Saturday, February 22, 2014

Jamie stories, Vol. I

I didn’t realize the sheer volume of memories Jamie generated until I decided to write some of them down. His presence in my life enriched it immeasurably and the joy he gave just by being himself went light years beyond the ribbons and show ring achievements. Through him I developed some wonderful friendships and had a lot of adventures. And I laughed. A lot.

Chronicling the tales of The Most Patient Dog in the World could take awhile. Pull up a chair. Sit a spell.

Jamie, September 1999

First of all, Jamie was supposed to be a girl. When I started looking for a terv puppy in 1999, I wanted a bitch. I already had two shelties and the Farmer was less than thrilled about adding a third dog to the house, let alone a big hairy dog.

I kept telling him tervuren were not “big.” Irish wolfhounds were big. Great danes were big. Tervuren were bigger than the shelties but technically not big. He wasn’t buying it.

I wanted a female, a nice little girl. With a terv friend pointing me in the right direction, I started contacting breeders. (Sheryl McCormick, 15 years later I still owe you that finder’s fee.)

Litters abounded that summer. Litters of boys. Nope, so sorry, I wanted a girl. More litters. More boys. Nope, I still wanted a girl. Holding out for a girl. What part of GIRL don't you understand?  No boys. No way nope nada absolutely not well all right maybe okay I’ll think about it.

Hello, Jamie.

Jamie, October 1999

Tammy Etscheidt went with me to pick him up. Jamie’s breeder lived in southern Ohio. We had directions to her place. Sort of. That was nearly a decade and a half ago, before GPS units dominated vehicles and cell phones. Like we even had one cell phone between the two of us back then. If you put us in one vehicle now we’d have multiple laptops, iPads, cell phones, Siri, GPS units, Onstar and our husbands texting us where to go. We couldn’t get lost if we tried.

But in the fall of 1999? Not so much. Tammy and I both still hear “Dueling Banjos” when we think about that trip. We eventually found Deborah Sherman and Ariel Tervuren but we saw a lot of countryside first. Did you know you can drive from Ohio to Kentucky to West Virginia and back to Ohio again in less than 20 minutes? Seriously. You can. That was even on purpose.

Did I mention we saw a lot of what I call “hoot owl country”? A couple of times, Tammy wanted to stop and take pictures of the interesting places we drove by (we drove by them more than once because that's what you do when you are lost.) I said no way are we stopping and lock your door. I was sure that Civil War era log cabin was probably complete with either a moonshine still or a meth lab in the backyard and either way the current residents would not appreciate Yankees stopping to take photos. Yep. Hoot owl country.

 But we found Deborah eventually and Jamie came home and became an Iowegian. He grew to 25 ½ inches at the withers. He was 60 pounds of gorgeous mahogany fur with black overlay and a full black mask. The Farmer thought the sun rose and set on him. So much for the “big dog” fuss.

One evening when he was still less than a year old, Jamie was sitting on the Farmer’s lap. They were watching TV. I noticed Jamie was chewing on the blanket. Further inspection revealed he had been at it for some time. The blanket looked like Swiss cheese.

“Did you know he was chewing holes in this?” I asked.


“Why didn’t you tell him to stop?” I asked.

“He was having such a good time.”

And so it went. As far as the Farmer was concerned, what Jamie wanted, Jamie got.

I’d never had a dog as big as Jamie. It took me a while to learn that big dogs had a different world view than my shelties. The tervuren world view included kitchen counters, the kitchen table and the stove top. I was not used to dogs who had access to things above their heads. There was a learning curve.

One evening I set a plate of pork chops on the kitchen counter to fix for supper. I left the room briefly. When I came back, Jamie had liberated one of the chops and was laying on the floor with it between his front paws, licking this new culinary delight.

I squawked. Jamie jumped and abandoned his prize. I scooped it up. It was no worse for the wear, having only been licked, not munched. I rinsed it off, tossed it in the skillet and we had a lovely dinner. (Don’t look so horrified, you’ve done the same thing and you know it!)

Next: camping.


  1. Having read the tales of a friend in EP MN's Belgian, I KNOW of what you pawed!

    Keep sharing!

  2. I'm so glad you're sharing stories of Jamie. I loved getting tidbits about him on your posts, knowing that this blog was mainly about Phoenix since you're working so much with him currently. But it's really nice to read stories about him, even now. They make me smile. Especially Jamie being the Farmer's dog! Perfect.

  3. Hahah that last paragraph got me laughing.