Our family dog Jazz died yesterday. She was my son's constant companion. I rescued her, but she rescued Matthew when he came home after a heartbreaking divorce. She was both adorable and adoring. Devoted and loving and playful and fun and loyal and fiesty and protective and.... The list is endless.
Every once in a while a dog will select one person, pick him or her out of a crowd or in a family, and choose to be that person's constant companion. Jazz did that with Matthew.
I was blessed with a dog like that, too. I got her at the city pound for Matthew's birthday. He was leaving for college at Texas Tech, and I thought he'd need the company.
I had to get into the dog cage with her, she was so withdrawn and scared. I remember filling out a 3-page adoption application and going through an intimidating interview. My friend Lee Orrell was with me and he vouched for my character, telling the interviewer, "Ma'am, that dog is gonna think she died and went to heaven after she gets home with Joyce."
When my son came home with a few guy friends that afternoon, the dog backed herself under the table and barked and barked and barked. It became obvious she had a problem with men, possibly the result of neglect and abuse. Matt summed up the situation and told me, "This is not my dog, Mother, she's yours." And he was right. Turned out, I was the one who needed the company, and somehow she sensed that.
She was an Australian shepherd-terrier mix, and I named her Trixie. She was the best pet I ever had. She listened to my whining without ever giving advice, she took me for walks every day, and she never lectured me for eating Blue Bell at midnight--even let me share. She was crazy for a toy duck that went "Quack-Quack" when she bit into it just right. She'd shake it, toss it, chase it, and bite into it again.
She loved to sleep in my bed, loved to eat food from the table, loved to sit on the couch next to me, loved to have her tummy rubbed. Most of all, she loved me. Completely.
Trixie is dead now, has been for six years, but her spirit still feeds me. That's the gift you get from a dog who chooses you. That's the gift Matthew received from Jazz. Unconditonal love.