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meet posey…what it’s like living with a jack russell

posey

The sudden loss of Snowy brought a lot of emotions into the household. We all grieved her terribly. The house was so incredibly silent. We knew we could never replace her, but the kids really wanted another dog. We thought it would be a good way to bring healing, so we visited Pro Life Pet Rescue and Rehabilitation. We were thoroughly impressed with them and the way they cared for the animals. We were excited to rescue a dog and give it a loving home.

We went to visit, and surprisingly, both kids fell in love with the same dog. They don’t agree on much these days, so we thought we should jump on it. There was just one small hitch. This particular puppy was a Jack Russell, and I was apprehensive that we were a Jack Russell family. I never owned a Jack Russell, but several years ago, when my brother-in-law and his family lived with us for about 6 weeks, they got one. That dog drove me crazy. I had actually forgotten about that dog until I read the list of traits attributed to this particular breed…intelligent, vocal, high energy, fearless, stubborn. I felt like this was about as opposite as we could have gotten from Snowy which is why I kept asking the kids, “Are you sure we’re a Jack Russell family?” They assured me we were.

familyphoto

And so we went back a few days later and adopted Posey. When the gal told us we could get her out of the pen and bring her to the office, I turned around to see her waiting at the gate looking at us. It was the sweetest thing ever. I guess she was ready for a home, for our home.

But let me just tell you what life is like living with a Jack Russell. It’s basically like living with a 2 year old on steroids.

First, they trick you with their cute looks. I mean look at that face. Isn’t she the cutest?

sleeping

Once they appeal to your emotions, the fun begins. They desire to be the top dog, the dominant one in the family, and their stubborn, fearless nature means they will do anything to secure their place there. To come against this, I used her food. She loves her food. She acts like she hasn’t eaten in weeks when we feed her. I’ve trained her that she was to sit and stay while her food is being poured. After I put it down, I say EAT, and she knows that’s her cue to eat. I was amazed at how quickly she learned to do this.

Because she loves to eat, she doesn’t seem to know the difference between what she should eat and what she can eat. She didn’t get the memo that chocolate and caffeine = bad for dogs. She found a Hershey’s kiss in EG’s room (keep your door closed, honey!) and sniffs out fallen coffee beans under the coffee bar. Seriously, this tough, hearty dog is giving her system a workout!

Everything is a toy to Jack Russells. My backyard looks like a land mine from all the digging. Seriously, is this dog trying to get to China? And all the toilet paper. Oh, my. If it’s slightly hanging over the edge, she grabs it and runs with it. Twice in one day she unrolled 2 whole rolls of toilet paper. It’s amazing how fast that can actually be done. She loves car rides, but I don’t necessarily take her because she loves them. I take her because I don’t trust her alone inside or outside my house!

waiting

They get bored pretty easily (hence the toilet paper saga), so I basically give her trash to keep her entertained. Empty peanut butter container? Here, puppy. Empty plastic pot after replanting a plant? Here, puppy. She runs off with these items like she’s just scored gold. And she has. For about 5 minutes, and then she’s so over it.

Their minds are like sponges. They are incredibly smart and love learning new things, so teaching tricks are fun…except when she’s feeling particularly stubborn. We’re currently working on high five.

At the end of the day, after all that digging, toilet paper unraveling, mischief making, and trick learning come the cute cuddles. It’s amazing how energetic and passionate this dog can be one minute and how sweet the next. She loves being affectionate and cuddling in your lap. It’s a good thing, too. It helps erase all havoc she wreaked throughout the day. Sort of.

cuddling

I read somewhere that Jack Russells, even though they are small, think they are big dogs. They will even attack a doberman for looking at them the wrong way. The vet told me that if a Jack Russell doesn’t die of old age, it dies from chasing a car and getting hit or from a snake bite. They are fearless! I think Shakespeare was thinking of this breed when we wrote the line, “Though she be but little, she is fierce!” There’s something annoying about it but also something I love about all the drama wrapped up in this little package.

Here’s to owning a Jack Russell and not losing my sanity.

Family

a tribute to snowy

Snowy

If you follow me on Instagram or are friends with me on Facebook, then you likely saw that we lost our sweet Snowy girl on Father’s Day. It was so very unexpected. She was a healthy 3 1/2 year old lab mix that adored our family, and we adored her. Literally, on Sunday she was playing fetch with us in the backyard, and a week later she died. We still don’t know what happened to her. She stopped eating a few days before she died, but the vet was monitoring her and even the day before she died, her vitals were good. He said he never would have guessed that she would have died the next day. He requested to perform an autopsy at his expense and still didn’t find answers. Everyone was left puzzled. He said you think you know everything, and then a case comes along that you can’t explain. Unfortunately she was that case.

It’s ironic. I was the one that dug my heels in the sand on getting a dog. My kids fell in love with Snowy when she was just a few days old. The dogs at the school they went to that year had puppies, and the kids got to play with them and walk them every day. Snowy was the runt of the litter, and she seemed to bond with the kids as much as they bonded with her. When they begged for a puppy, I gave in. Little did I know that she would grab my heart, too.

I’ve felt silly for grieving the loss of a dog so much. If you’ve never had a family pet, then you might think I am silly. If you have, then perhaps you’ll understand. You’ll understand how much they become a part of your family.

Snowy was our first family pet. I write this post as a marker of remembrance to look back on and reminisce on the fun times we had with her and the silly quirks that made her Snowy…

  • I loved the way she greeted us when we walked in the door like we’d been gone for months. Every.single.time.
  • This poor dog. I keep telling her that bees & frogs are not her friends. She doesn't listen too well. Tonight the bees won.
  • She never met a frog or bee she didn’t like…even when her friendliness backfired on her. The foaming mouth and swollen face didn’t teach her the lesson the first time around. It was pitiful and funny at the same time.
  • She might have thought frogs and bees were her friend, but thunderstorms were always her enemy. Her safe place was the shower. Emma Grace would lovingly cover her up with a blanket and bring her a pillow to ease her fear until the storm passed.
  • When the rain is just too scary.
  • She LOVED car rides. All you had to say was, “You want to go for a ride?” She would race to the back door and wait for you to open it. She would dart out the door and wait at the back of the car until you opened the hatch for her. 
  • She loved the car but thought the back windshield wipers were a fierce enemy. For fun, we would turn them on. She would bark and growl as they wiped the glass. It was hilarious.
  • She would run along our fence bending down to see past the wooden lads. She barked at every passerby outside the fence, but if that same person came inside the house, she would excitedly bring them her ball in hopes of playing. She loved people and even made friends all over the world.
  • She learned lots of tricks including sit, lay down, roll over, high five, and shake. When it was treat time, she would just do an entire round of tricks in that order to make the process faster, so she could enjoy her treat!
  • She loved to play keep away which is why fetch didn’t work so well with her. She would go get the ball, but part of the fun for her was you chasing her to get the ball to throw it again.
  • She absolutely adored the kids and loved to be fair to them. Every night she would start out sleeping with Emma Grace. Halfway through the night, she would move to Joshua’s room. She wanted each of them to have a turn.
  • If I slept too late in the morning, she would come upstairs to wake me up. It was never because she needed to go outside. It was because she would get lonely and wanted someone to get up. When I would hear her coming, I would roll over with my back toward her. If she saw my back, she would let me sleep, but if she saw my face, she would nose me until I got up.
  • Popcorn and peanut butter were her favorites. These were the snacks at her 1st birthday party. 🙂
  • Decided to bring Snowy along for today's family outing. She might not have gotten a pancake at Harrie's but she sure is enjoying her peanut butter.
  • She was not a loud dog, but she would moan loudly at the weirdest times (like staff meetings). It was hilarious.

So, yeah, we (I) miss this sweet dog loads. I wish we could have found out what took her life too soon. The vet assured us that we did everything right, and I have no doubt that was deeply loved and cared for while she lived with us. She could never be replaced, but we have brought a new puppy into our home. Tune in tomorrow to meet the new addition.

Family Thoughts

teaching kids to be honest

I count being called "Mom" a privilege, especially when it's coming from these two. Happy Mother's Day!

Well, I don’t know what you’ve experienced, but it seems that many kids go through a lying phase. At the first hint of a lie, it’s easy to freak out and go all postal. No one teaches their kids to lie. We stress telling the truth, so why would they do it? Well, kids like to test the boundaries. The key is how we, as parents, are going to handle that. Please click over to Tommy Nelson to read my thoughts on what it means to be honest and how to teach our kids to continually choose honesty. And share your thoughts, too!

Family Thoughts

parenting. it’s hard.

my family

I’ve experienced a lot of hard things in my life, but parenting takes the cake and wins the prize on its scale of hardness points. Currently in the teen years of parenting, it has driven me to my knees more times than I can count. I’ve shed buckets of tears confessing to Jesus that I can’t do this. That’s the truth, but I know a God who understands and sees and gives me the wisdom and strength I need to do it. If you’re needing a little encouragement today, please click over to my post on Faith Gateway, Parenting: The Hardest Job You’ve Ever Done, and share your own words of encouragement. We’re in this together, parents. Let’s encourage each other.

Africa Family Fun Thoughts

holidays in the southern hemisphere

hat ornament

Christmas is over, but I still wanted to share my thoughts on the holiday season in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s quite different than how I grew up and always take a little adjusting in my mind.

christmas tree

A couple of weeks ago, with a sweltering 90 something degrees outside, we had our staff Christmas party in South Africa. There was such irony in listening to tunes of chestnuts roasting over an open fire while making snowman ornaments. Creating a pile of water with a carrot, top hat, and scarf on top would have been more appropriate. Such is Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere.

do you wanna build a snowman

This whole scene made me fully aware of just how much weather creates mind associations when it comes to holidays. When I’m in South Africa on December 25th, it never feels like Christmas, but I know if one of my African friends ventured to the Northern Hemisphere in December, they would say the same thing.

kerplunk

tic tac toe

I like traditions, but they must be replaced if I’m going to survive a Summery Christmas.
Sipping hot chocolate in front of the open fire is replaced with slurping ice cold Appletizer in front of the pool.
Beautiful Winter scarves are replaced with tank tops and swimsuit cover ups.
Baking is replaced with cold salads. No one wants to fire up the oven or even eat in this heat.

braai masters

Gingerbread house creativity is replaced with creating fun outoor games. (Every gingerbread house we’ve done here lasts less than 24 hours before collapsing into a melted pile of sugar. Sadly, this was the first year we abandoned this tradition.)

making ornaments

We don’t count snowflakes. We count how many showers we took in one day. It’s the best way to cool off.
We don’t get cabin fever from staying indoors. We try to be outdoors as much as possible since our cooling system involves ceiling fans and open windows.

twister

croquet

I am happy to report that Christmas day at our home this year was cooler than it was in my hometown in Texas. I was shocked but bubbling with joy. It put me in the mood to cook a big ole Christmas dinner enjoyed by 11 hungry mouths. This week, leading up to New Year’s, is teetering between sweltering hot and rains which cool it down to a bearable state.
I hope your holidays have been fabulous spending it with the people you love!