Present Tense

Dog spelled backwards…..

junior big

Yesterday, my beautiful boy-dog Junior chewed up my prescription reading glasses for the second time in a month.  I was extremely irritated with him for the better part of the day and then I realized that all of us are not defined by our mistakes and poor judgement.  I know that I routinely chew up plenty of other people’s stuff and am grateful for their forgiveness.

So, I decided to re-post this from last fall to remind me that Junior’s qualities far outweigh his naughty tendencies.

Our dog Junior turns 1 year-old on Sunday.  My husband and I are throwing him a little party, mostly so that we can have an excuse for dessert, but there’s another reason:  I want to celebrate his spirit.  Junior has a zest for life.

We’ve had a lot of dogs over the years and like people, they’ve all had distinct personalities.  Skelo was all business, Kodiak liked to wander, Samson worried, Chili is a pleaser and then there was Feta.  She was a 12-pound,  black and white Jack Russell Terrier with a massive personality.  There was no dog too big to challenge, no person that she couldn’t charm, no hole too deep for her to explore and no naughty trick that she wouldn’t try.

Feta was one of those dogs that you never forget and never get over losing.  She was fierce with the local wildlife, but so sweet with kids and if you were sick, she nestled in next to you and wouldn’t leave until you were well.   The most important part of Feta’s life was fun; she wanted to have it and there was no consequence too severe to curb her high jinks.  Whether she was swatted, yelled at, chased with a broom, or banished to her crate, she’d come right back, look you in the eye and do exactly what she wanted to do.

She died a little over 4 years ago at the age of 15 and I’ve written about my regret at letting her linger too long.  The last year of her life contained very little in the way of fun or even pleasure.  She wasted away, which is the last thing her little soul would have wanted.  I think about her everyday and so when my friend sent me a photo of a little black and white male Jack Russell from her latest litter, I was smitten.

He looked so much like Feta in the photos that we started calling him “Feta, Junior”.  When he came home with us, he was christened Junior.  Although he physically resembles his namesake, he is much sweeter than Feta and lacks her snarkiness around other dogs, but he has her sense of humor and fun.  My husband and I like to say that Junior is “Feta without the f**k you attitude.”

Junior is our ‘free spirit’  dog.  He will suddenly zoom around the yard in circles, with a canine grin on his face.  He’s always busy; dragging a log, digging a hole, shredding tissue, flipping a stick in the air, taunting his housemate, Chili.  Junior loves to swim so much that we bought him a kiddie pool that he’ll splash in for hours.

During a recent trip to Michigan, while we sat on the dock at a friend’s lake house, Junior ran in circles, detoured into the water, paddled around, ran out of the water, spied the tetherball court, punched the ball with his nose until it wound around the poll, then he unwound the ball, ran back into the water, and on and on for an hour.  If it looks fun, he does it.

That’s what I love about him; it’s what I envy about him. Junior has no internal editor saying “don’t do that, you’ll look silly”.  He just does.  He lives completely in the moment.  Aside from his habit of murdering rodents, he could be a pretty good Buddhist.  I want to be Junior; he’s my zen, hippie hero.

We haven’t had a birthday celebration for a dog since Feta’s first birthday.  We just didn’t figure any of them would ‘get it’.  Happy Birthday, Junior.  Feta would approve….and then she’d steal your cake.

March 21, 2012 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , ,


  1. Love this and love your writing. Dogs do show us the way. Except the eating your glasses part. But of course, they must be forgiven when they do that! Thanks for posting this again.

    Comment by francescaamari (@francescaamari) | March 21, 2012 | Reply

  2. Thanks for your post. I love dogs and have had 3 of my own over the years as well as 3 others growing up. They have such unique personalities and are the best companions.

    Comment by melanieconway | March 21, 2012 | Reply

  3. My daughter has a jack russell/daugshound mix who looks and acts like junior, However she has not chewed up my glasses YET. I do find sticks and chewed up pencils on my bed when I come home from work
    I think your right about dog spelled backwards!

    Comment by christine | March 21, 2012 | Reply

  4. Jane, Your blog touched my heart! I have a dog who has eaten reading glasses, holes in my robes and pj’s and I love him through it all. He is 10 years young and still steals toilet paper from the roll. We no longer keep it on the roll holder….. I love him with all of my heart and soul. In fact, rather than my husband being my soul mate I’m pretty sure that Itzhak is my true soul mate….. Just a little after thought— you would love the book ‘A Dog’s Purpose” It really goes deeply into the souls of dogs. I can’t stop thinking about it….. Hope your procedure goes well tomorrow.

    Comment by Sharee Feldman Zeff | March 21, 2012 | Reply

  5. p.s. We lovingly call Itzhak the Peter Pan of dogs…… Yes, Jane, you are correct dog spelled backwards is the way dogs are!!!!

    Comment by Sharee Feldman Zeff | March 21, 2012 | Reply

  6. Your description of him zooming around into and out of the water is just what our Golden Tasha did when she was younger. Now she just “retrieves”. Good stuff Jane.

    Comment by Tim | March 21, 2012 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: