An Anniversary and A Birthday- A Cycle.
Next week will be the 2nd anniversary of the passing of Jack, my shepherd/husky mix. He had osteosarcoma and the end was really tough. Cancer sucks. The pain, drugs, and medical options were just all too little too late. With 2 years of clarity I can say we did our very best and also that I let him linger a week too long in pain. I was finally able to finish his photo album, something I've wanted to do but just found too painful. The photos of the final week say it all in his eyes, it hurt too much.
We are also coming up on the 1 year birthday for Ollie, our crazy GSD pup. It took over a year to feel ready for another dog after Jack passed. I wanted to start as far from the end as possible so of course went this a puppy. And what did we like most about Jack- the traits we considered his shepherd traits, so that lead to a GSD puppy. What a year it has been with Ollie. All the usual puppy stuff: chewing, nipping, jumping, potty training, will his ears stay up and is he actually growing so fast I can see it?!? Wearing him out and obsessive fetch. And then we had the added fun of picking a pup with mysterious allergies who required lots of Vet visits and special diets. His Vet expenses picked up where Jack's left off. So much for hoping we wouldn't be on a first name basis with the entire clinic staff again.
It likely isn't fair to Jack or Ollie to have these dates collide so close to each other. Jack becomes ever more "Saint Jack" in my memory. Perfect companion never destroyed anything, always happy to be doing what I was doing. Ollie is very much a work in progress. He still can't be trusted out of our sight not to chew something expensive. Mostly good on the leash, except when he's not... and then he'll tug your arm off. He isn't a dog to cuddle up with you on the couch or bed at the end of the day, but instead is ever alert, always hoping you want to play fetch or play tug or better yet fetch/tug rinse and repeat!
They are such very different dogs, one so laid back and chill and the other.... well right now Ollie is an alert bundle of energy. But he's still a puppy (in an 80 lbs body). I wish Ollie had known Jack, had been able to learn the ropes from a wise old dog, but Ollie would likely have driven Jack nuts, especially at the end. And there is a little bit of guilt because some days when I'm exasperated with Ollie and his puppy-ness I catch myself thinking, "Why can't you just Jack?" How awful is that?!
Of course, Jack never learned how to play fetch or tug. He was a solitary dog and didn't want to play at the dog park, but just hang out with his people. Being honest, I always wished Jack would play fetch. Isn't playing fetch with your dog the epitome of the dog/human bond. A ritual you preform together in perfect balance, throw and return, throw and return?
So there, Neither dog is perfect and neither am I. I miss Jack, always will. I suppose I will look for Jack-ness in every dog I ever meet incase he comes back to me.
And, Ollie on your birthday we will play fetch until my arm falls off because even though you can be a pain in the butt, you are my pain in the butt. I waited, planned, read and re-read raising puppy books to get ready for you. Of course it is never the things you prepare for that happen anyway. And you are working on being a good dog and someday I will look for the Ollie-ness in every dog I meet too. I'm sure of it.