On Wednesday, May 16, the garbage truck driver ran over my dog, Jack. He didn't even slow down. Thankfully, I didn't see it happen because I wasn't home, but the men who work in the cemetery witnessed it and buried him for me. You see, they loved Jack, too. He managed to show up in the cemetery everyday when they were having lunch. You can guess the rest!
Jack never turned down a scrap of food, a fact I attributed to him being a rescue dog who was underfed when he came to live with us. We rescued Jack from the pound. He from places unknown, and for the first 24 hours we were delighted with him and he with us. He was a ball of energy, and he fit right in with our other dogs, Molly and Murphy. I knew we had made the right decision bringing Jack to live with us.
Then Jack got sick. He went from this happy, rowdy dog to a lethargic puppy who could not stop throwing up. The vet said it was parvo - the dreaded virus that dehydrates and often kills dogs. Wherever Jack had lived, he had not been vaccinated, so when he was dropped off at the pound, he had no defense against the very contagious virus. The vet did all he could for Jack and I took him home armed with a syringe and Pedialyte. Every fifteen minutes, I injected a tiny amount of Pedialyte in Jack's mouth, trying to stave off dehydration while the virus ran its course. I called my principal and told her about Jack and that I would need a substitute teacher because I could not leave him. His only chance was the Pedialyte that I was giving him around the clock. She said, "Bring him with you and we will help you take care of him." I did and they did.
For three days I carried this pitiful little dog around in his little pet bed. He no longer had diarrhea or vomiting, but he was still lifeless. I believe it was the prayer and love of my fellow teachers who helped Jack come back. Because he did come back, and he never stopped thanking me. From that time, Jack was my dog. He loved with a fierce devotion that never lagged. He followed me everywhere; he sat in my lap or next to me; and he slept with me at night. His favorite place to sleep was around my neck. I would turn on my side and Jack would nestle against my back, his head in my hair resting on my neck.
Jack was only happy when we were together. When he came in from outside he ran through the house until he found me. If he couldn't find me, he would get more and more frantic until I called to him. I have had dogs all my life, and none have ever loved me like Jack.
Good-Bye my little Jackie. I will miss you always. There will never be another dog like you.
In James Still's poem about "those I want with me in heaven," I found the perfect tribute for this wonderful little dog.
Those I Want With Me in Heaven Should There Be Such a Place
First I want my dog Jack,
Granted that Mama and Papa are there,
And my nine brothers and sisters,
And “Aunt” Fanny who diapered me, comforted me, shielded me,
Aunt Enore who was too good for this world,
And the grandpa who used to bite my ears,
And the other one who couldn’t remember my name—
There were so many of us;
And Uncle Edd—“Eddie Boozer” they called him—
Who had devils dancing in his eyes,
And Uncle Luther who laughed so loud in the churchyard
He had to apologize to the congregation,
And Uncle Joe who saved the first dollar he ever earned,
And the last one, and all those in between;
And Aunt Carrie who kept me informed:
“Too bad you’re not good looking like your daddy”;
And my first sweetheart, who died at sixteen,
Before she got around to saying “Yes”;
I want my dog Jack nipping at my heels,
Who was my boon companion,
Suddenly gone when I was six;
And I want Rusty, my ginger pony,
Who took me on my first journey—
Not far, yet far enough for the time.
I want the play fellows of my youth
Who gathered bumblebees in bottles,
Erected flutter mills by streams,
Flew kites nearly to heaven,
And who before me saw God.
Be with me there.