After my dog Patton passed away, I missed him to pieces. I’d sort of habitually look to see where he was when I got up, think about giving him food when I ate, think about taking him outside and realize he wasn’t there. You don’t quite realize how much a really good dog is woven into the fabric of your life until he’s gone.
Still, I believe you memorialize people and animals you care about by remembering them, not by wallowing in misery. So, I wanted to get another dog and I was interested in doing it sooner, rather than later. That was reinforced by my searches through Craigslist and Petfinder, where there were tons of cute little doggie faces with sad stories to look through every day. Who wants to spend two or three months looking at a sea of dogs unsuccessfully trying to find homes?
This was even harder because I have a real soft spot for dogs. If I just went to a shelter, I was pretty sure I was coming home with a dog. He could be like a wolf/pit bull hybrid with aggression problems, but if he licked my hand and looked up at me with those big puppy eyes, I’d melt and be ready to take him home. Of course, when you know you have a weakness, it’s smarter to keep yourself out of temptation’s way than to just plan to fight it. So, I was looking for an opportunity to go somewhere where there were several dogs that could potentially be a good fit for me. That way, even if the dog I was interested in didn’t work out, I could take another acceptable dog home.
Happily, one of the local county animal shelters (It isn’t a no-kill shelter either) fit that bill. It was an hour long drive each way, but I figured that wasn’t so far to get a dog. When I got there, I was typically thorough. I literally walked 10 different dogs. I was watching to see their demeanor, their esteem level, whether they snapped at other dogs they passed, and how they reacted to me. Dogs in that situation don’t quite show their true personality because they’ve been cooped up in a cage for so long, but it gives you a basic indication of what they’re like.
The best of the batch turned out to be a 37 pound Terrier/Welsh Corgi mix. I named him Jackson, after Andrew Jackson, one of the most successful and pugnacious generals ever to walk on American soil (He was also a Democrat, which shows how bipartisan I am).
Jackson is actually not very much like his namesake although he is utterly fearless and insatiably curious. If this were Jurassic Park and he heard a Tyrannosaurus Rex, he’d walk over to see what was making all the fuss. He’s not even scared of a vacuum cleaner, which as we all know, is the great and terrible scourge of his kind. He’s also an extraordinarily congenial dog — except with squirrels. This dog is so friendly that when we went to the vet and the tech was checking him out, he just hopped up in her lap.
He’s also a fan of toys, getting his belly rubbed, chewing on bones, and chasing squirrels.
No dog will ever replace Patton. He was my first dog and I still miss him now, but Jackson is a great little Terrier and I’m really glad I was able to rescue him from the pound.