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Beautiful Girl

January 10, 2010 @ 10:18

If you frequent this blog often, you know that a large part of my life deals with a trailer that sits on a beautiful lake in the Kawarthas.

This coming year will mark our 19th summer in this little piece of paradise, and like most of the others in the park, once the New Year hits, we start counting down the days until the second Saturday in May when we "open up" for another season.

Unfortunately, this summer will be a bit different. It will require a transition for quite a few of us because we lost a good friend over the holidays.

I don't mean to be overly dramatic because I'm sure a few will find it odd that I'm talking about a dog, but this was a special dog. This was a dog that was part of the trailer fabric, a dog that had been around for 17 beautiful years, a dog that everyone loved.

Her name was Jo and belonged to my next door neighbors, Tracy and Dan.

Actually she belonged to Tracy well before she belonged to Dan, because Tracy and Dan didn't become an item until a few years after Tracy had bought Jo to be a companion in the new house she had bought.

From what I understand, Jo was a handful at the beginning. She liked to chew things and she liked to run away. In fact Tracy once told us that way back when, when Jo would run away, she actually hoped she wouldn't come back.

She was kidding of course because Jo turned into a quite the mutt, obedient, loving and extremely loyal. You've heard of invisible fences, well Jo had an invisible leash that was tied to Tracy's ankle. They were inseparable. Tracy was always in Jo's line of site and followed her everywhere.

Even when Tracy would go out on the water her Sea-Doo, Jo would run up and down the shoreline waiting for her to come back.

Needless to say, a lot of us fell in love with Jo, me in particular. Somehow along the way I bonded with this dog and she'd show her affection for me by literally putting her paws around my neck while I was sitting and then she'd put her head on my shoulder.

Sure, it might have had something to do with the bag of jerky-treats I kept in the trailer, but this dog had more depth than that. She was genuine.

She was also a great friend to my dog Billie. Billie was born after Jo, and died before Jo, but in between there was a special connection between these dogs that I've never witnessed before.

When we'd arrive on a Friday night I'd let Bill out of the truck and she'd immediately look for Jo, and they'd go through a bizarre ritual. Jo would growl, Billy would become submissive and roll on the ground, growling Jo would put her jaws around Billy's neck, softly of course, and then they'd jump up and take off never to be apart for the rest of the weekend.

It was a wonderful relationship. Most mornings when I'd get up, Jo would lying outside our trailer door waiting for Bill to come out.

When Billy died back in 2007, one of the hardest parts for me was going back up north and having Jo look for Billy.

Good dogs don't happen by mistake. They're an extension of the people who raise them so that tells you something about Tracy Calderone.

I haven't talked to Dan or Tracy yet and to tell you the truth, I don't think I'm ready for that yet. Seventeen years is a long time to have someone in your life so I imagine they're busted up right now. Hell, I'm busted up. I don't think I could get through the conversation.

I can only offer this. It's what I told myself after Billie died.

Dogs have short lives and the day you get them, is the first day of setting yourself up for guaranteed heartbreak. When they go you just have to keep thinking of the good things, the good times and the special moments.

And thanks to "our" wonderful Jo Jo, Tracy and Dan have a ton of those.

Category: Friends | The Trailer

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116 Responses to "Beautiful Girl"

January 10, 2010 / 11:36

Peace brother. Remember Jo fondly. My "Buddy" is pushing 13 and starting to show his age. There is nothing you can do to prevent the heartbreak.

Buffalo Boy Mike
January 10, 2010 / 19:53

Fred, we have a beagle and from day one he has his pain in the ass moments followed by moments where our hearts grow fonder despite the chewing the messes, the eating our blinds and so on and so forth, he loves us, loves being around us no matter how our days have been he is always wagging his tail a hunderd times a minute when we get home and if I have had a shitty day he usually makes me happy no matter what when I come home.
We just had our first baby girl in September and she is of course the top priority, but our little beagle is like our son I couldn't imagine what life would be like without him

Neil O
January 10, 2010 / 23:46

17 years will hold allot of memories, they get embedded in your heart quick and never leave, Sometimes you do not need to say anything, Jo knew how you felt and her owners are well aware of that, actions speak louder than words.

January 11, 2010 / 06:45

"Good dogs don't happen by mistake. They're an extension of the people who raise them ..."

So right Freddie.

Pauly Walnuts
January 11, 2010 / 10:16

Bummer Freddie. My little buddy is 10, and like Paul's dog, he's starting to slow down too. Getting myself prepared for the inevitable. I wouldn't give all the memories and the days we still have together for anything.

January 11, 2010 / 13:37

Freddie, somewhere out there is a little puppy who's been waiting for you. Go find him...

January 11, 2010 / 15:16

Trish, I think a beagle sounds just about right for Freddie, doncha think?

Mike from Lowville
January 12, 2010 / 10:32

Very lucky for all that had the pleasure of knowing her. Man, 17 years is a long time for a dog. That's 119 human years! Lost 4 dogs to old age so far in my lifetime and it never gets easy. Have #5 now and he's pushing 10. Not looking forward to his passing.

January 13, 2010 / 13:26

It does hurt but Fred is right the memories are what keep you going. Fred I can't thank-you enough for saying such wonderful things about our beautiful girl. I would give anything to watch you and Dan clean off Jo and Billie just one more time in the lake while cursing the whole time, because of course that would be on Sunday night at home time, after they came back from rolling in cow poop at the top of the hill. Good times!

January 13, 2010 / 13:53

She had a long and good life with great people. She is happy and at peace now albeit will be greatly missed!

Neil O
January 16, 2010 / 00:50

I do not know you but being a dog lover I understand what you and Fred and allot of dog lover’s have gone through. One thing I may mention is that Jo was a life time dog as Jon Katz has mentioned, a dog that has gone through a part of your life that will never be repeated as she was part of your life prior to what it has become, I am not belittling anyone else’s relationship with your pup but I am sure all are aware of it. Think it was mentioned she was attached to your hip... all the time.
I do hope you guys and the Patterson’s each get another pup and start another generation of poo rollin, stinky fish gut rubbin polusa … the next pups will not have the same personality but that does not matter because soon after they are arrive they are “IN”
Don’t feel guilty loving another puppy

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