Friends, some of the furry kind

I’ll never forget the day that my 4th child came into my life.  He was nine months old, and had grown far too large for his parents’ town house.

His parents were a gay couple, and the look of distress on Peter’s face when he had to part with Jackson would have brought tears to the eyes of those with even the hardest of hearts.  Peter would phone me often asking how his little boy was faring, and of course I always reassured him that he was receiving lots of loving cuddles, treats and walks.

Jackson never had to be trained.  His former parents had ensured that he had the best of manners.  I’ll never forget when we were living in a Queenslander in New Brighton, FNC NSW.  Poor Jackson.  In spite of his pleas to be let out, he could not contain himself any longer.  The result was a hat-full of you know what in daughter B’s bf’s hat downstairs.  Jackson was acutely embarrassed.  Daughter and bf were somewhat perplexed, wondering where “the shower” had come from.

Jackson was also an excellent fly-catcher; amazing reflexes and amazing patience.

Oh, by the way, Jackson was a rottweiler.  I almost forgot to mention this small detail.

Anyone who has ever had a special furry friend in their lives will have these moments.  The moments where you cannot but help smile.

Jackson’s real owner was my son.  There was always a special connection between the two of them; brothers or was it a doggy/human soulmate connection.  Jackson rarely left son’s side.

Ten years ago son went into the Navy.  Jared’s last words as he kissed me goodbye were to look at his beloved pal and say, “Jackson, look after mum while I’m gone.”

Jackson must have known what Jared was saying, because from then on Jackson rarely left my side.  Jackson was my great protector.  There is nothing like a 65kg rotweiler hurtling across the paddock if anyone even approached me.  A small bull at full gallop can be the only descriptor.

Jackson was an English rotweiler and far taller than the German variety.  He was therefore impressive.

If Jackson had his way he would have slept by my side every night, but unfortunately he was a dreadful snorer, and so I had to kick him out of the bedroom on numerous occasions.  However, even outside the bedroom door his snoring could awaken the dead.

At the same time I was also babysitting daughters’ Shit-zhu’s.  Jackson would lie down on his tummy so that he could play with his wee, tiny little friends.

It was during Jared’s second tour to The Gulf that Jackson took ill.  Rotweiler’s are prone to a cancer of the lungs.  Communications to ships at sea at that time were very intermittent, doubtless due to security considerations.  Jared asked me one thing, Mum, I want to say goodbye to Jackson.

That was a difficult decision, and I thank Dr. H* vet of Billinudgel who reassured me that Jackson was in no pain.  Therefore it became a task, to keep Jackson as comfortable as possible, and hope and pray that there were no delays in the return of HMAS Tobruk from the Gulf.

By this time Jackson had lost the use of both of his back legs and so Erin came down from Brisbane to help.  We were between the two of us, able to move him onto a sleeping bag to be able to drag him into the lounge room where it was warmer.  This is remembering that he was a big boy, around 65kgs.

Unable to eat, Jackson was put onto an IV.  Dr H* would visit 3 times a week to change the IV.  Solid food consisted of a fish paste which I would wipe onto his teeth, so that he had no option but to lick it off.  It was the best that we could manage.

Upon his return from overseas deployment, son arrived as soon as he could.  For the next 10 days, son slept on the floor in the lounge room next to Jackson.  I crept into the lounge one morning to see the boys curled up together, one paw one arm.

One morning, I saw the signs.  Our beloved Jackson had passed.  I bent down to nudge Jared from his sleep.  “Jackson has gone now”, I said.  My son and I buried Jackson in a plot which I used to call my kitchen garden.  It became my flower garden, resplendant with bulbs of all varieties.