Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Life and times!

Marissa in our living room some years ago
before a couch was delivered. Good time to
mop the floors.
The loss of Marissa hit us hard; you'd think after going through similar situations twice before we'd get the hang of it. But integral to the situation was that with the first two, they were older and it was somewhat expected. Also, it was Marissa's light and energy that helped us get through. Not once did either of us imagine we'd lose Marissa before Winston, so the situation left us rather shocked, with a huge hole in our hearts, and a house that was way too still and quiet.

We said goodbye to Marissa Wednesday night after only two days of knowing something was amiss. We both took Thursday and Friday off, and Thursday morning we couldn't bear the house so we just went walkabout. I was useless for work; headache from hell, nausea, and random outbreaks of bawling. We tossed Winston in the back of the Beetle, and he snored his way through our stops doing silly things that were familiar, comforting, and uplifting. Buying silly comedies at Fry's. Pigging out at Long John Silver's. Visiting Bullseye Glass (the most sparkly and colorful place I know in PDX).

We also swung by the Oregon Humane Society. They have a large, well run, colorful shelter and lots of critters that need a kind word and a smile. We've always found a visit to a well run shelter to be fun, and it gives the dogs some stimulation, too. We toured all areas, and came away uplifted, but in no way moved by anyone.

The time on the road allowed us to process together through words and tears, and share wonderful memories of the little red bundle of furry energy we'd never see again. That day helped a lot. Friday was better. We regained our confidence that life would indeed move on. We understood a little about why this one felt so bad, and what was missing from our lives that we should have added a little while ago. Remembered a little about what was important. Lessons learned -- that's about all you can do with a lot of things in life to make them better.

We'd been looking at Craigslist, Petfinder, shelter web sites. Just looking. We both know from experience that when it needs to happen, it happens; all of our dogs came to us through various odd happenstance stories. We checked out the Marion County Dog Shelter, another well run operation. I'd looked at hundreds of dogs, and none really piqued my interest.

Until I saw Jackson's adorable little face on Petfinder. I passed the iPad to Scot in bed and said, "Look at this baby!" I read the description to him, then did a little background research on the rescue caring for him. I went to bed still confident that it would probably be a few weeks before our canine family grew.

Upon waking on Saturday, the first words out of Scot were, "So, do you think we should check on Jackson today?"

Okay, so maybe it wasn't going to be so long.

The story is that Jackson, a Corgi and Border Collie mix along with a sister pup found their way to Klamath Animal Shelter. There, they arrived nearly feral just shy of 8 weeks, afraid of everything, and very touch sensitive, screaming out at the least little touch of their neck area. Who knows what had happened to them. After just two weeks in the care of the foster home with Lucky Paws, he was deemed rehabilitated and ready for the world. (His sister is in Florence and not quite ready.) When we met him he came barreling across the floor to us, cute as could be, a Corgi body wrapped in Border Collie colors. (Scot told me later that it was that first moment when he knew he'd be coming home with us.)

Jackson was the name he came with, and it fit so we haven't rechristened him. It makes for all sorts of adorable nicknames, like Jax, Jacko-o, Jack-a-root and of course... Jackass. He didn't know his name when we got him Saturday late afternoon, but he did by the end of Sunday. He's wicked smart, taking quickly to things (and forgetting them just as quickly) so I think after his neuter and a few more weeks of growing he'll be ready for some basic training. His needs for stimulation and activity are higher than any dog we've had before, and we are ready for the challenge.

And a challenge it will be. It's been nine years since we went through puppyhood. We acknowledged in advance, just short of signing a blood pact, that we understand that even under the BEST of outcomes, things will be chewed, eaten, peed on, you name it. (He's actually pretty good with the bathroom habits as already.) He most certainly will more structured activity than our previous dogs due to his breed mix.

Winston is... okay, but not amused. He's not angry, and he will engage in play, but a lot of his reaction is just boundary setting with Jackson. He'll let him snuggle, come in for greets, and even play a bit, but in the midst of the play is a lot of "HEY! Stop that," from Winston. His corrections are always firm but gentle, with no real show of aggression. (In fact the issue is the opposite -- once Jackson got all up in his face trying to steal something. Uh oh.) We'll see where this goes in the next few weeks and months. Daily Winston's patience grows, to the point that now Jackson can pull and yank on his tail and he just lets him. At the same time, Winston gets very protective if something concerning happens around Jackson.

I've been taking pictures and movies galore, and have found iMovie's mobile app for the iPhone to be very basic but quickly usable.  Shorts are thrown up on Vimeo for your enjoyment.

So life for a time is going to be very dog-centric, and frankly will remain moreso than before after. Time is short, and the season, our ages, and happenings have us reconsidering choices, options and priorities. There really isn't a hell of a lot that really matters in this world, and a few things that matter greatly. I'll be writing more to explore these.

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