Tuesday, March 17, 2015

In Memoriam—Jersey Roberts

You look like you could throw a rock.

My first memory of Jersey, a Jack Russell terrier, was at the pet store.  She was a beautiful, black and white puppy and her tongue was too big for her mouth.  I was with my then-girlfriend, and we’d agreed to get a dog.  I don’t know why exactly, except that we both loved dogs, and when we saw this puppy, we both fell in love with her.  She was almost pure white, with a bit of black at her ears.  The neighborhood girls called her "Snowflake", although she was hardly a dainty dog.  in fact, she almost always looked scruffy.

Not knowing anything about cattle, we both thought that a Jersey cow was black and white, like our new puppy.  It turns out those are Holsteins, which is a silly name for a dog.  But Jersey was an excellent name, even if it was wrong.  So “Jersey” rode home in my lap, curled up and saying nothing.

Jersey at 16.
She had completely conned us.

Now, I should say at this point I knew nothing about puppy mills or the like.  I would learn about them shortly after, and partly because of Jersey.  She had kennel cough, a common ailment for puppy mills.  You shouldn’t buy from pet stores, as there are any number of perfectly good dogs at shelters all over the country.  Owning a purebred, although it sounds chic and cool, is actually a bad thing, for both you and the dog.  Purebreds almost always have some genetic issues which “mutts” tend to not pick up.

In Jersey’s case, it’s that she was nuts.

Jack Russells (JRs for the initiated) were bred to be working dogs, fox hunters.  They have, at an unscientific guess, three-thousand times the amount of energy of others dogs.  Jersey had about twice that much.  She needed to be played with, and played with, and then played with some more.  One of her favorite games was “role the rock”.  I kid you not, she would find a rock that weighed about as much as her, and push it to you with her nose (which was always rubbed a bit raw from the game).  Your job was to pick up the rock and throw it.  Jersey would chase it, pounce on it, and then roll it back to you.

She could play the game for days.
How Jersey should be remembered.

I have a deep and abiding love for dogs, and Jersey certainly sits near the top of the list.  Dogs return your love unconditionally and can be incredibly loyal.  I haven’t seen Jersey in ten years, but my feelings for her haven’t dimmed.  When I received the note that she was gone, I have no shame admitting that I cried.  Jersey was deserving of fond memories and tears and she has them from me.

Jersey passed away Monday, March 16th, 2015 with her family at hand.  She will be missed by all who knew her.

1 comment:

  1. So sorry to hear it. I hope he knew, despite repeated posing of the question, who the good dog was. He was.