My Jack Russell Story:
Spenser's Tale, Part One: "Black Jack"
We adopted Spenser a year ago from the Humane Society. He'd been found wandering the streets sick and starving. His paperwork describes him as a "terrier mix." He looks exactly like a Parson Jack Russell, but he's mostly black with a frosting of gray and tan. He's white underneath from chin to belly. And his tail in loooong. So, he'd get booted right out of the dog show. They named him "Spenser" at the Humane Society, but if he'd been nameless, we would have called him "Black Jack." His nickname is "Woo Woo."
Part Two: "Can You Dig It?"
Here's a tip for all JRT owners. We found a remedy for all the holes in the landscape - rocks!! We've collected hundreds of rocks, from 6 to 12 inches in diameter. When we find a hole, in goes a rock, some dirt, and a new grass plug. We've surrounded all valuable plants with rocks. (Not so valuable plants are history). Rocks line all vulnerable areas of the fence. Our yard has become quite an attractive rock garden. Spenser enjoys hunting amid all the rocks and so he's digging less. But so as not to completely suppress his natural instincts, he is still allowed to dig in the sandy area under the deck. Everyone is happy.
Part Three: "Who's the Boss?"
Here's the solution to a JRT wanting to sleep in your bed. LET HIM! There's nothing you can do about it anyway. For the first three months Spenser was with us, we had a cardboard "fence" around the bed. We trained him to sleep in a chair next to the bed. Eventually we removed the cardboard and all was fine, or so we thought. Then I became aware that Spenser was cuddling us next to me when he thought I was asleep. If I moved, he'd jump back into his chair. When I got still again, back he'd come. After shoving him off the bed a few nights, I got lazy. Not wanting to wake myself up all the way by shoving him, I gave in. Now I've come to enjoy my little Teddy Bear substitute. Burrowing under the covers, however, is strictly forbidden. So, I'm still the boss - aren't I?
Part Four: "The Perfect Partner"
A few weeks after getting Spenser, it became obvious he needed a playmate. So we adopted Casey, another Humane Society foundling. She is part border collie and part terrier (maybe the short-legged JRT variety). Her personality (thank God) is mellow collie, so there is virtually no conflict between the two dogs. Spenser is the undisputed boss. His one concession is to allow Casey to herd him into the house. When his hunting and digging get to the obsessive point, I tell Casey to bring him in. Works great. In comes Spenser through the dog door with Casey bringing up the rear.
On June 1st, we will celebrate their mutual second birthday (by the vet's reckoning) and our one-year anniversary as a family.
End of Happy Story!
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