From the moment he was born, I knew Jack was special. He was a gorgeous Australian Shepherd Red Merle pup; when his eyes finally opened, one was sky blue and the other was a beautiful amber color that matched his coat exactly. He had perfect conformation, what we call type in the Australian Shepherd breed. Jack was the 7th pup born in a litter of 10 to our own Skye on March 20, 2001, it was the first day of Spring and a beautiful day. During the first few weeks I was amazed at how this pup looked; from his beautiful broad, flat head with his perfect ears, right down to his square little box butt! All the pups in Skye’s litter were beautiful but Jack stole my heart that day. I held and loved on them all every night after work; but I held and loved on Jack a little bit longer. He was my boy from the moment he was born. He was Jack from the beginning-High Sierra’s Jack-of-All-Trades.
But his perfect conformation isnt what made Jack special; it was his tremendous Heart, his extreme intelligence; he was loyal and gentle to a fault. He conducted himself with dignity and grace and he was always a Gentleman even as a pup. Jack was somewhat of a ham-he had a wonderful sense of humor. He loved to make us laugh! Whether it was by playing tricks on the girls (his two sisters)or by just being the big clown that he was, as long as we laughed he was happy!
Our Aussies arent in any way, shape or form hyper they are quiet, laid back, mellow dogs in the house but they will work all day on the ranch if we need them to. Jack decided he’d let the girls handle the work, while he acted as protector and sentinel on his ranch. This feat was performed while he was lying under his Tree that over looks his ranch.
He grew from a cute pup into a beautiful dog; he had a gorgeous, shiny coat, and beautiful bright eyes and of course "perfect" conformation. Jack knew he was beautiful too which caused him to be a little full of himself at times. We’d just laugh at him and he’d look at us as if to say, "Oh yeah I forgot, it’s more fun being a clown!" then he’d do something silly. Which would of course make us laugh even harder.
Jack never in his 7yrs fought with another dog-it was beneath him and he was around quite a few other males. Everyone, whether it was a person or another dog, liked Jack. 15 months ago my beautiful boy, Jack, who’d never been sick a day in his life, suffered 6 grand mal seizures, the most violent of seizures, in one day. Epilepsy was ruled out because it shows up way before 6 yrs of age. The only other reason for such violent seizures was a brain tumor. For the last 15 months Jack has been on Phenobarbital to control his seizures; it made him lethargic but the seizures were gone. The tumor and drugs took their toll on him as he lost the luster in his coat and he developed a skin irritation 3 months ago. His eyes still held their sparkle and love of life and he could still make us laugh although he didn’t try as often. This morning, July 6, 2008, between 1:00 a. m. and 8:00 a.m., my gallant, brave Aussie had 5 grand mal seizures. Even his medication didnt help him. I stayed up with him through the night praying that he’d hang on until morning; thankfully I was able to talk him through each seizure. I whispered to him to be easy and he would relax, my voice calming him. Each seizure was worse than the previous one and this morning after he came out of the last one he looked into my eyes and I knew what he was asking! His beautiful eyes were clouded with pain but the love he had for us, his people, was there too. His tremendous heart & spirit had again carried him through these horrible seizures.
I gave him his favorite treat of late-Tapioca Pudding; when he was able I took him outside for a short walk so he could say good-bye to his ranch he loved so much. I rode with him in the back of the truck while my husband drove to the vet and 9:25 a.m. while I held his beautiful head in my lap and whispered to him that he was such a good boy and that I loved him, my brave, wonderful friend went to the Rainbow Bridge. I was with him that beautiful first day of Spring 7yrs and 3 mos. ago, when he took his first breath and I was with him this morning, when he took his last. Jack is now sleeping under his Tree. Tomorrow I will plant wildflowers for him.
For 15 months he never complained and he met what life dealt him with a courageous spirit. The following poem is for Jack. I know in my heart it’s what he told to me this morning.
May I go now? Do you think the time is right? May I say goodbye to scary days and nights? I’ve lived my life and Ive done my best, a good example Ive tried to be. So can I take that step beyond and set my spirit free? I didn’t want to go at first; I fought with all my heart. But something seems to draw me now to a warm and living light. I want to go, I really do; it’s difficult to stay. But I will try as best I can to live just one more day. To give you time to care for me and share your love and fears. I know you’re sad and afraid, because I see it in your tears. I’ll not be far away; I promise that, and I hope you’ll always know that my spirit will be close to you wherever you may go. Thank you for loving me, you know I love you too; that’s why it’s hard to say goodbye and end this life with you. So please hold me now just one more time and let me hear you say, because you love me so very much, you’ll let me go today.
We’ll always love you and we were so lucky to have you as a part of our lives even if it was for such a short time.
Rest Easy My Sweet, Valiant Jack-of-All-Trades