Jen and I have had our dog Jackson for a little over six years. He was a pound puppy that we rescued from the local shelter . The first time we saw him he was about four months old and he was lying down in his kennel, gnawing on the metal gate. We were actually looking at the pup in the kennel next to him, a little black curly haird pooch of some sort, that seemed very reserved and maybe even a bit skittish. But we kept looking over at that goofy dog in the next kennel that seemed to have a taste for iron. We came back to the shelter several days that week to see if the black dog we’d been eyeing was available for adoption yet, and everytime we couldn’t help but laugh at the puppy next door. One day he was chewing on metal, the next time he was leaping straight up in the air repeatedly for no particular reason, and the next time he must have just finished his bounding exercises because he was passed out of the floor looking at us with one sleepy eye. The little black dog we had been looking at ended up being adopted by the person that found it (finders get first dibs) so we decided to roll the dice on the manicly spastic dog next door, who we quickly christened Action Jackson.
He’s never been the most well behaved of dogs. He’s always had a penchant for thievery, especially napkins and kleenex (used only), dirty socks, food wrappers, and consumables of every kind. Over the years he’s stolen off the counter, the table, and occasionally right off our plates. A few of the more memorable items, which were usually inhaled in the space of about 15 seconds max, are a box of Jr. Mints, a dozen chocolate chip cookies, half a loaf of garlic bread, a stick of butter, some Hershey’s kisses (foil still on), several slices of pizza, and the infamous wedge of Christmas brie.
He’s mellowed a little with age, but not too terribly much. He knows how to sit, stay, come, get out, and get off, but whether he actually does it or not is always a surprise. Actually, he is pretty good about following commands, just not sustaining them. It’s like when we give him a command his little doggy brain adds “for three seconds” to everything. So if we say, “Jackson, go sit on your chair,” he hears, “Jackson, go sit on your chair for three seconds.” He’ll go sit on his chair, but only long enough for you to turn around. Every night we go through the same bedtime routine, “Jackson, get off the bed.” He hears, “Jackson, get off the bed for three seconds.” We end up playing this game five or six times before he finally gives up and goes to his bed.
Of course, we are to blame for some of this. We did take him to obedience school, but we haven’t always been the most diligent of trainers. Part of it is that, as much as it frustrates us sometimes, we kind of like his mischieviousness. We’re like those parents with the slightly bratty five year old that everyone else knows is almost out of control, but we just smile, shake our heads, and say, “Well, boys will be boys.”
We were a little concerned about how he would take to Lily’s arrival. He’s hard to read on new people. Some he loves instantly, some he warms up to eventually, and some he will bark at constantly until they leave. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. At first he just kind of ignored Lily, but within a few weeks all he wanted to do was lick her face off. Lily loves him just as much. Lately she’s been starting her mornings saying something approximating, “Hi, J,” as soon as she sees him. Its enough to make a dad’s heart melt.
The other evening Jen and I were both in Lily’s room getting her ready for bed, when I heard the clanging of dishes out in the living room. I rushed out to find Jackson standing on two legs at the dining room table eating the leftover peas off Lily’s dinner plate. I was ticked. I scolded him and sent him to his chair. I may have even broken out the squirt bottle and gave him a wet barrage (he hates that). A few minutes later (actually longer than three seconds) he slinked off his chair and walked over to where I was sitting on the couch. He sat down and looked up at me with those big, sad, brown eyes. Oh well, dogs will be dogs.