Not just a dog

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Jasper came to us as a little eight week old puppy. His story is not a huge rescue story. At the time we were trying to conceive. I was in a support group on line. I had recently announced we were looking for a puppy. We had adopted a dog who had only been at a kennel. He missed other dogs. We had taken him to the vet, blood work was clear. This friend ran an Australian Shepard Rescue. They lived two hours away from us. Someone dropped off two puppies and they were moving the next day. It was eleven pm.  We drove over anyway. We really thought about taking both puppies. I just couldn’t. They had named him Jasper. His brother was Proto. He cocked his head to the side and looked at me. That was it. We were taking Jasper home. The little they did know about them was that their mother was an Australian Shepard and their father was a German Shepard. 

 

Jasper was an incredibly stubborn puppy. We would take him for a walk. He had a high energy level so we knew they had to be decent walks. Sometimes he did not make it home. He literally stopped and refused to move. We carried him home. We tried puppy pads to house train him. He would stand on them, and pee on the carpet.  He would stand on them, and poop on the carpet. He had his vet visits and everything checked out.  The vet suspected he might also have some Great Dane in him as well. He did have a dewclaw but we thought it would be okay. It was. He had it until the end. It never bothered him. 

For awhile his ears did not know if they were going to be German Shepard and stand straight up, or Australian Shepard and flop. It often looked like he had a broken ear. One ear up and one ear flopped over. It was never the same ear flopped over.He was at first small enough he could walk underneath our other dog Trooper. Until one day we looked out and Trooper was wobbling on top of Jasper. It became a game for awhile. 

When we finally did have a baby and brought her home. It only took one sniff for both our boys to declare her their puppy. If she cried they were there. If they went outside the first thing they did when they came inside was find the baby. If someone they didn’t know came into the yard. One would bark and the other would stand in front of the baby. 

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They had some times that they didn’t always get along. They all wanted a ball. A toddler doesn’t know that balls are addictive to dogs. It was like crack for Jasper. It took a lot before he lost interest in the game. 

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Jasper was an eager to please dog. He loved to listen and get praise. He looked guilty if he even thought about breaking the rules. There were times that if he did break the rules he would load up in his crate on his own. There were others though that he was unapologetic. Like the time we came home to flour from one end of the house to the other. 

There was a time that both Jasper and Trooper got out of the backyard. The kid and I were driving the neighborhood looking for them. By this time his face was mostly white.  I almost didn’t recognize him as he was covered from head to toe in mud. We didn’t have a black dog. Who was that black dog with Trooper……Oh…MY…GAWD! He wanted in the car. There is love and then there is no way buddy you can walk. We were less than two blocks from the house. It was not hard. In spite of his love to escape the backyard, he did not like to be separated from us. He would go outside and do his business but he really had no desire to be out there if we were not out there with him. 

 

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We knew it was coming. We realized all of a sudden he was thirteen. Our boys were thirteen. How had that happened? Old age appeared slowly. Some days Jasper would get up and not be able to uncurl his spine. He walked like he needed a V-8. He had always had skin issues. They started to become more and more uncontrollable. The last two months he would eat and eat and eat and still he lost weight. His feet started going out from under him. He had trouble going up and down the stairs. It became so obvious it was time. How do you let go of a family member who has been part of your life for fifteen years? Who no matter what was happening was happy to see you? Who talked to you? Barking, its a lot like talking. Even when you know its the humane thing to do? 

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Jasper loved water. If it resembled water he was interested. I have never seen a dog enjoy water as much as he did. He could not resist. If left to his own devices he was in the water. It didn’t matter how much there was. It was enough for him. I could literally turn in circles with the hose and he would chase the water. 

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Jasper loved dirt. Even knowing he loved dirt, I still couldn’t figure out where all the dirt came from when it was bath time. He turned the water brown in seconds. Seconds. He never looked as dirty as he was though. 

Jasper loved his puppy. Jasper loved his bubby(what we call Trooper sometimes) Jasper loved us. Jasper loved. That is all there is to it.  Jasper loved.  We rescued him but in the end it was him who rescued us. We didn’t even know we needed rescue. 

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Jasper 

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August 1999 to June 25 2014. 

 

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