They Might Have Rescued Him, But He Saved Us.

I am a news junkie. I am always watching the news or reading it. Last week I got an email alert informing me that a local dog rescue group has been accused of stealing dogs out of people’s back yards and then adopting them out. I was beside myself, outraged, sad… every emotion you could think of. Then it dawned on me. This rescue group is where we adopted our dog, Jack, from. What if Jack had been stolen and then adopted out to us?? I, of course, am going into panic mode. NO ONE!! I MEAN NO ONE will ever take my dog away from me and my family.

This is Jack’s story:

About two years ago Jade & I started talking about adopting a dog. She said we should wait until we bought property for him/her to run around. I thought, ‘screw that, I am getting a dog’, even though I live in an apartment building that doesn’t allow dogs. I scoured rescue group’s websites for a dog. Both of us didn’t want a tiny yappy dog, nor could we handle a 150lb beast. I found this goofy picture of this dog, he looked like a lab cross with a permanent smile on his face. I filled out the adoption application without Jade knowing, sent it off, THEN I told her “hey this dog is cute eh; we are going to adopt him.” Jade was not very happy. We lived in an expensive apartment in a trendy, artsy area and couldn’t really afford him but she humoured me with a doggie home visit. We set up the visit for a Sunday afternoon so his foster mom could come over with him. We knew Jack was the dog for us when he ran into our apartment, sniffed around, said hello to our cats, jumped up on the bed and fell asleep. I think that is the moment he won Jade over. We found out that Jackie had been on other home visits with four families, and they each had said no to him because he had a double hip replacement with titanium steel parts put into his back end because he jumped the fence in foster care and was hit by a car. Too much work, they said. They were looking for the “perfect” dog. They thought he had “issues”. How could anyone say that about him?? I mean, yes he does… doesn’t everybody? Besides, one look at him and you can’t say no. The minute Jack, his foster mom and the woman from the rescue society had left, Jade said yes… ‘That’s our dog’. We finished the rest of the doggie application and he was ours in 2 weeks time. We hurried around getting food, toys and blankets for our new family member and off we went to pick him up.

Introducing the cats to him was a fun experience. Jack got along with cats so we weren’t too worried. We locked the cats in the bathroom for the night so he could sniff around and they could smell him. Of course there was whining on both sides of the door, some barking and much hissing as well. The next morning at about 5am we let the cats out and Daisy FREAKED out on Jack; hissing, swatting and spitting. She got spooked and sought shelter high up. The poor thing had never been near a dog before. She spent that first day/night a frazzled poofy ball of fangs and claws. As for Ace… well… He just ran up to Jack, sniffed him and started chasing him around the house. Jack is Ace’s second dog, and we’re convinced Ace is our dog’s best friend. It’s been two years and Jack and Daisy are still wary of each other. They get along but they don’t really want to hang out. Daisy tolerates his presence and Jack respects her role in the household. I was very shocked last week when they were both on the bed sleeping near inches away from each other.

We had decided that living on the fourth floor of an apartment building that didn’t allow dogs wasn’t a good thing for his hips or his environment so we gave notice that month and started looking around. We love our funky neighbourhood so we searched for ANYTHING ground floor that would take a dog. We found this teeny tiny apartment that would accept dogs but the apartment manager, Joe, had to meet the dog first. He preferred smaller dogs and wanted to make sure that our dog was a good fit. The apartment was/is tiny about 500sq feet but we snapped it up. Now Jack had a new home, one to call his own with his own scent, one where the cats could get used to the addition of our newest family member. When Joe met Jack, Jackie snapped and barked at him. We thought ‘great, we are not getting this place’ but Joe knew Jackster was a new family member. Joe understood the sacrifices we made to improve Jackie’s life and ours with him in it. We lucked out with Jack and within a few days of Jade being at home during the holidays, she broke him of his separation anxiety that the dog rescue group said he had and would never be able to overcome. (With much assistance from our AMAZING DOG WALKER, Ashley.) We got Jack a highly recommended dog walker since he needed to be out of the house at least once while we were at work. A friend of mine recommended this chick, Ashley; we hired her on the spot and man, EVERY TIME we ask “Where’s Ashley?” to Jack he loses his sh*$. I’ve never seen a dog with stars in his eyes, but Jack has those for Ashley. It’s a perfect match.

We have had some trying times with Jack. Two summers ago he cut his foot pretty bad on some glass in the neighbourhood. It got infected, needed stitches; the dressing cleaned once a week for 6 months, a small surgery, cancer screen etc., it went on and on and on. Jade & I were going broke taking care of this mutt. I don’t know how many times we ate PB&J Sandwiches or Mac ‘n’ Cheese because we couldn’t afford to eat proper meals because he needed a dressing change or some antibiotics. I’m not complaining though, I would do just about anything for him, even starve. You do what you have to when one of your pack members isn’t feeling well. Jade & I will do anything for harmony in this beautifully chaotic life we have.

With his foot finally healed, we thought he would probably have to wear a boot the rest of his life because he no longer liked walking on his pad properly. So now, Jackster wears a bootie on his back left foot. You would think a dog hates wearing anything foreign on their feet but he sees it and gets so so so excited. Boot = Outside walk. Just recently though we have had some more foot problems, because of the surgically modified range of motion in his hips and the way he steps down when he walks, he now grinds down his two middle toe nails to pulp and oh man its a bloody frickin’ mess. 😦 Poor guy, but you would never think it just seeing him. He is NEVER in a bad mood, always up for a hike or walk or cookies.

People get excited when they know Jack is coming with us somewhere. We hear, “Oh, bring Jack.”, “Is Jack available?” He has come to work with us, to dinner parties, movie nights, family gatherings, road trips, hiking, he visits the lovely people at our local Starbucks with us multiple times, etc. He gets excited when we say we are going to Grandma’s house. He knows he’ll get to snuggle with Papa, and sleep on their couches. Our niece asks us, “Is Jacke coming with you, can we take him to play in the puddles?” He is the people’s dog. He just happens to live with us. 🙂

We have fought long and hard for this dog, worked with him for countless hours on his leash and doggie skills. Our walker has continued working with him too. He goes on both calming and challenging single or pack based walks and benefits from it every time. I don’t know what we would do without her. Jacke has given us new found confidence in ourselves, we are more compassionate individuals. He is quite popular in the neighbourhood too. Jade does most of the walking as she was off for the last year from work, so when I’m off walking him by myself, people yell across the street, “HI JACKE, HI JACKE’S OTHER MOM”. I just stand there being the anti-social person I am, like, ‘who the heck are you??’ …. But everyone knows Jack.

So that’s Jack. He went from a rough start in life, being left to fend for himself, then on doggy death row in California, then rescued and shipped up here to Vancouver, fostered out then hit by a car, undergoing major reconstructive surgery for his new hips, multiple vet visits, all the while being poked and prodded and he remained happy throughout. To being adopted into a warm, loving home with two ‘parents’ who will do & have done ANYTHING for him, who will fight until their last breath to keep him in their lives. Who are spending 13-15 months preparing their lives to make a transition to travelling with him, the gimpy robo-dog, possible.

Jacke makes our lives better and in return we are giving him the best life possible. It’s the very least we owe him. He saved us too.

– Devon


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