Monday, May 2, 2011


Confession time. I call myself a dog lover. I condemn those who make generalized statements about breeds. I've been known to let my inner hippy out and march against the current breed specific legislation in Ontario. I even wear a BSL button on my jacket for god sakes. But I... I.. I rrreally dislike Jack Russells! I see one coming down the street and I get shivers. These itty bitty little dogs get my heart racing and my palms sweaty. I get tense. I pull my face as far away as possible when I sum up the courage to go for a head pat. 

I dislike the basic jack personality. Sure, no two dogs are the same, but ever jack I've known has had similar traits: Jumpy, barky, nippy, obsessive. Some, like my uncles dog, can be your best friend one minute and then launch into a ball of fury at a passing canine. Some, like my mom's dog, can be your best friend for years and then in one moment you miss his body language and he bites a chunk of your nose off (thanks for that awesome scar by the way). Maybe my jack russell anxiety comes from my (thankfully) fading scar but none the less, I'm at the very least, fearful and nervous. 

In comes my latest impulse decision. After a nice break after Keisha, and a sunny vacay down south I thought we were ready for a new furry friend to open our ridiculously small apartment to. I found a nice rescue, Adopt a Dog/ Save a Life  and after a (rather intense) home interview we were on the list as a willing foster home. I get a call: a dog currently in our care needs to be re-homed because his current owner is a student who is going home out west for the summer. "Sure!" I say, "I'm ready and willing!" Of course after my enthusiastic acceptance I was informed my soon-to-be-foster was a fiery little jack russell named Rocket, with - wait for it - growling and nipping issues. Perfect.

Did I mention how nervous I get? My hearts beating a little faster just thinking about it. Of course, if you've ever dealt with a dog before you'd know how your energy can greatly effect you interaction with your four legged friend. I see it first hand everyday with Callie. Callie and I have always managed to be on the same page - a major reason I adopted her. I get nervous and all of a sudden her hackles raise, she gets nervous and I end up looking over my shoulder and eyeing anyone who dare walk by.

Now poor Rocket has been re-homed so much my heart just goes out to the little guy. He entered the rescue, got adopted out, was returned due to some stupid excuse (I think it was new and sudden allergies), was put into a great foster home, and then sadly ended up at my door. After talking to his old foster mom I have a feeling the home he was adopted out to was not ideal. Apparently Rock gained almost ten pounds, and became extremely distrustful  when it came to being petted. So much so there was x-rays done on his spine to see if there was a physical cause. Nothing was found and after being thrown back into the rescue system Rocket lost all the extra weight and started looking for attention. When Cal and I went to meet him I was prepared for the worst. I had only really talked to the rescue so I only knew his back story. I figured, mix his nervousness with my fear and it was going to be disastrous. I was shocked when after a good ten minutes of following Callie around Rocket finally noticed me and came running. He jumped up and licked my hands as I rubbed his ears. Maybe he wasn't so bad. 

A friend of mine who he just met, rubbing his belly!

So Rock came to live with us just a few days ago. The first day or so I kind of ignored him. It was half my nervousness and half the fact he was a wee bit hyper and I wanted to let him settle down. After the first day he was already attached to both Ryan and I and he even spent the morning snuggled in bed with us. The second day I took him to an off-leash park and he came when called and was nice to everyone he met, both the dogs and the people. He already has a decent understanding of our meal time rules (sit and wait nicely, not bouncing like you have springs for feet) and he sits patiently in the elevator and at stop lights. We've been figuring each other out quite nicely, at least I think so. He's figured out I'm more responsive to him begging for attention if he's calm and I've figured out how to pick him up only touching his belly so he doesn't get mad. 

Him coming to live with me is definitely a learning experience for both of us. I have never been intimidated by a dog like I am with him, or any jack russell for that matter, so I'm determined to get comfortable. He's already amazed me at how far he's come within days so I can only imagine what a cool little dog he's going to be as time progresses. Maybe I'll actually learn to love the little devil dogs. Maybe...  

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