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Just Jack

My sweet Mahma’s boy who thinks he’s forever a tiny pup turned 3 yesterday! I had every intention of telling the story of his magnificent entrance into the world on his actual birthday, but my real job got in the way, so here I am, on my lunch break, typing away. And somehow I think he prefers me to make money for peanut butter parties than write some blog and lose my job. Some of you know the background of how we got each dog (and if not, go read The Beginning and Lotto) but now it’s time for more about the original L O N G boi, Jack.

I started looking for my “Jack” well before I got him. I had Sally for just a few days before I decided she needed a friend. Every Sally needs her own Jack. I hated leaving her alone all day while I went to work! So, my lovely (haha) boyfriend at the time started searching for Great Dane puppies and finally toward the end of February told me he found a litter about an hour from us. Now, before you all get your panties in a twist, yes he did come from a breeder and yes, I “bought” him instead of “adopted” him. But it doesn’t matter. Responsible breeding is okay in my book, especially when Great Danes are not as easily found in rescues, or at least not near me. Anyway, if you know anything about Sally’s story (if not, please read Miracles), I had to make sure that he was in fact looking at Great Dane puppies and wasn’t going to come home with some random dog. So, he sent me the breeder’s info, I contacted her, went to meet her and the 5 week old puppies. I knew I wanted a boy, so I had to pick between two males left. They both looked about the same, but Jack, known then as Dodge, was a bit bigger. I’m not sure what it was about him that made him mine, but I just knew he was the one. I put down the deposit, told her to start calling him Jack so he would get used to his name, and had to wait three agonizing weeks until I could bring him home.

His breeder kept me updated and told me that he had developed a heart murmur and if I chose to back out, I could get my money back. I said, “No way! That boy is mine.” I didn’t care if he had a murmur, I would take care of him. At around 7 weeks, his biological mom decided she was done nursing, and said, “Go find your real Mahms.” And that’s what Jack did. His breeder mentioned what happened, and while normally you don’t want to let pups go before 8 weeks, since the mom shunned them, and I already had one puppy, she let me pick him up a week early. He’d be able to learn socialization skills from Sally, though she honestly didn’t have many herself since I got her at such a young age. I remember the day we brought Jack home. He was so, so tiny, he fit in my lap! Not like how he does now, but literally his whole body fit in my lap comfortably. He had a little fat puppy belly and puppy breath and was oblivious to just how much love I already had for him.

Sally, on the other hand, was mortified. Absolutely shocked that I was bringing this little creature into her home. She was so funny and bossy with him – but, I guess she still is! It didn’t take Jack too long to win her over AND outgrow her. Whether she wanted it or not, Jack was staying.

Rather quickly, it was VERY apparent that Jack was a Mahma’s boy. And I’m sure my codependency didn’t help either. I babied him and let him get away with things, and helped him up on the couch and off the bed when he clearly didn’t need any help. But, he wanted my help. So that’s what he got. Soon after we got Jack, I came to my senses and left my ex for good. And though it was my choice, that didn’t make me feel any better or the situation any easier. But, Jack and Sally helped get me through it. There were days that I felt overwhelmed and underprepared and not capable of taking care of myself, let alone two other living, breathing beings. But, we made it through. Here we are three years later, and by the grace of God, we’re still all alive and in one piece. I remember multiple times when I lived in my apartment, him or Sally escaping out the door and me running through the complex in my robe chasing one or both of them. Watching him run with legs that were too big for his body is what I miss most. Although now I get to watch Lotto do it. Jack was gangly and uncoordinated and ran into walls and fell off of beds and always had at least one ear flipped back. But most of all, Jack was full of love. He LOVED his Mahma. And he LOVED his sissy.

Funny side story – Jack had an umbilical hernia so we ended up getting him neutered at a young age for a Dane. He was about 6 months old. That’s not the funny part, obviously. So, we had to watch his hernia and also watch for his balls to drop. This is the funny (not so funny) part. Because his second ball never dropped, the vet had to go up farther in during surgery to pull it out. Now, I’m not sure, and maybe I’m making a big leap, but maybe that explains part of why he’s such a Mahma’s boy. Poor Jacky boi.

When we moved to Florida, we lived in a little 600 sq ft house in the ghetto and though I had a backyard, I liked taking them on walks since it was warm outside all the time. A lot of people we really worried about me, but everyone there (besides the kids) were so scared of these “big ass dogs,” Jack and Sally. I started training them off leash with vibrating collars and I remember being convinced that Sally would be my easiest pup to train because she’s got that laser pitbull focus. And, well, Jack is Jack. He’s rather aloof. But, to my surprise, Jack was the one that caught on immediately and little, old, stubborn Sally didn’t care how high the vibration was turned up, she was going to do what she wanted and would eventually get with the program, but only on her terms. We would walk to and from the park unleashed and I never worried about Jack, but Sally made my heart stop each time she got more than a few feet in front of me. I’d always leave her leash dangling so I could (hopefully) easily step on it to stop her if need be. But Jack, he just followed his Mahma wherever I went. If he got too far because his giant legs gave him giant steps, he’d turn around and wait for me to catch up.

While living in Florida, I fostered a few dogs and Jack took to them instantly. Sally always have the cold shoulder and her hilarious nose boops but jack immediately made them feel loved, especially the ones that were like him! All the neighborhood kids LOVED Jack and Sally. They would come to my house after school, knock on the door and ask if they could play. They helped me give them baths and were very sad when we moved back to Ohio.

Jack loves his Mahma so much, that when we moved home and my job required me to travel quite a bit, he got very upset. They stayed with a puppy sitter and Jack was so distraught by it, that he basically refused to eat. He lost about 20 lbs and was very depressed. So, I did what any good Mahm would do, and I quit my job and found another one so that I wouldn’t have to travel anymore. Here’s a few pics their puppy sitter took and sent me while I was on a trip out of town once.

Jack and Sally taught me how to live. And now, they are all my reason to live. When getting high sounds like a good idea, its reminding myself that I have these animals that rely on me that keeps me clean.

No one can take care of them better than I can. They’ve licked away many tears and snuggled me tight when no one else was around. They taught me how to care about someone other than myself and about responsibility.

They taught me about discipline and commitment, determination and perseverance.

They taught me about compassion and empathy, forgiveness and acceptance. They taught me that no matter how big you get; you can always sit in your mama’s lap.

They taught me to celebrate. Celebrate the big things and celebrate the little things. One day when I got home from work, literally for no reason at all, I decided to celebrate the day with party hats and peanut butter. I was in a good mood, had a good day and just wanted to have fun. Our Peanut Butter Parties come from humble beginnings – just a single Mahm trying to show her kids a good time.

And most importantly they taught me about unconditional love and the importance of family. They have given me purpose.

What I have found is that dogs are perfect creatures. You fill them with love, and it just oozes back out of them into every being they come into contact with. It’s no coincidence that Dog spelled backwards is God. And Jack. What else is there to say about him? He’s just Jack.

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