Every time I’m out there, Jeanette makes overtures about me needing a Jack Russell. “Do you need a Jack Russell? I bet you need a Jack Russell. I’ve got a Jack Russell for ya, whenever you’re ready.” The funny thing is, I had never seen this dog. Apparently, she’s a bit barky, so she gets kennelled inside whenever people come over. When Jeanette made a comment about it today, I told her, “If Jackie’s not dangerous, bring her out! I don’t care about being barked at if she’s not gonna do anything else. No sense in her being locked up all day if it’s just me running around here.” Jeanette seemed pretty worried, but went inside to let her out. I threw frisbees while I waited. I was expecting to be barked at once the dog came outside, but just after a throw I was surprised with a little wet nose in my hand. Jackie had snuck up behind me and was grovelling at my feet. With those big ol long legs, she’s certainly a Parson Russell instead of a Jack Russell, and she’s on the large side at that, so where I was expecting a fat, squat, short legged wire-haired dog 15lb dog , I got this tall, white, smooth haired, 30lb dainty-yet-sturdy dog with spotty orange ears.
She’s a hoot! She was obviously happy to be out, sniffing everywhere, and she was a little apprehensive of me, but she came over when I called, and after I had scratched on her enough, she snuggled in just like it was the best place to be in the world. She even laid down with me on the grass, all curled up like my little rat terrier Kobie used to do. She’s probably three or four times the size he was, but still a comfortable shape to spoon with. Now this is more like it! Jeanette was shocked that Jackie didn’t bark at me and warmed to me so quickly.
It’s fun to hang out with Shawn. I keep going out there to visit him, and he’s certainly warming up to me, but it’s clear he is not used to being fussed over in the manner of a housepet. He likes the attention, but he just looks like he feels like he’s going to get into trouble at any second for lapping up the attention. It makes things hard because he can’t decide whether or not he wants to be petted or not, and if it’s okay, and he just seems to get exhausted with the whole strain of it and flops down panting. Also, he’s just fine going off to lie by himself, doesn’t really care to be around people if they sit down. I want a snuggler! I still can’t make up my mind about him. I think he’ll be a lot of fun to work with, but it will be WORK for quite a while before it will just be fun.
I asked Jeanette about Jackie. She’s 8 or 9, used to belong to her daughter who moved out of state (and just left her dog! Aack!). Unlike Shawn, Jackie has seen the outside world and loves to be out and about. She has been to obedience classes, loves to ride in the car, walks well on leash, is crate trained and safe with all animals except rodents (what she was bred to do, so go figure), and most of all, WANTS TO BE A SNUGGLY PEOPLE DOG! Jeanette can’t stand her because she’s used to all these independent, standoffish dogs and doesn’t have time for the sort of attention Jackie wants. Jackie does have some vices: she supposedly alarm barks a lot, occasionally submissively pees, and is a chewer if she’s left alone. All problems I find less intimidating than socializing Shawn to be an indoor dog and dealing with his depression. I think Jackie would be thrilled to be the only dog in an indoor home. Of course, I’m not usually a fan of Jack Russell type terriers but the Parson Russells are *cough* show-bred far enough away from their purpose that they can actually make good pets.
I told Jeanette that this is going to be my husband’s first dog, and I think Jackie is much more his speed than Shawn is. She said if I decided to take Jackie, that I could still come out and visit Shawn whenever I liked, even take him to herding lessons if I wanted. That sounds like a deal to me!
Jackie wanted to get into the car with me when I left. She stood and wagged her little tail and tried to Jedi mind trick me into letting her come. I could barely get my door shut. I asked Jeanette if I could take her out on a drive with me next time I came out, take her to the pet store and walk her around a bit.
For some reason, I was never able to come up with any sort of rename or nickname for Shawn, even though the name doesn’t thrill me. It might just be another sign that he’s not the right dog. Jackie is a different story. I can see her being my little Go Dog (as in, “Let’s go, dog!”) and having her come everywhere with me. I’ve already got half a dozen nicknames for her, and I’ve been sorting through new names for her left and right. I sort of like Parsley…