19 March 2009

Remembering Jake

Posted by Dirk under: musings .

I don’t remember exactly when I decided I wanted an Australian Cattle Dog (aka Queensland Blue Heeler) but there are two things that I do remember influencing me greatly.  The first was the movie The Road Warrior (Mad Max 2) in which Max has an ACD named ‘Dog’ that is his companion.  I remember thinking how awesome that dog was when I saw the movie.  Not only the way he acted, but his appearance.  That was a good looking dog!  The second thing that influenced me was walking through downtown Chico one day and there was a VW bus parked in front of a local eatery and as I was approaching I saw this hippy chick come out of the place and walk towards the van.  As she did this dog, an ACD, that had been laying in front of the store jumped up and followed her.  As she got to the van she motioned towards an open window and the dog jumped from the sidewalk into the van and I thought that was pretty damn cool.

So having an ACD started bubbling around in my head.  One day I’d have one, I decided.  I would scan the paper every once in a while looking for somebody selling ACD pups and one day, bam, there it was.  Some dude in a small town near Chico had a litter of pups he was selling.

I called the number and he still had most of them available so I drove out to his home.  When I arrived I saw the mother of the litter, which was his dog.  As I was talking to the guy he picked up a tennis ball and threw it over the top of his house, into the front lawn and the mother dog took off like a rocket around the side of the house and came back a few minutes later with the ball. Awesome!

The dude told me he had didn’t have papers for the mother but she was purebred and the father had papers but the puppies didn’t.  Not that I cared.

I looked over the pups and immediately took the red pups out of the equation. I wanted a blue.  I picked one and the guy said that was the one he was keeping for himself.  My second choice was Jake.  I paid the guy 100 bucks and off we went.  Jake was 8 weeks old.

I remember driving home with him in my old van.  He laid on my leg, straddling it with his little puppy legs, and slept.  I loved him by the time I got to the house.

He was a real handful growing up.  I lived with my buddy Zilla at the time and his dog Roxy was a great friend to Jake.  She was about a year older than him.  They got into all kinds of trouble.  He was worth it though.  When he got a few months old we’d walk along this access road near our house and he’d run along like a little bear cub.  It was about the cutest thing ever.

I remember taking him to the park when he was maybe 6 months old and throwing a tennis ball for him and he completely ignored it. Had no interest. I was pretty disappointed but several months later we were at the park and he found a tennis ball, picked it up, brought it to me and dropped it.  I threw it and he brought it back and dropped it.  No training.  He just did it and he never stopped after that.

When he got older I used a frisbee sometimes and he was so good at that.  He could leap like nobody’s business.  I used to take him to an empty lot near a Safeway and throw his frisbee for him and pretty soon there would be a small crowd of people watching him and cheering.  I think he really dug that shit.

Another time we were walking around the CSU Chico campus and suddenly this frisbee came flying out of nowhere and Jake took off, jumped way up into the air, snagged it and brought it back to me.  I looked around and saw these three dudes walking towards me.  They were playing frisbee golf through the campus and Jake had snagged one of their ‘balls’.  They were cool about it though and thought it was funny too.

His frisbee days ended though, when I was house sitting at my parent’s house in the hills.  He wasn’t allowed in the house, had to sleep on the back porch.  One night I heard him going off on something, a raccoon or whatever, and he took off of the back porch and raced down the hill.  The problem is that my parent’s house was built on a fairly steep hill and the back was terraced and I think he went banzai after that critter right off a terrace and fucked himself up.  He could barely walk for quite a while after that.  He got back up to the back porch but for a week he wouldn’t hardly move off of his sleeping pad, to the point of even peeing there.  I took him to the vet but they couldn’t find anything really wrong with him (but they still charged me a shitload for looking) and eventually he mostly healed up, but he never had that athletic ability he had once.  He didn’t jump into the air like he was climbing invisible steps.

For most of his life he was always at my side.  I took him everywhere.  In the summer I’d park at the far end of a parking lot just so I could get some shade.  I could leave the windows down and he never jumped out, except when we were someplace he knew he was allowed inside.  Like Dolly’s Comics.  He  was always welcome to come in there and one day I parked out front and told him to stay for some reason. I got out and as I opened the door to the store Jake went in.  He knew he didn’t have to sit in the car at Dolly’s.

Once I went downtown to the bank.  As I came out of the bank and went to get back into my car I saw that Jake wasn’t inside. He had jumped out for some reason.  I looked around but didn’t see him.  I was afraid to call him because the bank is downtown and there is quite a bit of traffic.  If he heard me calling him he might run across a road and get hit.  I started walking all over, looking for him.  Nothing.  I was really freaking out when suddenly I realized that I had left him at home.  Doh.

I had to put him to sleep a few days before Christmas. 5 years ago? He was nearly 10 years old.  He had cancer in his bladder and it had gotten to the point where he couldn’t control himself anymore and was peeing in the house a lot and blood was dripping from his penis.  That moment when I was holding him and I felt him go limp was the worst moment of my life so far.  I can’t even think about it now without starting to get fucked up.

One Comment so far...

Arcanum Says:

20 March 2009 at 11:01 am.

For as much as a pain as Jake could be at times he was still one of the best dogs I ever knew. Jake was full of personality and was a lot of fun to have around, even if he was under the impression I thought his name was “Damnit, Jake!”. 🙂

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