Sky blue Jett

By Rosalie Tirella

I named him after “JETT,” a Paul McCartney and Wings tune. Cuz my little husky mix (my vet said he had a smidgen of coyote in him!) was fast and streamlined, like a jet airplane. Cuz he had non-stop energy on our walks. Cuz when I’m with him, which is 90% of the time!, I feel kinda … high. Dogs can make you feel that way: pull you out of your safe human routine and plop you into in-the-moment fun, joyfulness, high-spirited high jinks. If they are young, they are ready for all sorts of tail thumping adventures. Every day is truly a new day, a rebirth, for young dogs. Young turks, even the girls, but especially the boys, so full of themselves, they are!

Then our dogs get older, all of a sudden, just hits you from behind! Like my beloved Jett. As I write this post, he’s by my side, lying down, but with his Husky head errect, at attention. I see, for the first time, my older Jett. My older dog. I want to cry.

He looks serious! And purposeful, like the middle aged fella he is. His teeth are good and strong but his canines are not their pearly white of yesteryears! He has no grey whiskers around his muzzle, but a few will pop out soon enough. And then his snout will become snowy gray, and I will caress the back of his ears and kiss the top of his head and call him my “sweet old boy.”

Jett’s my third dog. I’ve been down this wistful road before. I once cried to the Old Injun Fighter, as I watched my old retriever Bailey fight his cancer: WHY CAN’T DOGS LIVE AS LONG AS WE DO? WHY DO THEY HAVE TO LEAVE US SO SOON?! The OIF understood. He’s had 10 or so German Shepherds in his life. When they die, he has them cremated and put into an urn, which goes on his bedroom bureau, along with the other urns that contain the ashes of his other beloved German Shepherds. Somewhere amidst the dusty containers sits a small white vase with plastic flowers in it. He retires his late dogs’ collars, too, and never ever forgets the day on which they died, a solemn anniversary during which he stays subdued, quiet.

Looking at my calendar I see April is almost here. I adopted Jett from the rescue league four years ago, in April. He was a frisky eight months old when he entered my life. Now he is almost five. Five years old, for most dogs, is middle age. You notice the difference! They don’t run as fast. Their walks don’t need to be as long. They like sleeping by your side, little naps by their mommy or daddy! They don’t have the forgiving ways of puppies. They get set in their routines.

But here comes the great part: If you have even been a half-decent owner, THEY LOVE THEIR LIVES WITH YOU. You have become the loopy planet around which their pure, pure canine hearts revolve. They sing their doggie love song only to you. A love song sung to you in yips, yaps, laps, licks, snorts, snarls and farts. HEAVEN!!!!!

And then there are their eyes. They too will start to fade, even grow cloudly with cataracts, just the way it happens with us humans. But, if you look deeply into their gaze, the way I am looking into Jett’s eyes now – not too long cuz dogs interpret this as a power grab – you see the pup, or the memory of your young dog in his or her eyes. I look into Jett’s eyes – one is sky blue, the other chestnut brown. Two different colored eyes; it’s a fairly typical Siberian Husky trait and does not mean he is blind. I fell in love with Jett’s blue eye and brown eye almost four years ago! To me then – and to me now – they were so unique, so strange, so mysterious. Like a coyote slipping along the edge of the woods, just when the sky grows dark blue. A most beautiful blue …

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