All about Jack

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Blog entry by NoLongerHere posted 08-05-2014 07:46 PM 2805 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ll never forget the first day we got him.

He was barely 8 weeks old ….... such a tiny thing.

He fell asleep in my arms on the way home so, I laid down on the couch with him lying on my chest.
He snuggled up to my neck while making little squeaky sounds and fell back asleep for about two hours.

I was stuck there, thinking about our future with this little puppy while he slept without a care in the world.

It would be the start of one hell of a great friendship and a long tradition,

...... nap time on dad.


His dad, Bear was a big Alpha dog with a full lion’s mane so, we knew he was going to be big.

We had no idea….. At 135 lbs. he turned out to be a Lot bigger than his dad.

Hunter, our other retriever weighs 118 lbs. and Jack ….. that’s 253 lbs. of unconditional love!

Now, because of his size he wasn’t exactly a good jobsite dog, .... not to mention his tendency to explore.

And, he wasn’t that comfortable hanging out in the noisy woodshop full of nail guns and wood flying overhead.

But every dog has their place and a job to do ….... Jack was like my therapy dog.

Sammy, KC, and Abbey, my other retrievers were great dogs too but, .. there was something about Jack.

I’d come home from the jobsite to work on my own house and the gardens until I ran out of daylight, then I’d run in the office to chisel at the pile of paperwork until my wife yells – repeatedly, ... It’s dinner time!

But after dinner, I still wanted to do more.

All of a sudden I have 135 lbs. of fur, pinning me down to the couch, demanding my undivided attention.

And, I have to stop. It was a good day and now ….. It’s all about Jack.

Did I mention he loves tennis balls?

He liked to carry three but I’ve seen him carry as many as six at a time.


Jack was also my daily aerobics instructor.

We wrestled on the floor and played tug o war after dinner almost every night.


Talk about a workout ….. try this for 30 minutes!

He loved to hang out in the front yard while I tended the gardens.

... and in case I had the urge to throw a tennis ball.

.... or play tug of war with a stick.


He liked to hide too.


Crazy dog

..... he thought that way, he could stay outside longer … Ha!


He was good company as a co pilot too.

He loved to go for a ride – if it wasn’t too hot, in the big work van to get materials or go to an estimate.


Jack made sure we spent plenty of time outdoors in the valley at our park by the lake.


Here is our community garden with a butterfly shaped stone border.

... and a small memorial to our furry kids, Sammy, KC, Abbey and Jack

We walk here just about everyday, ... even in the dead of winter.

We’re alone most of the time so the dogs are free to run.

.... and swim,

.... and play in the snow.

That’s Lynn, my wife playing catch with snow balls


Jack was a winter baby and you could really tell,

.... he loved the snow.

He also loved to go out and explore the frozen lake.


And every night, after the chores were done and walks and dinner,

.... it’s time to dog pile on dad.

A bit much, I know. But we don’t have kids or grand kids like most others,

.... we have retrievers.

Something about a retriever too. They give back so much more than we give them. Jack was a loyal friend
and companion at a time when I needed it the most.

So much going on in the world,

... my business was growing so fast I could barely keep up, and then it all came crashing down.

All of my dreams and plans were smashed.

My guys were like family to me. It took a long time to find them and create a team like we had. They acted like
it was my fault we ran out of work …. and the Architects and investors kept stringing me along … any day now.

It completely took me by surprise and I went online to find answers …. What the hell just happened?

What did I do wrong?

I got involved in politics. I researched everything, wanting to know both sides, trusting no one.

Our best friends went crazy over Obama without a clue who he was and turned against us like we were lepers.

My 36 yr. old son, from a previous marriage hasn’t talked to me in 4 yrs. because I wouldn’t vote for Obama.

My own family is caught up in a different cult, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and hasn’t talked to me in decades.

My 60 yr. old progressive liberal brother in law moved back home and convinced mom to change the will and give him our half of the lake house – everything … but he never told us until years after she died. The family plan was to buy him out and move there ….. We were already giving away our winter coats!

Then, he almost lost it all to the tax man and asked us in the 11th hour to bail him out …. twice. You can’t make this shit up! And yet, we never turned our back on him.

So many other things ….. that just add up and up. You know how it can get.

But, Jack ….... He wouldn’t let it get the best of me.

He kept me grounded with our daily routine and that, friends, .... was just what I needed.


Winter of 2012.

We didn’t have that much work but a neighbor begged me for a job, right before Christmas so, I hired him.

He turned around and stole the client’s jewelry, got caught and put in jail. The night he got out, he threw poisoned ice cubes all over our snow covered yard and ended up killing Abbey and then, he disappeared.

We lost KC that summer but he was 15 1/2 yrs. old, he lived a good long life. We lost our 20 yr. old cat too.

But Abbey wasn’t even nine yrs. old yet. Jack was so depressed, he looked out the window or sat by the door, waiting for her to come home for weeks. That’s when we adopted Hunter, a 4 year old retriever from a nice family with a new baby that was allergic to dogs. He was sent from an angel …. swear ta god.

Sigh …... On the last day of that job, I tripped down the stairs carrying a tub of paint supplies and landed on my knee. It swelled up and I could barely walk. I was stuck at home on the couch for over three weeks.

Poor Jack … couldn’t nap on top of dad, couldn’t go for a walk to the park and couldn’t explore the frozen lake.
We all started getting cabin fever.

Jack and Hunter were driving me crazy so I decided to try and go for a walk.

I pulled my winter boots out of the closet, ....... and the dogs went nuts.

No turning back now.

It was unusually mild that winter.

The air was cold but the sun felt good on my face and I was glad to be out of the house.

There was 7 or 8” of snow on the ground in the park but it was melting fast.

As soon as I unlatched Jack’s leash, he took off like a bullet, straight for the valley, full of noisy geese … oops.

I yelled for Jack to come back, but he couldn’t hear me over all the honking … it was so loud.

I watched as Jack ran right into the middle of about 500 geese that took off, flying towards the lake.

He chased them out of the park, over the bluff and out on to the lake. I couldn’t see him at this point.

I knew the lake wasn’t completely frozen …. I also thought Jack would stop.

I got to the edge of the bluff just in time to see him fly off the ice and into the freezing water.

I ran down the bluff and out on to the ice but I could tell, it had thawed since the last time we walked on it.

He was so far out there.

All I could do was yell for him to COME! and watch as he tried to get back on the ice but he just couldn’t do it.

I’m freaking out by now. I didn’t have my phone…nobody is around…it’s 2:30 on a Friday and no one is home.

what do I do …. What Do I DO? ........ JAAAAAAAAAAACK!!!!!!! ....... omg.

He kept trying frantically to get out and ended up going under several times …. I was beside myself.

We had just lost Abbey because of my stupidity ….. if Jack drowns …... I couldn’t let this happen to him.

I ran over to a dock with a ladder that was in open water. But he was so far away, he wouldn’t swim to me.

I remembered there was a small row boat by the old shed in the park and ran to get it, but it was locked.

I knew the neighbor at the other end of the park had a canoe so I ran as fast as I could and jumped the fence.

The neighbor wasn’t home and the canoe was gone but I found a kayak under a tarp.

I grabbed it and a paddle and threw it over the fence and dragged it back …. I forgot all about my knee.

Two young boys showed up and I asked them to hold on to Hunter. The other boy ran home to get his mom.

I yelled, ”Hold on Jack! ...... I’m coming, boy! ...... Hold on!”

He had been in the freezing water for over 15 minutes now.

I ran out and slid the kayak over the ice, holding on to it like a bobsled to spread my weight.

It was working ….. I was maybe 30 ft. from him.

I figured he would follow me if I could get out on the water and paddle down stream to the dock with a ladder.

But then, the kayak broke through the ice and I jumped inside, trapped in a hole, 20 ft. away from the edge.

I got on my knees and tried to push myself out of the hole.

I smashed the ice with my fists and shoved the pieces out of the way and pushed it forward.

I inched forward, a little more, .... and then slid back in the hole.

I was breathing fast, my arms were on fire and I could feel my knee throbbing with pain.

I screamed, JACK!! and kept smashing at the frozen mush with my water soaked gloves, refusing to give up.

I finally got the tip of the kayak out of the hole …. I almost had it … but all of a sudden,

..... it rolled over.

I was paralyzed in a frozen gel …............ I watched myself from behind as I slowly sank.

Hundreds of tiny bubbles frantically raced across my face to the surface above.

I lost my wool hat and my glasses disappeared to the bottom … I opened my eyes but I couldn’t see a thing.

Like ants crawling inside a dead carcass, the freezing water poured into every opening and filled my boots.

I was exhausted and remained motionless ….. letting myself sink, expecting to touch the bottom, any moment.

I thought it was only 7 or 8 feet deep.


But I kept sinking ….. WTF.


god, ..... Is this it?


...... is this how it ends?

...... no need to fight anymore

. ... just, ....... let it go

............. Lynn is going to be so pissed …............... Damn

.............. I’m sorry Jack.


....... I hear him

......... He’s barking at me …........ and, I can hear him!


I reached for the bottom, 13 -14 feet below and shoved off, jetting up towards the shadow of the kayak.

It was full of water and refused to move as I tried to get through the ice chunks blocking the way.

I stuck my head between the kayak and the ice and gasped for air.


I screamed, ”JAAAAACCCKKKK!!”

Pushing through, I managed to turn the kayak over and emptied most of the water and tried to get in.

But it filled back up and I had to empty it again while thrashing about in the icy water.

With my last bit of strength, I climbed into the kayak and collapsed.

My arms were dead weight and I couldn’t move.

My legs were useless, submerged in the freezing water still inside the kayak.

Jack barked at me and I answered, ”Jack! ..... I hear you, boy….... Hang on.”

but I was facing away from him and I couldn’t see him …. I was afraid to move, I had no strength left.

then he stopped barking ….. I yelled again but he didn’t answer.

omg …................. I couldn’t bear to think about it ….............. what have I done?


Then, I heard a voice from the dock ….......

” Don’t move, Mark …. Help is on the way! ..... Jack is OK.”


It was the boy’s mother ….. She called the fire department and help was on the way!

“He’s holding on to the edge, Mark. He’s going to be fine ….. just hold on.”

We were in the water for over 45 minutes by the time the firemen showed up.

He put on a special dry suit and walked out on to the ice until he crashed through.

He got on his belly and crawled, busting the ice with his arms and making a channel to us.

He got to me first and started to pull the kayak but I yelled at him,


He crawled to Jack, breaking the ice and then helped him through the channel, pushing the ice chunks away.


I was so glad he made it …..... I didn’t care if I died then and there …...... it would serve me right.


He came back for me and pulled the kayak to the shore. They had to carry me out, I was unable to walk.

The mom took Jack and Hunter back to our home, dried him off and made sure he was OK …. He was fine.

They took me to the hospital and wrapped me in warm blankets. I had frostbite on my fingertips but, I was OK.

It was an eye opening experience.

Jack, of course didn’t remember any of it and couldn’t wait to get back out there on the ice to explore the lake.


What a crazy dog …..


Six months later, we lost him to Lymphoma. He was only 8 1/2 yrs. old.

It was so hard to let him go, .... so unfair.

We don’t know if he was poisoned, big dogs do tend to have shorter lives,

... I can’t even think about that.


It’s been a year today since he passed …. and I miss him and think about him a lot.

He was a big chapter in my life story.

..... time for one last nap on ol’ dad.

I wanted to write about him and share it with you,

.... so you know too, what a great dog he was.


because Today, ...... It was all about Jack.


A tribute to my friend

11/15/2005 – 7/19/2013


16 comments so far

View Holli's profile


94 posts in 2702 days

#1 posted 08-05-2014 08:10 PM

Thank you for making me cry my eyes out! You have know idea on how much I miss Jack. Reading your story and hearing that I might have lost 2 of my family members. I don’t think I would ever live life the same. Your right ” Its all about Jack”. I love you Jack and miss you deeply! Hope you are having fun at the rainbow bridge and now you have all the tennis balls you can! Your number 1 reader!

-- Holli

View Richard549's profile


17 posts in 2564 days

#2 posted 08-05-2014 08:36 PM

Thanks for sharing this touching story. Makes me remember every special friend I have had over the years and the love they gave so freely. I miss these friends and would like to have another, but I just don’t know if there any more sad good-byes left in me. Thank God that wonderful memories last forever.

-- Richard in Oroville

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30631 posts in 3503 days

#3 posted 08-05-2014 09:07 PM

I appreciate your story. Many of us have lost special friends. It’s a devastating loss.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4506 days

#4 posted 08-05-2014 10:23 PM

very touching story

all i can figure with good friends like jack
and the different time scale to us
is that each one brings a different gift
like angels helping us along

they give so much
yet ask so little

i know they are all waiting
to be reunited with us again
when our time here is done too

blessings to you and your family

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Joe Weaver's profile

Joe Weaver

548 posts in 4851 days

#5 posted 08-06-2014 12:33 AM

I lost my 12 year old cocker on fathers day 2011. but then in 1/2012 we got another cocker. cant live with out one..

-- Joe, Ga

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3855 days

#6 posted 08-06-2014 01:46 AM

Thanks for sharing this story with others. I lost my Peggy Sue after 18 years of having her by my side 24/7. It hurts a lot but I have to believe we will be together again some day.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3172 days

#7 posted 08-06-2014 12:09 PM

Bawling like a little girl …

What a great tribute to your buddy!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View kepy's profile


293 posts in 3438 days

#8 posted 08-06-2014 01:06 PM

What a touching story. Great tribute. My buddy will be getting an extra treat today.

-- Kepy

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4499 days

#9 posted 08-06-2014 01:22 PM

A great tribute to a lost friend Mark and quite a dramatic sequence of events too. We had a cocker ‘Charlie’ who died about 13 years ago. I still dream about him frequently and I sure do miss him. It was indeed the sad loss of a family member.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View AnonymousRequest's profile


861 posts in 2714 days

#10 posted 08-06-2014 01:30 PM

I read this last night with my bud Bucky laying at my feet. I completely understand. Bucky’s 15 now so he’s going downhill. I’ve been dealing with medical issues for 4 years now. I’ve been home for two years now pretty much and he’s by my side all day. He’s snoring so loud now, a person cannot think. LOL I’ll tell him nicely to knock it off and he’ll go to the laundry room to sleep, like always.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4031 days

#11 posted 08-06-2014 02:32 PM

That was a wonderful story but very, very sad. I can’t imagine how sad you felt because of the circumstances. I know how much I loved, Dusty, my avatar. He was our night watchman who lived at our plant and served us for 12 years until he got cancer. I won’t ever forget him. I’m sorry that you lost your buddy.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View sras's profile


6261 posts in 4294 days

#12 posted 08-06-2014 03:13 PM

A beautiful tribute. Thanks for sharing.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View mudflap4869's profile


2130 posts in 2624 days

#13 posted 08-06-2014 11:39 PM

I lost my Widget after 18 years of her ruling the house with her never ending love and companionship. She had her own pillow on the bed beside mine and often turned stdeways in the bed and tried to force me out. I miss her more than the family members who have died since then.

-- Still trying to master kindling making

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3855 days

#14 posted 08-07-2014 01:31 AM

Elephants, parrots, and desert tortises are about the only animals I know that will outlive us and they will never replace dogs in our hearts.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1335 posts in 3100 days

#15 posted 08-07-2014 12:37 PM

Great story. I haven’t owned a dog of my own since I have been out on my own, but I know it is only a matter of time before we get one. No room now in the apartment, but once we get a house we will have one. I am looking forward to it.

Funny how we don’t mind broken ribs from kickback, departed fingers, loss of hearing, dust in our lungs, etc. But when it comes to a woodworker and his dog, things get real. I suppose that says something very nice about us on the whole. I like to think that reflects the benevolent and good nature of us woodworkers.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

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