(One of the posts I wrote on my Swell 24.7 blog in my previous life as a gift store owner in the busy tourist town of Provincetown on Cape Cod; posts that are grouped here under the category What Else Is Swell?, and are generally about life in Provincetown, life as a retailer, our fabulous dog Jack who sat outside the store for well over a decade, and other random things that grabbed me at the time.)
So I knew that the first blog post I wrote after Jack died would have to be about him. I just couldn't sit down and write about products or Provincetown events or what have you and just ignore the fact that he was gone, act like it hadn't happened. Most of my favorite posts are about Jack. It had to be about him, but it also had to be the right time, and I had to be in the right frame of mind. And the right frame of mind is the first week of July with soaring temperatures, loud parades and even louder fireworks; all of which made Jack miserable and frightened, so, for the first time in almost 8 weeks, I'm not feeling quite as bad that he is gone.
He died May 16th, very quietly, very peacefully, at home. It's been a sad couple of months, even heartbreaking at times, but I don't want to dwell on that. So here are some pictures, lots of pictures even, (with dates as they're not in chronological order) to celebrate the amazing, loving, handsome, smart pooch that he was. Enjoy!
The picture on the left was taken just after we adopted him from the Centerville Animal Shelter in Sept 1999. He was about 3 - 3 1/2 years old, with not a gray hair on him. The picture on the right was the last picture we ever took of him; it was on his last visit to the beach. At the age of 17 he's old and tired and gray but still our lovely Jack boy.
If you're a stray dog who ends up in a shelter you could not do better than to be adopted by people from Provincetown. There are so many great places to go.
Like running super fast through the dunes at Snail Road (Jan 2006),
trotting across the breakwater (April 2007, on one of his many hikes out around Long Point, he was like a mountain goat how he got across those rocks with such speed and agility) and in the woods near our house (March 2013, still strolling, if not actually running).
Running on the beach with me which we did together several times a week for years and years until he just got too old. And he loved to swim in the bay (both Aug 2010),
and play fetch on the beach (Feb 2006), even in the snow (Jan 2004).
Actually, never being one for the hot temps of the summer, he loved the snow (Feb 2009).
I mean it really isn't winter until you've got snow on your nose (Jan 2011).
These are also Jan 2011.
He also enjoyed being part of local activities (parades aside, of course) like visiting Conny Hatch's labyrinth at the Herring Cove Bathhouse art exhibit (Oct 2012)
and there was always much to see from his perch on the steps outside the store. He particularly enjoyed the same sex ballroom dancing champions who were there a lot during the summer of 2012.
And of course the spot outside the store was the perfect place to score cookies from delivery people, tourists and locals alike. Here he is with Wiley (the dog from Wa, the store next door to us) in June 2010 not letting the poor Fed Ex guy do his job until they've had a treat. (Wiley also died this year, a couple of months before Jack; double sadness.)
When it was too hot he and Wiley would come into id and lie under the air conditioner to cool off, both facing the street just in case someone with a cookie went by (July 2012).
He was a useful dog too. He was always the best weather man I knew. If he was hiding in the shower (Sept 2007) then you could be sure there was a big old storm coming. And he was a great babysitter in the store, keeping kids occupied while their parents shopped (May 2012).
And when we lived above the store he liked to keep an eye on the comings and goings on Commercial St. (Jan 2006). The click clack of the drag queens' heels on the sidewalk would have him racing to the window to see what was happening outside.
He was excellent at promoting the products in the store, and we were not ashamed to use him as such. He posed with the dog toys (Dec 2011) and, a little less enthusiastically, the pet food can covers (Nov 2012).
And he was used in seasonal promotions a lot (Feb 2011 and Nov 2011).
And now we use this wonderful March 2013 picture of him by Sally Brophy to show off the Jobi Pottery frame in the store, and it brings us great comfort to see it everyday.
As he got older he would sleep, a lot, anywhere really.
Of course a bed was best, preferably with Pumpkin who he loved and cherished for years. I swear we did not set this picture up, he slept like that a lot. (Dec 2010)
But often times he just missed the bed (Aug 2012), or had to share it (May 2012)
or was mostly on it but we weren't sure if it was quite how he meant to be lying, or maybe he was just doing a little yoga (Sept 2012).
But he really wasn't picky at all, even when he was old he didn't seem to care about the usual comforts. The yard will do (March 2011), or in the middle of the display cabinets at the store (July 2012).
As he got older we did what we could to keep him comfortable like acupuncture (which actually worked wonders on him, March 2012), his Help-Em-Up harness (May 2013) or just a haircut to keep him cool, if a little Dr. Suess like, in the summer (Aug 2012).
And as he got older we had to leash him up outside the store because he began to wander off occasionally, despite the fact that he spent over 10 years sitting there, knowing exactly how far he was allowed to go unescorted. And once he was older he needed a bed out there too, for his weary old bones (Oct 2012).
But this picture, from May 2010, is probably how most of you will remember him. Unleashed, sitting bolt up-right (butt on one step, front paws on the one below, his favorite position from day one); greeting customers, hoping for cookies, just watching the world go by.
What a life he had, and how fortunate were we to have been part of it.