Monday, January 21, 2013
Jager December 1999-January 2013
In January of 1999 Jan and I drove to Toni Moore's house and picked up a 5 week old German Shepherd dog. Jan held him as we drove from Boxford back to Boston. We named him Jager, (yay-gah) his name means Hunter in German. His daddy was a big solid German import named Ergo, his mom was the lovely Dana, he got the best of both parents. In confirmation he was as close to GSD perfection as possible. Jager was the third dog I'd gotten from Toni over the years and she made me an offer at the time to take his pappa, the mighty SCH III Ergo or this little fellow in Jan's arms. She wanted a pup so there we were on a cold night in our black, German car with our new, black German dog. We hadn't driven a mile when I knew he owned Jan, heart and soul. He had on a tiny red nylon woven collar with a matching leash. Jan kept lifting him up and looking in his eyes and he was kissing her with his puppy tongue and puppy breath. They were madly in love. So was I. With both of them.
Jan in 2004 with our friend John's pup Lugar and Jager by her side.
As the experienced GSD guy, I had rules for my dogs, no sleeping on the bed, no sleeping on the furniture, no feeding from our plates, etc, etc, etc. Jager broke them all, I didn't let my other dogs do those things, but the combination of Jan's blue eyes and his brown turned me into a wimp. Jan owned me and he did too. Jan had never raised a pup, she was worried about poop and pee. Not a problem with Jager. He peed three times and took one tiny poop in the condo and like that he was trained. We have a country French coffee table, one of the legs has baby teeth marks on it, one application of green apple solution and he stopped. Jan saved all of his baby teeth, they are around here somewhere.
One of our neighbors had a young, long legged, mixed breed named Tybo, The 4 of us would go to the dog park on Comm Ave and Tybo would chase Jager around and around. Jager was one of the fastest GSD I've ever seen, he can thank his old pal Tybo for training him. Jager could run a greyhound into the ground! He was a leaper, too. I'm 6-1 and have 35 inch arms, I could hold a tennis ball in my hand and stretch as high as I can and within three steps he could snatch the ball from my hand. Runner, leaper and he loved sticks and balls. When he was 3 or 4 years old I decided I'd try and burn him out, we went to the park and I threw a tennis ball 56 times before he finally quit, my last throws only went 20-30 feet and my arm hasn't been the same since!
Jager was also a fine sailor, he loved our boat. He loved being in his bright yellow doggie life jacket sitting next to his Mom in the cockpit as we sailed on Massachusetts Bay, Cape Cod, Buzzard's Bay, Maine, Long Island Sound, Narragansett Bay and Florida. When we were anchored or on the mooring in Marblehead he would position himself on top of the cabin and stand his watch. He loved the salt breeze in his face and if I whispered to him in the middle of the night, in the middle of the winter "Wanna go on the boat?'' He was packed and ready to go! I'd take him to the boatyard with me when I was getting "Air Time" ready for the season and he was well known around the Alden yard in Portsmouth, RI. Everyone of the storage blocks, shims and boards in the yard has his teeth marks on it! He'd trot around and bring them back to our (his?) boat. At the yard he even learned to go up and down a ladder when our boat was up on jack stands, as long as I was behind him he would do it.
He's gone now, I'm in the den/office and I can feel him. I look over my shoulder from the desk and expect to see him on the floor. His entire life was spent close to me, next to me, unless Jan was around. He would always throw me under the bus for her. God damn, he loved her, worshiped her. protected her, owned her.
We went camping in Colorado one summer. Going from sea level to 11,000 feet. I was out of breath setting up camp, when I finished I decided to throw the ball for him, his legs were buckling like mine in an instant. When we camped in our old mountain tent, he insisted on sleeping next to the door...he had to protect his pack. It was door, dog, me and then Jan. He had his own ensolite pad for camping and his own backpack. He loved the ice cold creeks, the warmth of the campfire and just being with us. He thought Marmots were very interesting animals.
The last few months were hard on all three of us, the nerve deterioration he suffered stopped him from walking in July. he made the vacation in August to Westport, he was here to see our friend (and his) John in late September, we then set a goal of his birthday in December and he did, then Christmas, New Years and now it's done, he just couldn't go on anymore.
Dr. Kane at Agoura Hills Animal Hospital is a great vet, his staff, Jennifer in particular, are all wonderful. They have been supportive of the three of us over the last months. Today they made his last moments, calm, quiet and as perfect as it could be. I held his head, told him to go run, that we loved him and always would, he passed on to where ever good dogs go at. I'm sure he is running with his pals, stick in his mouth and leading the pack.
We miss him and love him.
Run, Pally run, go for a boat ride, go bye-bye in the car. Come to work with Dad and go give your Mommy a kiss!