Vale Jackson

How valuable it is to listen to others because, my friend Jayne, told me how to say goodbye to our beloved funny, fluffy small dog, Jackson.

“Take him in your arms, Nadine’,’’ she said. “Whatever you do, don’t just leave him with the vet because he will feel abandoned at that last moment.’’

So,  my lovely, fun-loving, faithful friend is in my lap and I weep because I have just felt Jackson’s heart stop beating as the vet’s injection takes effect. But, he did not guess because I stroked his forehead as I always did and spoke softly and lovingly to him as he gazed one last time into my eyes.

He had begun to suffer with rampant cancer in his prostate and  forearm.  This merciful act closes a long 13 year relationship and we will never forget the fun, friendship and faithfulness he has brought to our lives – not only husband Olivier and my domestic life, but also my son Tyson and his wife Vanessa. They called him “Jacko’.

Yet, he was an unexpected gift.  He arrived in my life as air freight – in a small plastic cage – and I recall fondly the day I collected a small, Shitzu/Maltese puppy from Qantas at  the Adelaide Airport.

“Jack’’, the name my daughter bestowed upon him, was quivering in fear and his white fur was caked with his own poo. But, he was the prettiest doggie I had ever seen and he needed a new name now that he was mine. So, I called him Jackson.

Daughter Serena had bought him from a pet shop as her own 30th birthday present and I oohed and aahed at the beautiful white puppy at the time. But soon afterwards, the Kennett Government in Victoria called an election and Serena, who was a press secretary, began working 12 hour days. When she telephoned to ask if I would take “Jack’’, I grabbed the chance even though we already had Tyler.

Jackson was always a well-behaved boy and learnt to understand French, too, when I met and later married my French/Australian husband, Olivier. He always spoke to him in French and miraculously Jackson always knew to beg and dance when he said “fais  le beau”  (act beautifully).

“Allez!’’ meant charging to the front door for his daily walk. And if I was lagging behind, doing up shoelaces or looking for a scarf, he would charge back into the house and bark for me to hurry up – in English, of course!

Jackson would rouse at me when I worked a long day before I married, leaving him alone in the house for more than eight hours. The moment I opened the  door, he would rush outside, and turn around and deliver a round of indignant barks.

He spent much of his early life in the company of our big, golden labrador, Tyler, who adopted him from the moment I arrived home from the airport. Jackson simply curled up within the arch of Tyler’s body draped on the floor, and as any baby, fell asleep.

As he grew, Jackson became a Houdini breaking out to find a string of girlfriends,  so frequently that I became on first-name terms with Port Adelaide and Prospect councils’ dog catchers. He had some lucky escapes until one day when I was holidaying in the Outback.

My friend Jenny was caring for him and when she went shopping with her daughter, he dug under a locked gate and was hit by a car on Port Road and thrown into the median strip. The car did not stop, but luckily the driver behind stopped and picked up the broken, whimpering creature.  A dog lover, he took  him to a veterinary surgeon whose secretary came herself and knocked on the side door of our house.  Jackson had broken both hips and they needed permission to operate.  For two days she had telephoned the number on Jackson’s collar and no-one answered (I was out of range) and she took compassion on my pet.   Luckily, it was a rare moment when 18-year-old Tyson was actually home.  It was time to have doggie desexed – and Jackson became a homebody.

When Tyson left home, he took Tyler with him and Jackson became top dog relishing our 100 per cent attention. He lived at my husband’s feet for the last five years of his life and as he aged, he did become grumpy with other “foreign’’ dogs who bothered him to play.

He brightened many human lives, though and Jackson would want me to thank his other “friends’’ who cared for him as Oli and I lived our busy lives.  Tyson and Vanessa were his second set of adoring parents whenever we travelled and he loved Jenny and her dog, Bailey, while Jayne and Locky, who so lovingly cared for him during our last holiday in Perth, had a special place in his heart. For them, he tolerated their pooch, beautiful Hugo.

Jackson will always be in our memory as a joyrful, playful little fellow.

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4 Comments to “Vale Jackson”

  1. By Nathan Otto, 25/04/2011 @ 11:52 am

    I always loved Jackson’s playful moods, it is a real shame that he had to go. We felt the same kind of sadness when our dog Missey had to be put down, she had a heart murmor.

  2. By Anne Otto, 25/04/2011 @ 4:07 pm

    What a wonderful memorial for Jackson! A fitting account of his cherished life. Well done Nadine, a true tribute to your loyal friend. Most of us can relate to losing a loved and treasured pet. I enjoyed reading your article as I pondered fondly of Jackson. I also remembered losing Missy a year ago and now have regret that I did not hold her as you held Jackson but simply stroked and loved her as she sat on the vets table. It made me smile as my young Foxy is one of those “foreign dogs” that tried in vain to inspire play in an ageing Jackson.

  3. By Felicia, 03/05/2011 @ 1:41 pm

    A lovely tribute for a lovely little doggie with a big personality! You will be missed, but forever in our hearts little Jacko. Felicia.

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