On Sunday I wrote about the little pup who lived with mommy for a few days and inspired her to be the great dog mom she is today. Within three years of meeting that little dog, mommy, who was now married to daddy, got her Shih Tzu Blake, and a few years later me. But that skips over the Summer of Jake.
Mommy has three children. Child number two, at 18, got married and moved to South Dakota with her husband, who was beginning a short stint in the Air Force. While they were living at Edward’s Air Force Base, they adopted a Lab mix named Jake.
One summer second daughter’s husband got assigned to a base in Saudi Arabia. This was pre 9/11 so, while his service was greatly appreciated, his work with the ground crew was not life threatening. But second daughter was distressed. She needed to come home to mom, and she needed to bring Jake.
Mommy did not want a big, shedding dog, who spent most of his time outside, in her house making everything dirty. She suggested that the dog could stay at mommy’s ex-husband’s, who was living in their family home, with the big yard, another sacrifice mom made for her children during the divorce. But second daughter was insistent. She needed her dog while her husband was in a “WAR ZONE.”
At this time mommy had a cat, Gizmo, a Siamese with a nasty disposition. Gizmo had two joys in her life. One was napping. The second was hiding behind furniture, waiting for someone to pass, then jumping out and biting them. Mommy knew a big hairy dog would only make Gizmo worse.
But there was no dissuading second daughter. Before Jake arrived, Daddy bought a chain and put in the back yard. At 3:30 in the morning, two hours before my parents had to get up for work, second daughter and Jake arrived. Daddy held Jake while second daughter moved her possessions into the downstairs bedroom. He then showed her where Jake’s outside area was located. Second daughter was displeased. She did not want to have to go outside to leash Jake and moved the chain closer to the door.
Gizmo came down the stairs. Daddy picked Gizmo up and showed her Jake. Gizmo screamed, scratched Daddy’s arm, and ran upstairs.
Things had started swimmingly.
Mommy and daddy kept Gizmo in the bedroom at night while they didn’t sleep. The didn’t sleep because Gizmo spent the whole night jumping from the bed to a bureau, to a chair, and back again, often walking across heads. He might settle for a minute, but any sound was a signal that Jake was on the move and Gizmo panicked.
During the day Jake was outside. A distrusting Gizmo found somewhere to hide, often in the bathroom closet. The three children were told to keep the closet door shut, which was as effective as shouting moving directions to a rock. Gizmo would get trapped in the closet during the rare moments when someone closed the door, and when the door was opened hours later, Gizmo came flying all of the closet, a combination of claws, whiskers, teeth and attitude, scaring the poor towel seeker.
Jake spent most of the day lying in the dirt. Daddy tried to take him for walks, but he was aggressive towards people and dogs. When second daughter came home, Jake would sit in the kitchen while second daughter ate. Then they would retire to second daughter’s room, which Jake could not have made messier if he had explosive diarrhea. No one can match a 20-year-old millennial for messy. Occasionally Jake got loose, and he gnawed the wooden window sills, ate shoes, and in one memorable day, made oldest daughter yell “He raked my boob!” Jake was a boob raker all right.
Second daughter’s concern about her husband in a war zone lessened as she renewed high school friendships. Her husband’s money was being sent to her. One day he called her and asked for more money. She told him no, he didn’t need any money, who needs money in the middle of the desert? Her compassion for Jake was equally limited as she stayed out late and one of my parents would have to bring the lonely dog inside and, much to Gizmo’s dismay, let him lie on the floor while they watched TV.
After a long three-month deployment second daughter moved back, with Jake, to South Dakota. The summer of Jake was the high point to many of the souls involved. Second daughter and her husband had a beautiful baby. They moved back home when his tour was over. After the baby was born Jake, and a second dog they acquired, Casey, lived in the basement for a couple of months until they were surrendered to animal control. Casey was adopted, but Jake was determined to be too aggressive. I knew he wasn’t aggressive, he just had a broken heart. Shortly after that second daughter left her husband for a second husband.
As for Gizmo, he was there when Blake joined the family, and when they moved to their condo. After Jake Gizmo became more withdrawn and mean. He also began eating plastic bags. Son number one was living with them, and he still hadn’t learned how to shut doors. While the family worked hard at keeping plastic away from Gizmo son number one forgot to shut his bedroom door, Gizmo went in his room and ate an entire plastic trash bag. That night Gizmo went to the Bridge.
A week later my parents drove the Northern Central Massachusetts and brought home a little Yorkie named Foley and the rest is history.
So not only do I owe the little dog mommy found in her driveway but I also owe Jake. I see him at Rainbow Bridge, and he asks how my mom is. Hopefully, he forgot how second daughter broke his heart. Hopefully, someday, in the distant future, mommy will find out if it works for her.