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You Gotta Love the Mutts

January 1, 2011

Jackson & Rosie

Jackie Mo, Jack Sprat, Jacky Poo, and A.J.
He had many names, but his actual name was simply “Jackson.”  We named him after President Andrew Jackson, always a favorite of mine.  He was the runt of the litter – a litter born at a small rural Kansas farm. His brothers and sisters had been sold to a wholesaler in Kansas City, but Jackson was left behind because he had a skin ailment.
Jackson was a gift to my wife for her birthday.  Rosie said he was the best gift she ever received. Jackson was not much larger than your hand and was the deepest coal black you could imagine, with eyes that matched. Before we headed home, I brought him by the high school where Rosie worked.  It was love at first sight, a love that lasted a life time. 
As a puppy Jackson had a fetish for the buttons on the top of baseball caps – not the ball cap itself, just the button.  With two boys who played competitive baseball, there was plenty of buttons to consume at the Moody house.  For some reason the boys didn’t have a great desire to wear their caps without the buttons. 
Jackson attended just about every baseball game our boys ever played.  All the parents and players looked forward to seeing Jackson.  He didn’t know a stranger and that may have been why he was never a nervous, yippy dog.
Jackson was a miniature schnauzer, a breed that’s the epitome of a perfect firefighter.  They are put together in a small, super musculature package. They also seem to have the bravery of your best firefighters.  Even in old age, Jackson never met a dog that he feared.  A case in point was the day a neighbor walked his four foot tall wolf dog past our unfenced back yard.  
Jackson was fourteen years old at the time and had lost his hearing.  When Jackson saw Cujo, he lopped across the yard without an ounce of fear to check him out.  I launched full-speed from the deck knowing that any volume of hollering was useless.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get there in time.  Cujo grabbed Jackson by his back like a chew toy and hoisted him high off the ground.  I pried open Cujo’s mouth as the owner screamed at him to let go. Fortunately, Jackson had on a Christmas sweater that buffered the assault.      
Even though he was a tuff fellow that had no fear, Jackson’s real legacy was his calmness that was created by Rosie holding him.  She would hold him like a baby in her arms and rub his belly.  My how he loved his belly rubbed.  But, Rosie was the only one who held him like that, for others he would just push up beside you and roll to his back for the belly rub.
Rosie took great responsibility with Jackson, a responsibility level that others should strive to emulate.  She always told me that she would never let Jackson get a point where he would suffer from old age ailments. 
Jackson was sixteen years old and had lost his hearing, had serious cataracts, and had lost the control of his bladder.  I came home from lunch and found Rosie holding Jackson like she always did.  Except this day it was different.  She had a deep sadness in her face, a sadness I had never seen.  She told me it was time. 
Later that day we took Jackson to the veterinarian.  Before we left, I cut a small tuff of his hair and tied it in a loop. When we got to the treatment room, we each held a paw as the vet gave Jackson the medicine.  Rosie kissed his face as he peacefully took his last breath.
We learned a lot from Jackson.  We learned unconditional love, fearlessness, calmness, and the ability to show the greatest of happiness with something as insignificant as a popsaroni treat.  There have been others that followed, but there was never another Jackson. 
“We really miss you Jackson, Thanks for the memories.”   
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