Many of you know that I do not have children. I used to say that I had dogs – 3 Jack Russell Terriers. In December, it became 2 JRTs as we lost our oldest dog Pogo at the age of 16 ½ years. This past Friday, my beloved dog Tucker died. He was Pogo’s son and I had him since the day he was born. I have shared with many of you my particular devotion to Tucker. They say you are not supposed to have favorites but he was my favorite and I his.
I adopted Pogo when she was about 10 months old from a couple on whose horse farm my now husband lived. Later the wife died. She had a big beautiful Jack Russell named Bumper who was her constant and loyal companion. When Pogo was 2, we bred her to Bumper. The litter was 4 puppies including 2 that looked much like Bumper – almost all white but with 1 or 2 brown spots. It was getting time to sell the puppies and one puppy would come and crawl in my lap even as the others were romping all around the yard. He would seek me out and ignore the chaos around him – well it was love for me also and I kept him and named him Tucker. I used to sit with my knees bent and rest Tucker back against my knees and rub his big fat puppy belly. He never grew out of being held and coddled by me.
Like most Jacks, he was energetic and wild and would chase a tennis ball forever. When he was tired, I could always hold him and cuddle him. He would growl at strangers and he seemed mean to others but he was the most loyal, loving dog I have ever known. He was my best buddy. I have had dogs all my life and Tucker was by far the most special dog I have ever known.
As he got older he slowed down some. I would carry him around in my arms like carrying an infant backwards, his belly facing out and his arms just hanging limp. (he looked like the little piggie Maxwell in the Geico commercial sitting in the car seat)
He grew older still and our walks were reduced to 2 blocks and then I would have to carry him part of the way (some of you may have seen this along QRW and Maryland), and then 1 block and then no walks.
We let him sleep with us after Pogo died and he would curl up next to me, his head on my pillow or arm and my head on his, my arm draped gently over him – and we slept. But he was clearly getting older. He had been unable to hear for quite a while and his vision was going. He peed in the house – I became a master of cleaning antique rugs. He wandered and would often not know where he was. I carried him down stairs and helped him climb up stairs. I brushed his teeth to keep away the terrible plaque that would doom his teeth. I dutifully gave him his thyroid pill every day. I knew he was slipping away from me but I was determined to keep him as healthy and happy as I could. In his later years, he was the sweetest most tolerant dog. He was like a rag doll and I would many times during the day pick him up and hug him and sit him in my lap and love on him. I loved that dog.
I had promised to Tucker that I would be with him to very end and would not leave him. In the end, it is cruel fate that I am the one who killed him. I was slowly pulling into the garage, no foot on the accelerator, when the car kind of stopped. I didn’t understand and I accelerated a bit – over something – which sadly and tragically was the one non-human thing in this world that I most cherished and adored. I probably had a micro second to act differently but I didn’t know what was happening. Now he is gone and my heart is broken and heavy. Online critics throw out harsh criticisms of me but I am human with feelings. I have friends and family that love me. I had a dog that loved me and I loved that dog. Bye Tucker, I will love you forever and will never forget you. I am so sorry it ended this way.