Adieu Jack

“The time has come, the walrus said, to speak of many things, of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings, and why the seas are boiling hot and whether pigs have wings.” This, of course, is from the Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carrol and has many interpretations of meaning but at the very front it speaks to us of Ecclesiastes where Solomon reminds us that there is a time for everything. And the everything today is Tailwagger Jack who has developed cancer in his eye and lymph glands. He is mostly blind and going deaf but still a dear friend of long standing and I will be sad saying adieu to him.

Jack chose us almost fifteen years ago when we were building Spy Hill Cottage. He showed up one day dropped off in the woods by someone who didn’t see in him the qualities he possesses of loyalty, fierce determination and sometimes noisy guidance if you do not go where you’re supposed to, when you’re supposed to. Part Lab but mostly Border Collie, Jack was from the very beginning a herding dog and I was always thinking of buying some sheep for him. Failing that he would herd Anne and I around the house after having convinced us he was the right dog for the job by following our pickup down the very-steep hill at full throttle and on to the flat of what would become the lower part of our driveway.

Anne, Miss I’ve never had a dog in my life, watched in the passenger side mirror as Jack tried valiantly to overtake us. For some reason she pronounced “Stop the truck.” I did and she dismounted and opened the king cab door. Jack, without breaking stride or stopping to sniff, leapt into the jump seat, put his feet up on the console and licked me on the ear. VOILA, we had a dog and Jack had a family. In December that is fifteen years ago. When I asked Anne why she told me to stop the truck she said, “You’ve always told me that you don’t choose the dog, the dog chooses you, and a blind man can see this dog has chosen you.”

Tailwagger Jack, Jack the Whoosh Dog, Jack the Adventure Dog, Jack Ever Hopeful, Jack the Christmas Dog, Jack the Jingle Dog; all of these sobriquets come with funny and comforting stories, some of which are told in my tale about him in “A Christmas Carol for Grown Ups and Other Stories.” His story is “A Dog of Many Names,” and now he will become Jack the Well-Remembered Dog.

Adieu Jack.

One thought

Leave a Reply