EP-2 My Companion Jack

The Jack of Hearts

How one small dog changed my world!

Jack came into my life unexpectedly. I was working the Trump Campaign here in the Chambersburg area. I went to my first volunteer meeting and a woman sat down beside me. I thought she said her name was Polly. We spoke about why were there, sharing common concerns with the way our society was going.

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I quickly found her name was Holly, and she often brought her children with her to the meetings. They were as bright and engaging as their mother, which is unusual in today's place and time!

I was invited to her home to watch the first Presidential debate. There I met Simba, one of the two dogs in the family. He is a (now five-year-old) Cockapoo, a mix of Cocker Spaniel and Poodle. He immediately took a shine to me, attaching himself to my lap whenever I sat down. I quickly became an adopted "grandfather" to the children and Holly became my god-daughter.

The family was always busy, and Simba, trained to a crate from the breeder, spent almost all his time in the crate, except when somebody remembered to take him out to go potty. It's not that they didn't love him, it was he was a third fiddle to a busy life and the other dog; benign neglect. I found out later that Simba was first owned by the oldest daughter (not shown) who lived with an abusive spouse, and he took the brunt deflecting much abuse onto himself. Doggy PTSD made him snappy and unhappy.

When I came to the house, Simba was usually in his crate in the entrance hallway. He would whine and whimper, pawing to get out. He quickly melted my heart, and I quickly called him (to myself) the Jack of Hearts. His name Simba just didn't fit, and mostly when I heard his name he was being told to "be quiet." None of the family mistreated the dog directly, but he was obviously unhappy and glad to see somebody who paid attention to him.

Finally, Holly had to move back closer to her family. I asked if I could adopt Simba. I took him home for a weekend when the family was traveling, and we hit it off! In the early fall of 2021, they left Simba with me as they moved. I was really hurting at their departure, but Simba, now officially renamed Jack, became my replacement family. I renamed him to help break some of his bad habits (I had always liked the name Jack for a dog since Little House on the Praire). Besides, Simba is a cat's name! When I first took him into the i360 and Keller Williams office the girls immediately called him Handsome Jack or Jack of Hearts. And he did indeed steal their hearts. He certainly loves the ladies as much as he distrusts men.

He still has doggy PTSD as he snaps and bites at my hands when I catch him unaware. He gets a glazed look in his eyes, which is the common "thousand-yard stare" of all PTSD in humans and canines alike. I know... we are well-paired! I have learned to gently keep my hands away and distract him until he breaks his stare and starts licking me-- as if he knows he did something wrong, but doesn't know what...

My physician has issued a certificate for Jack as my companion animal. I don't abuse the privilege but it does help to have official recognition of his status, even if he is not a trained companion. The best part is his sleeping next to me in bed. He snuggles down against my back and awakes me when his doggy alarm clock goes off. I have learned that he follows the solar cycle, and not the daylight savings timetable! Yet he is within 5 minutes accuracy day in and day out. I no longer need an alarm!

I certainly still miss my previous two dogs, Misty and Mallie. Mallie especially as she was my companion during some very rough years. When she passed at 12 years old, I was devasted.
Now I have Jack and I treasure him as a gift from Elohim God.