Pet Stories: In Your Own Words
Jack and Josh
A few years ago, on Halloween morning, I felt a strong urge to get in the car and just drive. My daughters asked to go with me, as usual, but that day I needed to be alone. That, in it self, was unusual. I drove around aimlessly for over an hour and suddenly found myself focusing on a store sign as I sat at a red light on the interstate exit across the river from where I lived. The sign read "PETSMART". I remember thinking if they meant PetsMart or PetSmart. I decided it should be PetSmart and drove into the parking lot. I went inside "just to look around". There, against the far wall, were rows of caged dogs and cats. I immediately was drawn to a Jack Russell Terrier mix. He was about 4 years old and was rescued from an abusive home. I paid the "donation" fee and took Jack home.
That night, my husband and I took the girls "Trick or Treating". Jack rode on my husband's shoulders like a very content fur collar. Tom was worried that all the sugar laden kids in costumes would either frighten poor Jack, or step on him. The truth be known, this is the ONLY dog he ever was that concerned about, because to him, dogs are dogs. Jack was one of the family.
Each day, I would come home from work to find Jack looking out the front window. He would wait patiently for me to come in the house go to the family room and sit down in the recliner. He then began his "Jack Attack". He would run at full speed from the front living room window, through the kitchen, up on my lap, over the arm of the recliner, down into the dining room and up into the living room to start all over again. He did this for about 5 minutes. When he had finished his circuit, he would hop up into my lap and tell me all about his day and what the cat did when no one was looking.
One Saturday we went for his second set of shots. The vet was an older gentleman and did not want to tell me that he found heart worms. He told me I had only one choice to save Jack and that was to let him kill the heart worms with an arsenic based injection. Jack took his shot and we went home. The next day at work, I received a phone call from my husband. Jack's rear legs had collapsed and he lost control of his bodily functions. I rushed home and took Jack to the vet's. He admitted Jack and kept him for 2 days. On Friday night, the vet called to tell me to pick Jack up on Saturday morning. Things were looking brighter. Saturday morning, the phone rang. It was the vet. Jack had died during the night. I went to pick him up and bring him home. We buried him in the backyard and planted a grapefruit tree to mark his grave. The nurse there later told us that the vet had overdosed Jack and the animal rescue folks at PetSmart told me that Jack was certified not to have heart worms when their vet checked him out. Everyone tried to console me. I was a basket case for a long time.
Then, the week after Mother's Day, a friend at work told me that a woman in her church was moving and couldn't take both her dogs with her and needed to find a home for one of them. I was strongly encouraged by my family to "go look". When I got to the woman's house, the dogs were in her backyard. I sat in the front room while she called them in. The dogs were brothers, Joshua and Caleb, Shepard mixes, about 90 pounds a piece. Joshua immediately pulled a "Jack Attack" on me! I couldn't believe it. I was literally knocked to the floor (more by the act than the dog). We bonded right away. Off we went, back to my house, me and my new co-pilot.
Around the same time, a friend of mine from New York let me know that a guy we grew up with was murdered a year earlier in NYC. The date of his death matched Josh's date of birth. I looked Josh in the eyes and asked him if KC had anything to do with him ending up with me. Josh gave me his charming grin and walked away. I tested it over the next few months. I would call Josh by his name. He would come or respond. I called him by one syllable names and he would ignore me. I called him KC or Coop and he would respond by running up to me. My husband told me the syllables and the inflection in my voice made Josh respond. So, I tried different names again, using an "I'm angry and you are in trouble" voice. I tried a hyper-sweet voice and I had my girls try, too. Each time, he responded to Josh or Joshua. Each time, he came running, no matter where he was, to KC or Coop. To all else he, just ignored us.
Several months after that, the woman that previously owned Josh moved back to town. She wanted him back. Now what? Fight her? Hide him? I knew she loved him. I knew he helped me. Sadly, I drove him back to her. To this day, I truly believe that Josh was sent to me by KC because he knew that I was not recovering from Jack's death. Josh brought me back from the brink of a great depression. Although the pain of Jack's death is still with me to this day (5 years later), I know that he was still looking out for me and that he always will find a way to let me know he is there.