Friday, February 28, 2014

Jamie stories, Vol. 4: the social network

When Jamie wasn’t poking people in the butt with his nose, he was generally a very sweet and gentle dog. He had a wide social circle and enjoyed meeting canine and human friends at shows. He was fluent in that unspoken language that allows two strange dogs to greet one another and instantly decide it’s time to get their party on.

Jess, Jamie and Connor

Jamie greeted his friends all the same way - with a huge smile. He would pull his lips back and reveal every one of his teeth while the rest of him did all sorts of happy, wiggly things. I’d never had a dog who smiled before. It could be endearing and terrifying at the same time - endearing if you understood it, terrifying if you didn’t and were the one seeing the display of teeth bearing down upon you. He smiled at me when I got home from work, at the Farmer when he came in from chores, at family when they came to visit and at all his various peeps when we went to shows.

A friend of mine posted on FB: “He was the first dog I saw grin, a REALLY HUGE GRIN, I almost wet my pants laughing, I had no idea a dog could do that on purpose.”

Connor and Jamie

Jamie liked other dogs but he was enamored with puppies. He could pick out a puppy at a crowded show site and always made it clear he wanted to go see it. He would flatten himself onto the ground and invite the puppy to climb on his head. In fact, he was disappointed if the puppy didn’t climb on his head. His play was always gentle and appropriate. He was the dog my friends brought their new puppies to meet so they could have a safe experience around a big dog.

I remember Marsha bringing her IG Frank out to our place one afternoon when he was a baby. Frank was a cautious fellow and Jamie happily let him climb and chew on him. I’m sure Frank thought Jamie was one great big wonderful heated furball to play with. They stayed friends through the years, with Jamie being the go-to “Safe Dog” when Frank had a moment of insecurity at shows.

I didn’t realize what an absolute treasure he was until I got Phoenix.

Phoenix was a very . . .um . . . intense . . . puppy. He wanted what he wanted and he wanted it now. He did NOT want to be put in a crate or left alone even for a minute. There was a great deal of annoyed puppy screaming and general chaos when he came home. Connor took one look at him and walked away in disgust. I could see the thought bubble over his head as plain as day: “I can’t believe she went and got another one.”

Jamie was delighted. His thought bubble was just as plain: “She bought me a puppy of my very own!” Phoenix leaped up and grabbed a mouthful of Jamie’s ruff and hung on. Jamie wagged his tail and looked absolutely delighted. They were buddies from the start.

If Phoenix was with his Jamie, he was a happy little camper. They chased each other, wrestled, face-fought, growled, tugged and gnawed on each other. This was new to me. My previous dogs all liked each other well enough but they didn’t actively seek one another’s company or engage each other in silly games.

Jamie was simply enchanted by his little brother. I put a 24” baby gate in the kitchen doorway to keep Phoenix from terrorizing the rest of the house. Jamie jumped it to be in the kitchen with him. I got a 36” baby gate. He jumped that, too. I gave up. The Jamie-Phoenix Mutual Admiration Society was in session 24/7.

Jamie’s tolerance level went light years beyond what a normal dog would put up with. I kept waiting for Phoenix’s puppy license to expire and when it didn’t, had to step in multiple times to discipline Phoenix for yanking on Jamie’s ruff or other inflicting other acts of malinois mayhem upon him. Jamie tolerated it all with patient indulgence, although his ruff occasionally looked a little moth-eaten.

Next: miscellaneous moments


  1. Delightful stories!

    Delightful stories!

  2. Keep the wonderful stories coming! How is Phoenix dealing with Jamie being gone?

  3. Thanks for all the wonderful stories. Man, what a great dog.