This tale about Jack.
It starts when I first saw his picture (after being asked to take him home for the weekend), cuddled up with his sibling (Jones) and I know not what made me say ‘Yes’. Though I had had a pet before, I was pretty young then and my Dad had done the tough things which I never knew we’re supposed to do. Surprisingly, as promised, Jack turned out to be a no-nonsense (almost meditative) young pup. He seems to be here amongst us with a purpose we could only fathom. I write this as he nestles at my feet, his little head gently slumped over my foot, his paws on my toes as if he owns them. My toes, I mean. His paws are his beyond doubt.
Jack was asleep when I first met him, in his basket, on his rug, err blanket, err napkin. He stayed that way for the entire length of his 4 hour journey to my home, inhaling my supposed fumes as the basket lay on my lap for the precise reason. We needed him to be familiar with my odor, so he feels at home for the weekend. He neither peed nor passed motions (for which I’m thankful), he neither moved nor barked. He neither squealed nor spoke. Of course, speech was not expected of him.
He did not look for bean stalks once out of his basket at home. He didn’t seem to be a Giant Slayer we were led to believe by the legends, it seems. Instead, he pranced around like a baby deer as if we’d switched him on (like they do with the technologically advanced contraptions called robots). He proceeded to lick, chew and sniff around that had us concur that our dear Jack was hungry. We soon realized that all Jack does is lick, chew and sniff- hungry or not.
Jack is a thorough – I take the liberty to coin a relevant term – ‘gentledog’.
- He won’t bark or growl. His excited remarks (disguised as barks fail to assure us that he’s a normal pup) usually only call us out to play, or reprimand us for being where he is not. Because Jack needs to be where you are, and needs to play with you when he wants to play with you. How dare you disobey and ignore the mute summons of a month old organism that flits around your legs unnoticed?!
- Jack appoints foot mats for urination spots, and the most significant area in your least significant bedroom as coordinates to poop (most probably at a certain time in the morning, I’ve been too groggy to notice). Jack will stop doing whatever he’s doing when his bladder calls, and for his convenience, foot mats in all rooms have the honor. Multiple ones, in larger rooms. Never the floor, he likes his urine absorbed by fabric.
- He’ll eat small morsels of food in fixed intervals throughout the day. Food will neither spill on the floor, nor spill on him. Jack will jump from your cuddle midway and race across to your kitchen with certain uncertainty and bewildered expressions because he can. That’s your cue to keep his food ready. Tiny tummy with his pink little tongue calls the shots.
Jack is a scaredy cat though, with all due respect. The loudest sneeze and massive banging of the windows are enough to scare the daylights out of him. He once espied me carrying the floor mattress from one room to another. Jack squealed like a squealing Jack, hid his tail between his teeny legs just like a scared Jack does, and scampered across the room (quite foolishly) exactly where I was headed. He had to perform the feat again, because I refused to let the mattress go. It was either the mattress or Jack, and I had chosen the former. I could sleep on the mattress, not on Jack. Mattress kept me warm, not Jack. Mattress has been with me for the last decade, not Jack. Silly gentledog.
He might have cat blood in him (curiosity runs in his veins and curiosity has to be the only reason why House Dog will mix with House Cat) because Jack has developed creative uses for his paws. They expand according to will, his nails dig into you when his will is strong and he might hold on to you if he wishes to. I’ve seen real dogs using their paws as hammers or tools. Jack, on the other hand, uses them as claws. He’s either smart or he’s got cat blood in him. Or I just need to be around dogs a bit more.
Jack needs to touch you, and more so when he’s drowsy which calls for cute moments and photographs. It is rather sweet of him to keep his head on your ankle when you’re on your knee tying a shoelace; or on your toes as you’re at the washbasin washing hands. Jack fails to realize the difference between 2 minutes and 2 hours, thus having to move around often as you move around your home. Jack needs to be where you are, and he’ll keep his gray eyes on you just to be sure. If you disappear, he’ll explore the length and breadth of your home (without a sound) and HUNT YOU DOWN. He’d caught me lying down on my bed once (I had hidden away on purpose, just to test him) and he found me, and he kept looking at me RIGHT IN THE EYE till I gave up and climbed down. He remarked (which sounded like a bark but I saw right through the pretense) and made right for my feet with a joy that knew few bounds. Jack is an explorer who discovers and enjoys obedience. Jack will look at you WITH HIS GRAY EYES and demand obedience. And then he’ll lick you. And touch you most appropriately.
I see Jack as a necessary interference in my life so I could focus all my energies on just one thing on a rare long weekend in 2014. He taught me the ways of the Faithful (as he sat outside the bathroom while I showered and ahem), and that of the Ticklish (as he licked my ears in the middle of the night). Jack showcased the skills of the Curious, as he sniffed and muzzled every visitor. He displayed his thirst for knowledge by proudly squatting on a bundle of newspapers every time he got the chance. His dignified gaze was soothing, every time he asked for a play-time, that involved chasing a bundle of cloth (with me pulling it out if his reach, tee hee) and ended in a tired plonk in my lap. Only his caressing licks could remind me that he’s all but a pup.
Jack be Blessed
I will miss him, the tiny madness that had made my bachelor pad his home for a weekend. I will miss my toes being chewed at dawn and the crazy struggle as I spewed medicine in that little mouth. With his clever claws, gentle puking habits and gray eyes, I’m sure he’ll make the world swoon. Blessed be the soul who named him ‘Jack’.