’s love of food had its advantages for the others as you will see. But no-one could understand why he tried to chew a can of ravioli before the can was opened.

Jack could tell the time and each afternoon when anyone was at home he barked to let them know that it was time for the dogs to be fed. If shouted down, he proceeded to nudge whoever it was with his head or play with their feet. Oh, and he had a foot fetish by the way.

His persistence usually worked and the food routine came into play. Jack had to stay in his room while Sam, Maxie and Gem sat patiently in the garage while the food was shared out in four separate bowls with water added to Jack’s. On the command OK they set to with a will. Jack’s bowl was carried back inside for him. Why did he have water added to his? This was to slow him down and to give the others the chance of finishing before he burst out through the dog flap to lick their bowls, just in case they had left a scrap.

Peace reigned while all four dogs went outside to deposit more poo for us to clean up.

Poor Jack had to be put to sleep after developing a problem with his throat which made it very difficult for him to eat. His ashes were spread around the property and as a special tribute part was distributed in the centre of the lake in which years earlier he had nearly come to grief. 


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that you rescued Jack and gave him a home to make up for his poor treatment earlier in life.

Siv Maria said...

We also had a dog, Iko, a german shepard that we inherited at age one. Eventually he got sick and dangerous so we had to put him down. It is very sad to lose a pet this way. On another note, we have the same J for jack today :)

Bob Scotney said...

I should make it clear that Jack was my daughter's dog.

Karen S. said...

Ah such a bitersweet story about a darling dog, so wonderful that you could take dear Jack in and give him such a lovely well worth while life to live until his last breath, (tears here and I just had a feeling I should not read to the end, but I did) our animals give us such love and enjoyment in our short days, but their days sadly are even shorter....excellent tribute Bob.

Robyn Campbell said...

We have a Jack too. He's a rescue dog, also. He is the sweetest thing unless someone he doesn't know comes to the door. Then watch out. I believe he's so thankful to be living a safe life on a farm that he fancies himself our guard dog. He's not big either.

I loved reading about your Jack. How wonderful that he was so loved. Thanks for telling us about him, Bob. :-)

nutschell said...

its hard when you fall in love with animals and then they have to go... beautiful tribute to a wonderful dog.

Brianna said...

What a lovely tribute to your beloved Jack! I laughed at Jack's antics and then cried for your loss. Losing a dog is so painful. It's wonderful the way you celebrated his life through writing.

Julie said...

Hi Bob! I just discovered your blog through the A-Z. I'm an animal lover and I loved reading about Jack, I'm glad he had such a wonderful life with your family. It's so hard to have to say goodbye to a wonderful pet, and this is a beautiful tribute!