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The Story of Jack

October 7, 2007

Denise Kelsall


Animals are a wonderful part of creation. Apart from having the odd semi-feral cat on the farm as I was growing up I didn’t really have much to do with animals as companions until I had a home of my own. I do remember a lamb that I tried to nurse back to health that mysteriously disappeared when I was at school one day – my parents were practical rather than emotional but it still stays with me that this animal I had cared for had died without me.


As my children were growing up we had some great cats that I remember with much love and affection, one amazing ginger tom called Reggie who we loved to bits, but it wasn’t until I had a dog that I became really smitten.


My children were getting to that age when they thought they were too old for a babysitter and while I agreed with them I was still wary of leaving them alone for the evening. So it was off to the SPCA to get a dog. My reasoning was that a dog barks and sounds fierce and would warn any potential baddies off the property. I saw lots of lovely dogs, many abandoned because they had grown too big or perhaps were unwanted anymore. It is pretty heartbreaking.


There were a few dogs in a cage together barking away like mad making a great sound – they all quietened down and then a lone barker started up. I glanced across and was amused at this dog who chimed in late and seemed to want a bit of notice. Well, he got mine anyway. He was about the right size and I quite liked the look of him and that ruffly bit around his throat.


The next day I took my 2 children out there and they got the dog and put him into the enclosure where prospective owners can check the dog out. Of course Jack (that is what they called him after picking him up off the road badly injured) happily waltzed up to us, gave us a welcoming bark, a grin (and yes – I do believe dogs smile) and was just SO happy to be around us.


I thought he looked OK – sort of like a sheep dog – the kids thought he was ‘cool.’


Then the attendant sidled up and mumbled under his breath that this particular dog had been there for the mandatory holding time (I think around 2 weeks) and his time was up – tomorrow night – no Jack.


Well – that was it – we had found our dog.


In my blissful ignorance I assumed we would just pay them a bit of money and Jack was ours to take home. No such luck – evidently Jack had lived real rough, been bitten by other dogs and had growths over scars which needed to be cut out and he had to be neutered/speyed. OK I said – do the stuff and we will come and get him later – a few days later.


Excitedly my daughter and I went to fetch our dog Jack. We had been telling all our friends about him and how cute and cool he was – that crazy bark and that lovely ruffle around his neck. We couldn’t wait.


And then out he comes. Our hearts dropped – he had drip tubes hanging all over him, enormous shaved patches and worst of all, the ruffle was gone. He looked like a large rat. And he even seemed forlorn too.


Quietly we took him and out him into the car – our first proud dog owning moment was very subdued. But still – we had hope and we knew that he was pretty neat really but it was still a bit of a shock. As people came to see our new dog we had to make all sorts of excuses as they looked in amazement at this large dripping rat-like animal.


Well – about eleven years have gone by and Jack is about fourteen now. He has seen boyfriends and girlfriends come and go, a marriage, lots of parties and eaten everything from bananas to beetroot. He loves cream.


There is a corner of the dining room that doesn’t smell too good sometimes and hair all over that lounge suite he is not allowed to lie on. He owns the place really and gets away with things that my children wouldn’t have. Jack has seen a lot of life.


Like all animals we love and live with he is so much more than an animal – he is the heart of the home. He has taught us all how to love in a different way – I think all animals help us to grow emotionally – for me with Jack by sharing his unconditional love and devotion, his enthusiasm and patience. Jack has enlarged my life and taught me so much about compassion and companionship.


Biblically we are the caretaker of animals, we are to care for them, and it is wonderful to be here amongst all of you who live that dream and have your lives enriched and made so much deeper with the love you share with your animal.


I know we all have our pet stories but as I was talking to a friend the other day about her dog she told me wide-eyed that she rescued him from the SPCA – he was about to be euthanased the next day. I thought – tell me about it.

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