So this week I’m going to introduce you to my former foster, Jax. Jax is a 1 year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Now… These beauties don’t come into rescues often. But this poor boy landed with us a couple months ago. But it didn’t take me long to find the perfect home for him! Jennifer and her family had been looking for a dog for a while. They had contacted us in the past and just missed another dog they were interested in. Little did I know what all they had gone through looking for that perfect dog! They have big plans for this boy and I’m looking forward to following his story with you. This is what makes everything I do worth it. Jax will go on to do great things, he’s a beautiful, smart boy and I’m excited to see where he ends up!
Hi. I’m Jennifer. I bought my golden retriever, Roscoe, from a breeder when
he was a puppy. All my life I had been the one training our family dogs, and
everyone thought I was really good at it, so I thought I was prepared to train my
first big dog. I LOVE big dogs.
Needless to say, Roscoe the alpha pup taught me a few lessons in dog training
before I learned what he needed. As a result, he had his issues – like “Mom
can’t look at her fish without petting me the whole time as I stand directly in her
line of vision”…but for me and my family, he was the best dog ever – our buddy,
everyone’s friend – for 11 years. Then he got cancer – and passed away this
May. I had been crying for months because I had known it was coming since
February. But when he actually passed, my heart fully broke. I’m still tearing up
thinking about him. I miss my buddy. No dog will ever be able to take his place.
When I get to heaven, I hope to see my good buddy there to greet me.
But somehow, after a month or so had passed, I knew I still wanted a dog in
my life. Maybe not another golden…or maybe yes, another golden. I couldn’t
decide, but I have lots of places in my heart for dogs. Although I’m currently a
teacher, I wanted to be a veterinarian until my senior year of high school because
of my love for animals, especially dogs.
My husband indulgently said I could start looking. My husband soon regretted
his words. I started trolling Petfinder, looking at every dog profile within a
100 mile radius! I even looked at some as far away as Kansas City! I was
constantly showing him pictures and reading him profiles “What do you think of
this one? Isn’t she cute? Listen to this!” — I was not over Roscoe, but I was
excited to meet “the one” if we should find him or her.
I filled out a lot of shelter applications…we met a lot of dogs…driving over two
hours more than once to meet some of them. I had all the profiles printed out on
a clipboard with a pro and con sheet for each dog we chose to meet (I know my
weakness for all dogs). Finally, someone asked if we would also like to meet the
new arrival at Last Hope: Jax.
When my husband and I met him, we loved him instantly. We looked at each
other and we knew we didn’t need a pro and con sheet for this one. We had
to have him. Last Hope had already had our application for quite some time
because we had applied for another dog, but we were not able to take Jax home
right away because a storm had blown down our back fence. We knew he would
need the room to run and play fetch in a safe environment…so we got the fence
fixed as fast as we could, and Jax stayed with Crystal.
I spent the time watching and re-watching his video a thousand
times…researching his breed…continuing to put together a big binder of Cesar
Millan articles I’d been studying and forcing my kids to also study…because
I’m committed to doing a better job of training with my new dog than I was with
Roscoe. My husband humored me by watching Dog Whisperer reruns on Netflix,
listening to Dock Dogs requirements, and putting up with lots of nesting behavior.
Two weeks later, Crystal brought Jax to our house. To say I was excited was the
understatement of the year.
He was ultra slobbery (Hooch-style), a hyper-panter, he drank ten gallons of
water every day, and he peed five times an hour as a result. He was hungry and
felt the need to chew all the time. He ate through my entire stock of chewbones,
refused the nylabones, and tore up the toys I got him within the first two days.
Not in a bad way, but definitely in a hyper-energetic state of being. We started
to worry that he might have diabetes, even though we knew that all of these
behaviors could be and probably were anxiety and him adjusting to our home.
The first night at bedtime was AWFUL. We had Roscoe’s kennel cleaned and
bleached months ago. His dog bed had been washed. His room had been
cleaned and bleached. But Jax would have none of it. He repeatedly smelled
the places where Roscoe had thrown up or where he had left bloody puddles
and spatters because he had a nose tumor. He also repeatedly smelled the spot
where Roscoe’s food bowl had been. He barked and barked and barked and
scrabbled and whined in the kennel for over a half an hour before my husband
cracked and told me to go do something about it at about 12:30 or 1:00 AM. I
was up until 3:30 AM with Jax, trying to figure out what to do with him. Roscoe
had had free reign, but we didn’t know how trustworthy Jax would be if left to
himself. I tried leaving him alone in that room with just the dog bed (which he
seemed ok with as long as it was not in the kennel)…but he treated the room the
same way he treated the kennel when I shut the door. I worked him up slowly to
trying again in the kennel…first with the door open and me right there…then with
the door closed and me right there…and then a little bit farther away every ten
minutes or so after that – moving each time he settled down and his breathing
slowed again. Every time I moved he picked up his head and started panting
and worrying. Finally I got away to bed…and he woke up barking and scrabbling
at 5:45 AM.
Crystal had mentioned that once he had gotten “his” kennel at their house, he
had been ok with just a little bit of whining. I asked Crystal the next morning
for his kennel and she brought it over that afternoon. That night, I took Jax
downstairs and spent a lot more time playing with him down there than I had the
previous day and night, with a focus on the “dog room.” At bedtime, he went into
his kennel on command and laid down with a contented sigh. I put the blanket
over the front (Crystal said that had helped at their house)…walked away as
calmly as I could while dreading a repeat of the previous night…and there was
not a peep until the next morning!
However, while the first night was horrible, the first day and all the days since
have confirmed that my dreams for Jax are definitely reachable: obedience
training, therapy dog training and certification, dock dogs competition, possibly
agility for fun or competition, and last but not least a faithful walking partner and
family member. This is only the beginning of our journey, but Jax is THE dog – a
very special, VERY smart dog.
Check out his video – I’m so proud! We are all a jump ahead on a bright, exciting
Stay tuned to see how Jax does in his training!