Jarvis joined the fold six years and two days now. He came in meek and mild; defined by the shelter as a Vizsla - so wrong that doggie DNA was eventually needed to better understand his complexities. He is predominantly Treeing Coon Hound which explains a great deal.
In fairness to this loving animal, he had a big shoe to fill. Bun-e had left us just a few months prior. She was my touchstone; soulmate; once in a lifetime dog. Her departure was gruesome; I practically vomited when the vet drove off with her empty body. For weeks I would wake up in Hong Kong in tears, beaten. Jarvis didn't have a chance.
Our friendship was a slow burn; the lack of trust was mutual. We tolerated one another for years. Not from a lack of trying; let me repeat again that he is complex. To begin, he was not seven months old as advertised when we picked him up. The grey muzzle came in as did the unexpected white shield on his chest soon after our vet diagnosed and treated him for mange, Giardia and some other lovely bacteria infection he arrived with, none of which had been disclosed that snowy night. It wouldn't have mattered; we don't look back once a decision is made; but I certainly would have pushed back on the lofty adoption fee from the tony shelter in the north suburbs of Illinois. We venture to guess he was minimally two, maybe three making his character well defined, damage and all.
Jarvis feared everything. Pans are obvious but an envelop falling off the counter would send him running to hide. This healed by letting him smell any and everything new on his terms. It still continues today albeit it is less stressful. Jarvis also is a runner, and smart as hell. Amazingly he found his way home when he blasted off through three farm fields the first week he arrived. I cried from both exhaustion and fear when he suddenly showed up at my feet. I once received a call from my neighbor suggesting it was our dog blocking their uncle from leaving the garage. Yep, when I pulled up in the car; it was two miles away; he was filthy, angry at the strangers in his house but happy to jump in the car and join me.
His running became so problematic that the only solution was a permanent leash. This likely created resentment with me and his brother who had free range of the twenty acres. I fell four times one horribly cold, icy winter trying to contain him on chicken runs re-invigorating an injury I didn't know I even had from a ten-year old car accident. We tried trainers; lots of them. We tried to exercise him but he was traumatized when leaving the farm; he literally would foam at the mouth from the anxiety on any walk in public space. Then one day I finally accepted I had to take control. I became like Cesar and the rest while bumpy is history.
The sofa upon which he is lounging was my grandmother's, Florence. I believe a name can define a person; she was not Flo. This was one tough lady. I never sat on the silk directly when we visited her; it was wrapped in plastic to keep any and all away. So I find it pleasantly ironic it has always been the dogs' favorite napping spot. After sitting in storage for two years while we were in China, when the piece arrived home and the movers carried it back inside, Sam, another of our lovable animals, was sleeping soundly upon in before it was even properly placed in the parlor.
This specific photo of Jarvis encapsulates every one of our crazy beasts that have entered our home and our hearts. Our home will be their sanctuary, no matter how long it takes to trust and love. Unlike Rose, I promise not to let go.
Do you believe we save animals or do they save us? Is there a favorite spot your dog or cat or bird (I have those too!) can't live without? I invite you to share your stories.