Fourteen years ago, my mom brought Jake home after work. A man had come to her office with two Kommondor / Maremma mix puppies, announcing that if no one took them, he was going to shoot them. (Jake’s sister went home with another coworker but never came out of anesthesia when being spayed)
Sam, our 12 year old Springer/Lab mix wasn’t too thrilled about the idea, which probably had to do with the fact that Jake, at about 5 months, was already bigger than him, and was much goofier and bouncier. Sam taught Jake how to be a farm dog. How to stay off the road. How to bark at visitors. How to be a good boy. He also taught Jake that he (Sam) was the boss, and the boss’s spot was at the top of the stairs. Jake was not allowed to touch/cuddle/share that top landing. So Jake’s spot became the second step down. As he grew, he basically filled up the entire step, and his back leg hung to the third step. But he was very polite, and would make room for us to get by, only to lay back down in his designated spot. To his dying day, Jake’s spot was the second step.
Jake’s favorite thing was going for his daily walk around the property. With a spring in his step, his giant tail wagging, he was always ready to go. One thing I remember most was how he would hold your hand. As you’d walk along, he’d prance up next to you and gently take your hand in his mouth. Not pulling, just holding. It was so sweet.
Jake also loved cats. He was fascinated by the kittens, and one day we caught him carrying one up to the house in his big gentle mouth, just to lay down and snuggle with him.
He had this booming, ferocious bark that kept many visitors inside their cars. Little did they know, if they only got out, he would have cowered back to the garage. Not much of a guard dog, but an excellent deterrent.
His fur was more like wool, a crazy mix of fluff and dreadlocks. Every spring, my mom would give him a haircut. A days-long event in which he endured embarrassing stages of humiliation and hilarity. Picture starting at the top and working your way down…. yep.
While Sam hat gotten a bit crabby and snippy in his old age, Jake would never hurt a fly. Even this past summer, he let my nephews and cousins hug him, squeeze him and pull on him. (I dare you to try that with Gracie)
I’m going to miss his big, happy face greeting me at the car window when I visit my mom. I’ll miss his hugs and his human-like eyes. I’ll miss his long skinny legs that never seemed to gain 100% coordination. I’ll miss his loyalty and his friendship and his quiet, gentle soul.
I love you buddy.