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He still has it in him!

Our dog Jacko is 14 years old. He has been with homme and I since before children. In fact we got him when we realised having children was not as easy as we expected.

He is a jack russell, bred to run down rabbit holes to catch rabbits. Well he has never caught a rabbit that we know of, but living in a port city, he has earned his keep by catching rats from our yard.  As a puppy, he was barely bigger than a rat himself, but it wasn’t long before he showed us his skills and presented us with his kill. It is an impressive thing to see too. A couple of quick steps and he grabs them at the back of the neck, shakes violently two or three times and drops them with a broken neck. He would lay it under a bush in the garden and prance around for the rest of the day, proud of his achievements.

Once he sees a rat, he does not give up the chase. I remember coming home from a nursing shift one afternoon to find him in the yard barking hoarsely at the end of a piece of polypipe lying on the ground. He ran from one opening to the next, his rasping voice telling me he had been at it for many hours. I realized he was after something hiding inside the pipe so I helped him out by lifting one end off the ground so the rat would slide out the other end. It barely got 20cm away when he leaped on it and in a couple of seconds was lying exhausted next to the dead rodent.

The past twelve months we have noticed Jacko has aged quickly. His back legs and hips are arthritic and he struggles to jump the heights he used to. His hearing and eyesight are not nearly as good as they were and at times he gets a little confused. We have been reminding the girls of his age and his lifespan so as to prepare them should he go downhill rapidly.

Today I was gardening in the front yard when I noticed a large mouse warming itself in the sun, on the front path. It was about three metres away from me so I called Jacko to get his attention and point him in the right direction. He stumbled around my feet, confused as to what I was trying to tell him. I walked closer to the mouse, pointing with my foot in its direction. I am not sure which animal was more stupid, the mouse which just sat there, or Jacko who started sniffing around and did not notice the mouse until it finally made a bolt for it.

Well, to his credit, he pounced and caught it in a flash. I was very proud of the old fella and gave him a big pat and lots of congratulations. He seemed to forget what to do with it though and I found him ten minutes later still walking around with it in his mouth. After a photo shoot, I had to use bbq tongs to gently remove it from his mouth and toss in the bin.


2 Responses

  1. Ohhhhh, he is so handsome and I love his caramel spot on his belly/back and who can resist those folded ears that make even the oldest Jack Russells still look so puppyish????

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