Saturday, January 9, 2016

How I Let My Dog Down......

Jack is a 14 year old lab with a young heart. He thinks he's a puppy despite his slow moving joints. All he wants is to sit in your lap; he does not care much for running and retrieving. He is just a friend. Though he lives in a large fenced backyard, he gets plenty of attention. On the rare cold nights in the southeast, he and our terrior, December, have a heater to keep them warm inside their insulated dog houses. A lit floodlight keeps Jack secure and calms his seemingly fear of the dark.

We have struggled in recent months as to handle Jack's debilitating health. You see, he is almost completely blind. We have to be within 10-12' feet of him for him to know where we are standing when we talk to him. Until then, he looks around, confused. Once he identifies our location, however, he wags his tail and security overcomes that unsettled look in his face. We have had to feed him canned food by hand to ensure that he gets proper nutrition.

Although December is a few years younger than he, she is the dominant one. She is also the mischievous one as she climbs the fence and/or digs underneath it. Jack barks for her when she is away; he barks for her when she will not play. As I said, Jack is still a puppy in his heart and mind. Yet, December is more of a serious personality and plays on her own terms.

This week, December met us in the front yard when we got home. Like before, we opened the gate and put her in the backyard. Unlike before, we failed to close it completely. The next day, December left again - probably going underneath the fence. It was a windy day, and the gate was blown open since it wasn't properly latched, so she might have just walked right out of the gate. In trying to be at her side as always, Jack did.

He left through the gate that we left open. I have looked for him for several days as have our neighbors and Facebook friends in the surrounding area. Unfortunately, we have not found him. In all of the years of keeping the heater on when it was cold, the floodlights on because he didn't like the dark, and putting him on the screened porch when neighbors were playing with fireworks because he didn't like the noise, we let Jack down this week by forgetting to latch the gate.

It has rained several times since he has been gone, so I do not know if he can find his way back with his nose. God, if Jack cannot find his way back, please do not let him suffer. We let Jack down; please lift him up.

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