Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sometimes Y' Just Know

Jack & Will

There are so many stories to be told about Jack. He's got an extra heaping teaspoon of that magic all dogs have in some amount, so he can't help but leave a wake of anecdotes on his way through. In fact, no one in my family has seen Jack in person for years now, but it's not uncommon for his name to come up in conversation a couple of times on a given day, and yesterday was one of those days.

The best I can do is begin with my favorite story about Jack. The one that starts with a happy ending.

Mark and I were trying to find him a good home, which we imagined could take awhile. For one thing, we weren't about to let this magical dog live with just anyone. And there was another reason too. Jack's early life was spent with people who didn't love him as much as we did, so he had a few unusual fears. And when fright overtook Jack, he would try to bite his way out of it. Not hard, but not playfully, either. So the person who received our gift of Jack would need to be patient enough to help him overcome his fears, and courageous enough to take a few nips without dropping him at the neighborhood dog pound.

We finally found a possible love match for our boy. "Will" lived pretty far away, but I liked the sound of his voice and the kindness in his words. Unconcerned about Jack's indiscretions, he knew that a troubled dog would need a special kind of attention. And in the meantime, the two of them could make a life together playing frisbee and going on bike rides (bike/runs).

So it was all set. Mark, Jack, and I would drive for several hours, Will would drive for several hours, and we'd meet in a nice park to see how we all felt about each other. But I'd screwed up. I'd forgotten to tell Will that one of Jack's greatest fears was a man in a hat. That particular combinaton brought out Jack's snarlingest self.

And wouldn't you know it, we sat on a picnic table watching Will get out of his car--in a hat. It was too late to shout for him to remove it, and besides, I didn't want to freak him out. Maybe "Quick--take off your hat!!" was a common greeting where Will came from, but I kinda doubted it.

Jack stood statue-still, riveted on the approaching stranger. Will, who had given us a friendly wave on his way over, was now smiling at our rigid border collie. I took a firmer grip on the leash, ready to pull out if things went poorly. As Will bent down to pet Jack, bringing his scary, scary hat within inches of our pup's face, the dog melted into a full-body wag. I'm not painting a pretty picture here because it's how I want to remember it--this is just how it was. Half an hour later, as the two of them walked to Will's car, Mark and I sat on that picnic table smiling at their future.

I guess hats don't matter much when you've found the person you were meant to be with.

When I first got up this morning, I looked through photos that Will had sent us over the years. Tiny peeks into Jack's happy life as a forever-family member. So today I'm going to think about a few life-changing moments in my own past--connections that might never have happened if they weren't meant to--and I'm going to appreciate the magic in them.

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