This is the story of how Jack, my eight-year-old blind Jack Russell Terrier, rescued me from a very dark place. I have always loved animals, I grew up on a farm, and my family always had dogs, but my true passion for animals started to develop around three years ago, when I started working at Petco. Seeing the way people would treat their animals, either as toys or garbage, awoke a passion in me to save as many as possible, so I brought home three abandoned guinea pigs, seven rats over the span of a year who all would have been snake food, a hamster, four frogs, a salamander that was left in a shoe box, and countless bettas.
t seemed like I could not save enough animals from the clutches of the cruel world, yet I noticed, as time went on, that I was not feeling well, my breathing was choked up and raspy, I was always sneezing, and my eyes were always bloodshot. I went to see a doctor and my worst fears were confirmed; I was allergic to almost every animal I owned or had owned.
Thankfully by this time most of my animals had passed on, and the ones who remained found wonderful loving homes. Yet when my house was empty of an animal, so was my heart, for I had given up the one thing I really, truly loved. The only animals I had tested negative for in terms of allergies, were dogs, yet I did not feel like I could take on the immense responsibility of owning one right then.
As time went on, and numerous strokes of bad life keep appearing in my life, I decided that it was time for a life change. I went back to school, started saving my money instead of spending it on going out all the time, and spent my weekend evenings with books and blogging. I became an extreme animal advocate on Facebook and other social networks, since I could not physically go volunteer in shelters because of my health issues.
At the beginning of 2012, right when I started school, my health took a turn for the worse again. I started getting dizzy spells and insomnia, and by the time the semester was out, although I had gotten straight A's through sheer force of will, my health kept me confined to the house most of the time and I was depressed and stressed out, for I felt like something was missing in my life to help me through those dark times.
When my boyfriend asked me what gift I would like as a reward for all my hard work at school, I looked him square in the eyes and said, "A dog, I am ready to get my dog." He was skeptical at first, with his working all the time to support us since I had become sick, and my health issues. He was not sure if we were ready for the responsibility of a dog. He became even more nervous when I told him that I wanted a special needs dogs, or a senior dog, since it is these two types of dogs that are most overlooked when it comes to adoption.
One day, when I was casually browsing Petfinder, I saw a pair of sweet, brown eyes staring back at me. They belonged to Jack, an eight-year-old blind Jack Russell Terrier. I opened up the page, turned to Zech, my boyfriend, and said, "This one, this is my dog."
I contacted Maxfund on Facebook, and a week later we were bringing in our adoption
application, already filled out, to turn in while we met with Jack. The first meeting was stressful. Jack would not respond to us at all. He was acting strange and antsy, banging into the walls of his cage, digging at his blanket, and peeing all over everything. When we took him on a walk, he had bad diarrhea, and the shelter told us this might be a chronic issue.
When I asked the shelter about his past, they said he had been adopted once but his family had lost him and he had found his way back to the shelter, at which point they were unable to contact them. I think this was their nice way of saying his family had abandoned him because they did not want to deal with his issues.
Maxfund also told me he had been at the shelter for three years since the time he was adopted, which is a long time for a dog that is only eight years old. Since the adoption process takes about a week, Zech went back to visit him a second time and came back to tell me that Jack was acting just as strange, nervous and edgy and wanting nothing to do with him.
I did not care, I would work through any issue that came our way. Jack was my dog and we were taking him home. The first week Jack came home, he had diarrhea in the house constantly, day and night, and would not listen to a word we said. He accidental got into the trash one night to go after some chicken bones, and when my boyfriend went to grab him, he locked his jaws down on his finger, thinking it was a chicken bone, which damaged the nerves in Zech's finger. He was still stressed out and nervous, and we were afraid he would never adapt to being with us.
Little did we know this was all a show, a test to see if we were truly his forever home. A couple weeks went by, and Jack started to blossom in our care. We found out he had parasites in his stomach, which was causing the diarrhea, and after that was cleared up his diarrhea stopped, although his stool is not completely solid, so we are getting him tested for food allergies and changing his diet. He gets long walks to the creek every day, and sleeps in our bed with us at night. He loves to cuddle, loves to be held, and he knows now to go outside to potty and he can even sit and stay! His food obsession is still a bit manic but we are working on those issues, and he is wonderful in his crate or in cars.
But most importantly, both he and I are happy; he motivates me to exercise and push myself more, to laugh more, and has taught me patience and understanding. I am asking any of you who are reading this now who are considering adoption over a breeder, please do so, nothing is stronger or more rewarding then the love of a shelter dog that really needed you, and if you can, open your home to a special needs or a senior dog, since these angels are the ones most overlooked, but the ones most willing to bond and love you. Also do not judge a dog by their behavior at the shelter. Any of us who were abandoned, abused or stuck in a cage all day surrounded by tons of other stressed out, unhappy dogs would not be on our best behavior either. Nothing has brought me more joy then my wonderful Jack Skellington (which is what we call him, the shelter had named him Jack, which is not a very original name for a Jack Russell Terrier, but he already knew it so we did not want to change it). We thought Jack Skellington fit since our Jack is blind and Jack Skellington has empty eye sockets, although I honestly hardly notice his disability.
Blind dogs are very good at adapting, just like three-legged dogs are just as good at getting around as normal dogs, which is the next type of dog I want to adopt. I want to think God for bringing me Jack, my boyfriend for putting up with the whole process, but most of all, I want to thank Jack's old family for giving him up. It was truly their loss, and their discarded garbage is my heart's greatest treasure. Thank you, Jack, for rescuing a human in need.