Friday, August 5, 2011

Jasper Tails - Let's Start at the Very Beginning

A very good place to start!

Except, if we're really going to tell this story correctly we need to start before the beginning...with Bear.

Meet Bear, who came to live with us during our first year of marriage.  Bear was, without a doubt, my very best friend.  He was sweet and gentle, unless you were the guys building our deck once. He threw himself at our sliding glass door so hard, barking furiously the whole time, and I (and the guys) really thought he was going to break the glass so that he could get at them.  Later I took him for a walk out back while they were still working and he was so quiet and friendly that they didn't think it could possibly be the same dog.

Bear was a Golden Retriever/German Shepherd mix.  In temperament he was very much like a Golden except for one thing - he wouldn't retrieve.  He would get all excited about the idea of retrieving, he always acted like he wanted to join in when Allie, the lab next door, was chasing after the ball so I would try throwing the ball for him.  I would throw the ball and he would look at me as if to say, "you threw it, YOU go get it!"  And then I'd go get it.

Bear died unexpectedly when he was only 9 years old, much, much too soon.  I was devastated and while I was at the vet's office a big Golden turned and looked at me with such understanding that I knew at once I wanted to have a big golden dog to hug.  It kind of became an obsession over the next few weeks while I was grieving over losing my best friend.  With how I feel now, I couldn't even imagine looking for another dog after only a few weeks but I can't say it wasn't right back then because it led us to Jasper.

Easter weekend 1996.  I had been checking the local paper for Golden puppies and decided to visit a local pet store on a whim.  They said they didn't buy from puppy mills but only got dogs from local breeders.  I was disappointed that there weren't any Goldens but there was the cutest Miniature Pinscher that I watched for quite a while because he had an adorable personality.  For some unknown reason, I wanted T to see this Pinscher even though I wasn't the least bit interested in getting it and he had no interest in Pinschers.  But the feeling was strong and so we headed back to the store the next day.

T has always maintained that he woke up that morning and knew that his dog was waiting out there for him although he didn't mention it to me until after we had Jasper, so he was surprised when I told him there weren't any Goldens at the store.  We went anyway and he immediately scanned the store for his puppy.  He was disappointed to find out I was right, there were no Golden puppies...except, what was that bit of yellow fur sticking out underneath that pile of puppies?

Yes, our first sight of Jasper was at the bottom of a bunch of sleeping puppies who all had to be dislodged so that we could see if he was a Golden.  Once the other puppies were out of the way and the gate was opened, Jasper saw his chance for escape and ran under a nearby shelf trying to make himself very small so that nobody would see him.  We probably should have known he was a little "different" at that point.

He hadn't been in the store when I had visited the day before, he had come in later that day so he hadn't even spent a full day there and was probably pretty puzzled about how life kept changing on him.

We brought him home, a little bundle of yellow, with a pig's ear that was bigger than he was.  He was a serious little puppy.

His eyes were wide and open, we soon realized that he knew nothing about life and we needed to teach him everything.  He weighed barely more than a feather, I would sling him over my shoulder to head down to the basement to take him out because he was too little to navigate the stairs.

We noticed right away that every time he was confronted with something new that he didn't understand, he would sit down and get a cute little wrinkle on the top of his head while he appeared to be thinking about this new development.  We called it his frowny face.

It didn't take long, however, until he started enjoying himself and decided that we weren't so bad, especially if we kept giving him fun things like rawhide chips to chew on!

Yep, Jasper decided we were ok and the house was a fun place to play, but what about that big, wide world out there?


  1. Love Jasper Tails!
    And all the cute Jasper pictures.
    We had a Bear before Duke, but he was a Lab/Rottweiler mix. People were afraid of him, but he was a sweet guy. I always called him "my silly old Bear".

  2. I want MORE, MORE, MORE Jasper Tails!!! What darling photos of that baby boy. More, Jonni...more!! PLEASE!


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