It’s taken me a while to be able to write this post. October 30, 2014 we lost our beloved dog, Jackson (that’s him above) after a thankfully very brief illness – to kidney failure. We got Jackson in February 2008 and since then he has been our constant companion. The kids are long grown up and they and our five grandchildren live a long way away so we ended up lavishing all of our affection on Jackson. I love to walk and one of my great joys was our daily one hour (or more) walk – his too I think. Although he was very affectionate to both of us he became particularly attached to me. Wherever I went he would follow. If I went to another room – he came along. He certainly had his foibles. Although very friendly with people he was not often friendly with dogs. He was very definitely an alpha male and I think he had suffered somewhat at the high kill center where he was before being rescued and adopted by us. He also hated being left alone, especially if he knew that we were nearby but he couldn’t be with us. In such circumstances he would howl loudly. He was a lovely dog though and I’ll miss him tremendously. Even now when I think about him or see pictures of him I start to tear up.
We were devastated after we lost Jackson and decided that we had to find another dog quickly. We started browsing around the internet and eventually came across a dog in New Jersey called Dwight. We were all set to drive the 1 1/2 hours to pick him up when we were told that he had contracted kennel cough and that we shouldn’t take him until he had recovered. Despite this we wanted to see him so down we went. He had been found as a stray and was smaller than Jackson – and almost painfully thin, weighing only 9 pounds. He was also coughing pitifully and trying to hide under a chair. After some discussion about whether or not we wanted to take on a sick dog again, and some research into kennel cough we decided that he would probably OK. By the end of the following week he had pretty much recovered from the kennel cough so down we went again to pick him up. We didn’t much like the name Dwight so he became Harley – that’s him below. The picture doesn’t really do him justice. It was taken the day we got him and he was still a little timid (but even then not very much). He’s a very self-confident outgoing dog. He’s extremely affectionate and doesn’t have any of Jackson’s hangups. He loves to play and if nobody wants to play with him he plays by himself, tossing his toys into the air, catching them and chasing them. If you leave him along he just goes to his bed and falls asleep. He eats like a horse and has put on three pounds (that’s one third of his weight when we got him) in two months. The only issue with Harley is going for walks. In dog years Jackson was just about my contemporary (I’m 62) and so we used amble around on our walks at a moderate pace. Harley, however is the equivalent of a 28 year old and he’s leaving me in the dust: a one hour walk with Jackson has now been reduced to 45 minutes. He’s also infuriating in that he doesn’t seem to be walking that quickly – but I find it hard to keep up with him.
Although there will always be a void where Jackson should have been, Harley does a long way towards filling it.