Life after Jack

The three kids

Sunday was Cinco de Mayo, the anniversary of the defeat of the French outside Puebla, insuring the siege of Maxmillian’s capital would continue, insuring the fall of the Habsburg Empire in Mexico.  Heady stuff.

It’s also my Jack’s birthday.  He would have been eleven.  Jack died as the result of a serious health condition last year.  Today will be the anniversary of his passing.  He was a special friend and companion and I loved him very much, still do and I think about him every day.  I’ve written in other places about how special he was to me and the difficulty I had getting over his death.  As a person who believes it is important to be the rock of the family, I was devastated by his death.  I got in touch with a Kevin I didn’t know.

I’ve written a little bit about my dogs on this blog, a lot on my old blog.  They are an important part of my life.  Last summer we adopted Amos, and in October, Rusty came to live with us.  They joined our Lucy, who is kind of a dowager princess at the ripe old age of 12. Being a three dog family is every bit the challenge it sounds.  One of the dogs is always in the middle of shedding.  The boys love their toys and they are strewn through the house and the back lawn every bit as much as human toddler would.  Amos is barky.  Rusty is up at the counters.  It seems like I’m always fussing at one one of them.  When I’m not smiling at them.  Or laughing at them.  Or getting my face washed by Rusty as he jumps up in my lap.  Or scratching Amos’s tummy in the back yard.  The boys are quite a disparate but fun pair, as Lucy glares on in disapproval.

Amos with Lorri.  When he is happy Amos smiles broadly and shows his teeth.  We call this his vampire face.

Amos with Lorri. When he is happy Amos smiles broadly and shows his teeth. We call this his vampire face.

For the longest time Amos was our shrinking violet.  The two year old is perhaps the most beautiful dog I’ve ever seen.  He always seemed so timid.  He always backed away from us when we approached him; we called him our “back-up” dog.   Now Amos is the dog in charge.  He pushes four-year-old Rusty around and kind of rules the roost.  Amos loves attention, and demands affection. His favorite place is the couch, with whoever is sitting there. It’s not unusual for Amos to snuggle up to me and roll on his back for a scratch in the middle of an episode of Mad Men. He’s not the alpha male Jack was, but he starts the barking and often loots Rusty’s toys.

Rusty often has a sort of Scooby Doo expression, accompanied by throaty noises that make him almost human. Jack was the only other "talking dog" I've ever known.

Rusty often has a sort of Scooby Doo expression, accompanied by throaty noises that make him almost human. Jack was the only other “talking dog” I’ve ever known.

Rusty is, frankly, the most friendly, amiable, loving dog I’ve ever been around. He follows me everywhere and is a devoted companion.  He loves to be cuddled and held.  He’s a great walker.  Rusty loves to play, and gets down on his front haunches to urge Amos to chase him-with mixed results.  On those occasions when he can convince his blue-eyed brother to run after him, it is a thing of beauty.  They race in great arcs, taking all of my sizable backyard.  Though Rusty is quite fast, Amos is faster still.  Not always a good listener and follower of directions, Rusty is my dog.  He is a great companion, and I miss him when I am away from home.

Lucy, in her classic Kilroy pose, likes to stay above all the hassle.  Though her relations with both of the boys is cordial, she stays out of the chase.

Lucy, in her classic Kilroy pose, likes to stay above all the hassle. Though her relations with both of the boys is cordial, she stays out of the chase.

Lucy is, well, Lucy.  She is, and always has been a good girl.  We had her shaved a month or so ago.  I know this practice is frowned upon by the Aussie community, but she has very un-Aussie fur.  It seems to stick out in all directions like a Samoyed’s, and seems to weigh her down.  With her fur reduced, we learned she’d lost lots of weight and was a lot happier.  At 12 she’s slowed down a bit. Lucy seems to be a bit hard of hearing, and less likely to get involved in whatever ruckus is going on.  Even so, she is our first, our little angel.

Our lives changed a great deal since Jack died.  I’ve rerun the scenario in my mind over and over again.  What if he’d lived.  Would we still have these three wonderful dogs?  Did we act too quickly in getting them?  Am I being unfaithful to my Jack in adopting them and loving them so much?  It is a haunting question.  I only know my life is forever changed by them, and they are  an incredibly important part of our lives.

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