Well, yes, this is a birthday post to my dog, but if you know me, then you know how important he is to me.
Fifteen years ago today I was standing in Union Station in Washington, DC on a school field trip- my middle school band was performing there. I had a few minutes so I called my parents from a pay phone and found out that my brother’s dog had had her puppies– and my parents were going to let me keep one! The plan was for me to pick out which one I wanted and name it… but as soon as they were born, my dad had one picked out for me, as well as a name!
Dad: You can name him whatever you want, but I think Jigsaw is a good name.
Me: Okay, well I want to name him so I’ll pick out a name when I get back.
Turns out, Jigsaw was the perfect name for him. He had two little jigsaw puzzle shaped spots of white hair on his back. And he was born on St. Patty’s Day, with red hair– what a cool dog!
At that point in time I’d never had a boyfriend, been kissed, driven a car, had a job, or any of those adolescent rites of passage. Over the years Jig has always been my little buddy. He waited for me at my parents house when I went to college and the first two years of marriage when we couldn’t keep him at our house. He moved with us to Atlanta and even though he was eight years old (pretty old for a dog), he learned how to be kennel trained and live in an apartment for the next three years. Before the apartments, he had an entire mountainside he could roam as he pleased.
And he did! Once, he and his mom (yes, the dog) went missing for two weeks. They just left home one day and never came back. We’d searched all over the mountain for them and feared the worst, but one day they showed back up in the driveway, hungry. Who knows what crazy shenanigans they got in to during those two weeks!
He’s always had a scrappy, go with the flow attitude. Wherever I go, he goes, even if it means riding in a gator up a mountain in a snowstorm. And when we brought home another dog, a kitten, and eventually a baby? He’s always been tolerant. Maybe not welcoming, but tolerant and gentle. He was 12 when Hazel was born, yet he was still gentle and never snapped at her when she pulled his hair and legs and lips and… you get the point. What is important to me is important to him. He follows me around the house all day every day.
I love this little guy, and I’m so thankful for him. Sure, he may have stinky breath and walk into walls now, but he’s my buddy. I’ve had him over half my life! We’ve been through every major life event together, and I’ve known him longer than I’ve known my husband. I know what he’s thinking by the look in his eyes. If he could talk, I’m fairly certain he’d be hilariously witty and sarcastic. I know he probably doesn’t have much time left with us, but I’m also very proud of him for making it this far. Most Jack Russell’s that I know die of unnatural causes, like chasing UPS trucks or picking fights with animals 10 times their size. Jigsaw once tried to fight a horse! Thankfully, our neighbor caught him before he learned a hard lesson.
So happy birthday to my little buddy with red hair and a scarred nose. You’re a real sweetheart and I’m forever thankful for all these years you’ve been my sidekick.