Thursday, September 8, 2011


Jackson was one of the pups who came to live here, looking for a home, when he was about 3 months old. Eventually he went to live in Virginia with a wonderful lady and an equally wonderful Golden Retriever. But Jackson NEVER made any progress in the settling in department. He refused all contact with his new owner AND with the dog. Even more unusual, the Golden had no interest in making friends... or anything else... with the new puppy. They tried everything... letting him adjust on his own, forcing the issue, professional training, everything. He was so resistant and reclusive, his lady said it was like living with a ghost. Finally, after several frustrating, heartbreaking months, Jackson came back to me.

At first, I was tickled to death with his obvious delight in being "home." He responded IMMEDIATELY to his brother and Boon and romped and played with them almost from the moment he walked back through my door. He went in and out when they did and did everything with them. Yes, he still avoided physical contact... and never made eye contact... with me, but I let him take his time to get around to that. He never did. And worse, indoors, when in the puppy pen (8' by 6') he paced like a caged wild animal. I never once saw him lying down or even sitting. As soon as he saw or even heard me, he was on his feet.

When he was in Virginia and I was getting reports on his behavior, I thought he sounded autistic (which does happen with dogs.) And back home, he was manic (which also happens with dogs,) the other end of the autistic spectrum. I chose to ignore those little bells going ding ding in my head and decided to place him WITH his brother, Lucky. This meant, the beautiful, sweet Lucky could not find a home unless the family was willing to take Jackson as well.

I began to find Jackson's distaste for humans... annoying. And then disturbing. He NEVER EVER even once gave me the idea that he would bite, but he also never gave me the idea he would ever be a good pet for anyone. So we went to the vet for evaluation. He immediately reverted to his "I'm in another world and there is no one in it but me" state, lying on the floor at my feet, head on his paws, practically in a stupor. As busy as the vet offices were, he never moved, not even to lift his head. After evaluation and testing and consulting and more evaluation and lots of discussing, my vet asked me why I was putting so much effort into a pup who clearly had a serious neurological problem and at best would have to be medicated and closely monitored his entire life... his entire UNHAPPY life. My only answer was I didn't want to give up on him because I would feel like a failure.

When I finally considered quality of life... his, mine and any family who might try to take him... the decision was obvious. Jackson was euthanized.

As I stood there with his body, I felt an immediate sense of relief and I believe it came from him. I told my vet, "He just said 'thank God THAT'S over."

Rest in peace, Jackson.

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