Friday, May 22, 2009

Jake Henry

My dog- Jake Henry- is something else. He's quite quirky and has been described as the "weirdest dog in the world." Personally, I take that as a compliment.

I don't think he minds much either.

Jake Henry
Jake came to our family two years ago. My beloved Border Collie, Stormy, died mysteriously one night. She was only four years old. I was devastated and vowed to never get another Border Collie.

My mom had other plans though. She immediately started looking for rescue dogs, knowing that I couldn't handle another Border Collie puppy. Border Collie puppies are cute, cuddly and leave messes resembling tornado damage. Life with a young, hyper, untrained Border Collie can be rough.

She found Jake across the state, living on the Arkansas- Oklahoma border with his breeder. He had spent the first year of his life on the East Coast, living in an apartment with three with girls. Border Collies aren't the type of dog that you force into small areas and it is vital that they have a yard to run in.

My mother and I traveled across the state to pick Jake up less than a week after my high school graduation. I repeatedly told her that I didn't want another dog. I was leaving for college at the end of the summer and it wouldn't really be my dog anyway. She kept after me, promising to take care of him while I was gone.

Looking back, I think my mom just wanted another Border Collie.

Jake was absolutely scared of the entire world when we picked him up. He actually bit my mother when she reached down to pet him. His breeder actually uttered these words: "Well, we can't have him biting people. Don't worry about taking him... I'll have him put down tomorrow."

Umm... That's Good
My mom looked at me asking, "What do you think we should do?" I thought back over the day. We had traveled eight hours out of our way and I thought it would be ridiculous if we went home without him.

"We'll take him. We already came all this way and if it doesn't work out with us, maybe we can find someone to take him." I had no idea what we were going to do with the dog, but I knew we weren't going to let this women kill him for being scared.

We loaded him in a crate in the back of my mom's vehicle and started on the way home. We had absolutely no idea what we were going to do with the dog when we got home. Would he bite us again? Would he hurt Jamey? (She was only four at the time.)

We arrived home at about 3 A.M. the next morning and unloaded Jake's crate into our kennel outside. He came out, happy to have some food and water. We then left him for the night collapsing into our beds.

The next morning we began our work with Jake. He was still scared, but much more responsive. He had never spent the night in a kennel and wanted out. Desperately. He cowered near the floor, but never once bit at any female member of our family.

He was a little untrustworthy of men though. For weeks, my father would have to regain his trust when he came home. It was hard, but in less than six weeks Jake had turned into a totally different dog. He was more calm, relaxed, and trusting.

I think it's important to point out that Jake never once snapped at Jamey. They were buddies from the beginning. We wouldn't have kept him around if he would have shown any aggression towards her.
My... I love that flash!

We've had Jake for two years now. In that time, his personality has really came out.

Border Collies often find one thing they really enjoy and obsess over that activity. Jake loves chasing shadows. He will pounce on a shadow as it moves across the floor, much like a cat will. He also loves flashlight beams. He will chase shadows or light around for hours at a time.

This obsession with light makes it very easy to get a good picture of Jake. He will actually sit and pose when someone gets out a camera, waiting for the flash. It's quite funny.

He's also increadably smart and knows several tricks. He learns things quickly, often without us teaching him. I can tell him, "Let's go to bed," and he'll run outside and wait on the steps of the camper I sleep in when I'm home. My mom can say "Marla's home," and he starts jumping up and down, obviously excited.
Merry Christmas

Looking back, I can't believe that Jake was almost put down. He wasn't a real danger to anyone; his breeder just didn't want to put the time in to help him.

Furthermore, I can't believe that this dog was sent to live in an apartment. I'm not sure if he was abused, but I do know that his former owners didn't put near enough time in socializing him.

Thank goodness this amazing animal came into our lives. Our family's lives have been improved by having him around.

I'm a strong advocate of rescue dogs. Abandoned dogs are usually scared and want nothing more than a loving family to care for them. Be a hero and rescue your next family pet. I guarantee you won't regret it.