Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Jack: The Life and Times of a Three Legged Dog

Jack, my dog has three legs. Cute as hell, but in a “three legged I smile as I hobble” kind of way. I have only known him for a couple weeks, and yet I feel an allegiance to this dog. It is amazing what adrenaline does to the human body, all the way from the analytical mind to the feelings in your heart. Running into my yard screaming for my dog, the brain shut off and the heart kicked it up a gear.

Roy, my roommate and fellow community member told me about a time where he was walking Jack when another dog tried to attack Jack. Not knowing what to do, Roy scooped down and picked Jack up and then held him over his head. I laughed and laughed at this story for the first couple weeks, partly because the image it would illicit but also because I couldn’t help but think, how stupid on Roy’s part. Adrenaline switches the brain off, and turns the heart on, something I didn’t understand until a few nights back.

And so back to the story, I came running outside to the cacophony of three dogs barking in my front yard. Only one belonged in that yard, but sure enough two others had somehow gotten in. And there was old Jack hobbling and growling with the might of the 12 pound, 10 year old three legged beast that he was. God bless the dog, I mean he has provided volunteer Associates for many years love and support and he has many strengths, but I was not ready to find out if one of them was fighting a dog three times his size, add to that a leg up on Jack. And so sizing up the situation I did the only thing that made sense: a complete betrayal of the brain and a tribute to the place this dog already occupies in my heart: I yelled and shouted whatever words came to me in Spanish and at the same time placed myself between this street dog and my dog, and assuring I can never make fun of Roy again, picked him up above my head, safe from the reaches of any dog that wished to take away his third leg while walking away shouting strongly at the dog and bringing Jack into our house.

And so it goes, I love my dog. The next night I sat outside with him, picking ticks out of his skin, a process that is disgusting and unnerving, but necessary to keep old Jack healthy. If you have never had a dog, you’d think everything I have said is crazy. But then you wouldn’t know what it feels like to have an old dog beaten by age and bad luck hobble up to you and jump onto the couch to cuddle while you are reading a book or watching a movie.

When I talk to Jack, I always tell him to just give me two more years because with all the knocks this life provides, I can’t afford to lose the one thing that I think will always make me smile in this community: a three legged dog that hasn’t lost his own will to smile (he really smiles, I wish you could see it). Jack’s smile makes me smile, his silly goofball moments like when he tries to get off the couch and slips on the wood paneling and then gets back up smiling and craving attention makes me laugh. It’s those little heartwarming moments that give you the love of heart and stupidity of mind to pick a dog out of the middle of a dog fight and do the only thing that comes to mind: hold him high above your head, far out of reach of any danger.


Anonymous said...

Obama 08...?

-Tom Leach

Kristen said...

Anyone who says dogs don't smile has clearly never met Jack.