|Jaxx always kept track of me. He wanted to know where I was, he wanted to be with me or at least be where he could see me.
If I picked up the kitchen phone and hooked it into my waistband, he knew I was going out to the back yard, so he’d get up from his soft foam bed and follow me out the door. Once outside, he’d lie down near me while I gardened .
When he was a young dog, he’d pester me to play with him….if I was weeding or planting, he’d come up to me, paw at my hands, drop his ball right in front of me, play bow and bark at me til I was laughing so hard I had to stop what I was doing and play ball with him.
By the time he was 10 , he was mostly just content to keep me company. Tho each afternoon he still wanted to play a bit, and our routine was that I threw his ball for him and he’d chase it for 5 or 10 minutes. If we lost the ball, I’d just have to say “find it” and within a short time, he’d show me where it was!! Of course, I’d get very excited when he’d locate the ball and his reward was that I’d throw it for him again!
When yard work took me to the front of the house, he couldn’t come with me, because there is no front fence . So he contented himself with laying next to the big living room window and watching me from there , every so often barking at me, as if to remind me that he was there and get me to acknowledge his presence with a wave and a few words. Whether I was out there a few minutes or an hour, he wouldn’t move. I loved his company, even from behind the window….and now when I am outside and glance at that place where he used to be, it seems especially empty.
I always felt safe when Jaxx was with me. Ever since he was a year old, his big furry presence and intimidating bark gave me a sense of security…whether he was sitting next to me when I opened the front door, walking with me in the neighborhood, or sleeping next to my bed. I was his person and he was my dog…our bond was simple and strong.
When I worked on my computer in the room I used as my ‘office’, he was invariably snoozing at my feet. But when he heard my husband coming down the hall towards us, he would raise his head and gruffly bark, guarding me from this ‘intruder’! Of course, I didn’t take that barking seriously, and would tell Jaxx he could stop guarding me..that I would feel perfectly comfortable if my husband stepped into the room! With that assurance, Jaxx would continue his nap!
Recently I heard him barking in my bedroom, so I went to investigate. He was standing in the corner by my nightstand, barking and barking, looking back at me and barking again. For a second I worried that he was suffering from dementia, but trusting my dog, I got on my hands and knees and found an old piece of dog cookie under the nightstand! Good boy… no dementia, just a good nose and a yen for an old cookie! Whew!
I take care of my two year old granddaughter, Emily on Thursdays. As soon as Emi would walk in the door, Jaxx would trot over to his bed and lie down, expectantly. He knew the routine: Emi would get a dog treat out of the cabinet and lay it down on his bed in front of him. She also ate her lunch sitting in the high chair right next to Jaxx’s bed, and periodically during the meal would toss a piece of cheese or chunk of hot dog down to him! Needless to say, he looked forward to Emi’s visits!
After we lost Jaxx, my friend Joni gave Emily a beautiful toy German Shepherd dog and it broke my heart when Emi put the doggy down where Jaxx’s bed had been and told me she needed a piece of cheese for him.
Jaxx and I had four precious months together after he was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma and I tried to focus on being grateful for each day. That last week I tried to take him for a walk before taking my other dog to training…but Jaxx didn’t want to go right then. So I loaded Kyri in the car and was getting ready to drive off, when Jaxx let me know he was now ready to walk.
Arggh. But I reminded myself that we might not have a lot of time left together, and skipped training so we could take that walk. I’m sure glad I did.
The only person Jaxx loved more than he loved me was my son, Steff. When Steff came to visit, Jaxx went wild with joy: whining, barking, wagging his tail like crazy, jumping up to nibble on Steff’s chin!
They had a special bond and since I loved them both, it made me happy!
Maybe when you live with a dog for 10 years, it is inevitable that you form a close relationship and understand each other very well. At least that is what I experienced with Jaxx. He and I communicated, partly thru body language, partly in words that he understood. Such as: want to go out? Find it!; go up; where’s your toy? He trusted me and I trusted him….I am grateful to have had him in my life; a beautiful animal with a lions mane and dark eyes, my friend, my companion, my protector, my best boy…always in my heart, and waiting for me up ahead with all my other dogs…..
Linda Vartanian June 2007